Cooper Molera History Timeline
The Cooper Molera Adobe is one of the most important historic properties in Monterey associated with the Mexican Republic and early American eras, and its rich history continues into the present with a new vision for how historic sites serve their communities and support themselves. Here is the brief story of the Cooper family and their Monterey home.
- Captain John Cooper, master of the merchant ship Rover from Boston arrives in Monterey to trade hides, tallow, and furs, and lodges with the Sgt. Ignacio Vallejo family between voyages
- John Cooper is baptized "Juan Bautista Rogers Cooper" and marries Encarnacion Vallejo. He begins to build his trading and land holding empire
- Cooper receives a grant of a town lot and builds a long, one-and-a-half story adobe (the beginning of the Cooper Molera Adobe)
- Cooper sells one-half of his Monterey lot and house to John Coffin Jones to pay off a debt.
- Jones sells his property to Nathan Spear who builds a warehouse along Polk Street (the future Cella Restaurant)
- Spear sells his part of the house to Manuel Diaz, who builds a corner store (Alta Bakery). His wife, Louisa Diaz, the longest resident of the property, lived in the Diaz adobe until 1900.
- Cooper adds an enclosed hallway between the adobes, a second floor, balconies and carpeting.
- In the midst of a changing California economy, the Coopers move to San Francisco.
- Captain Cooper dies and leaves a large land estate to his wife Encarnation Vallejo Cooper.
- Encarnation Cooper dies, leaving the Cooper half of the adobe to her daughter Anita "Ana" Wohler Cooper. Anita purchases the Diaz half of the adobe and updates the property with the help of Eusebio Molera. A parapet is added to the corner store.
- Andrew Molera builds the two story barn where he keeps racehorses and carriages (Event Center). Andrew and Frances rent the corner store and warehouse to various businesses.
- Frances Molera dies and wills the Cooper Molera Adobe to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- California State Parks signs a lease with the National Trust, taking over site operations.
- State Parks conducts archaeological excavations and starts a major restoration of the property, basing its reconstruction on the pre-1900 configuration
- Restoration is completed and State Parks opens the site as a museum
- The National Trust and partners begin a second major rehabilitation
- Today the National Trust has assumed management of the property, joining with Foothill Partners and local stakeholders to create an innovative shared-use operating model. Working together, they have injected new life and purpose into the Cooper Molera complex. Now interpretation and education are integrated with commercial uses in adaptively reused historic buildings throughout the property. A part of the revenue generated by these businesses helps to preserve the property and support the programs and exhibits in the Diaz and Cooper Adobes.
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"I loved being able to visit each room! Excellent displays. How wonderful to be invited to experience hands-on displays, too! Thank you." -Anne Madda
"It was so amazing to be able to walk inside the museum again! Current and dynamic interpretation (like Lazaria's story)" -Julia
"An amazing restored home and museum. I learned so much. Thank you!" -Jennifer Toleye-Hardin
"I loved the handwriting and artichoke label station, and all the very informative signs."
"Very cool site! Didn't even know this place existed in Monterey. A pleasant surprise!" -Manol
"It was truly lovely. Thank you for preserving Mexican American history. Muchas Gracias" -Julie Behill
"Very tasteful display of the work the Trust does!" -Rod
"Thank you for naming the Ohlone people! It means a lot to the native community" -Alisha Marie
"So happy to get to visit this hourse again and check the second floor. Reminds me so much of my grandparents' house in Shahmirzad, Iran" -Anonymous
"Very impressed! Always admired from the outside, thank you for opening the home and making it so accessible!" -Laura
"Lovely! Seriously a jewel of a site. Thanks for keeping it free!"
"Interactive exhibit, taking pictures, experiencing the house-- not to overwhelming or full of stuff. Very informative! Thank you" -Liz
"I loved the games! So many fun, interactive pieces!" -Sarah and Nina