Pacific Biological Laboratories, Monterey

Pacific Biological Laboratories, Monterey

Pacific Biological Laboratories, abbreviated PBL, was a biological supply house that sold preserved animals and prepared specimen microscope slides, many of which were of maritime aquatic species, to schools, museums, and research institutions. It was located in a building on what is now Monterey's Cannery Row on Monterey Bay in Monterey County, California.

The building, activities, and business were fictionalized as "Western Biological Laboratory" by John Steinbeck in his novel Cannery Row, as was a character based on one of its founders, Ed Ricketts. After a 1936 fire Steinbeck invested in the laboratory and owned half its stock.

In 1949, a year after Ricketts's death, the Pacific Biological Laboratories building was sold to Yock Yee, a local grocer. High school literature teacher and jazz enthusiast Harlan Watkins began renting the Pacific Biological Laboratories building from Yock Yee and purchased it in 1956. In 1958, after Watkins had married and moved to Europe, friends of Watkins, including Frank Wright, Ed Haber, Joe Turner, Fred Fry and Ed Larsh, joined together to purchase the building under the name “Pacific Biological Laboratories.” The building served as a weekly meeting place for club members, many of whom were prominent Monterey artists and writers. Founding club members also included nationally known cartoonists Hank Ketcham (creator of Dennis the Menace, Eldon Dedini and Gus Arriola. Several club members helped to start the Monterey Jazz Festival. The first festival was held in 1958.

The Pacific Biological Laboratories club sold their building to the City of Monterey in December 1993 for $170,000. A seismic rehabilitation of the building was done in 1998. It was restored by the Cannery Row Foundation which was given the Governor's Award for Historic Preservation.

On May 14, 1997, the 100th anniversary of Ricketts' birth, a commemorative plaque was placed on the 165 Fountain Avenue location by the Pacific Grove Heritage Society and the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History Association. The Pacific Biological Laboratories is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Monthly tours are offered through the City of Monterey.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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Pacific Biological Laboratories on Map

Sight Name: Pacific Biological Laboratories
Sight Location: Monterey, USA (See walking tours in Monterey)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Monterey, California

Create Your Own Walk in Monterey

Create Your Own Walk in Monterey

Creating your own self-guided walk in Monterey is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Monterey State Historic Park Walk

Monterey State Historic Park Walk

Monterey State Historic Park is a National Landmark and a part of the Monterey Old Town Historic District. Found on the grounds here are a group of significant old-time houses that once made up California's earliest capital and were the site of the state's first constitutional convention. Today these buildings retain their rich heritage, preserving an important part of Californian as...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Cannery Row Walking Tour

Cannery Row Walking Tour

Cannery Row – the waterfront street in Monterey, California – was once home to a number of sardine canning factories, the last of which closed down in 1973. The former nickname for Ocean View Avenue became the street's official name in January 1958 to honor John Steinbeck and his famous eponymous novel. In the novel's opening sentence, Steinbeck described Cannery Row as "a poem,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Monterey Introduction Walking Tour

Monterey Introduction Walking Tour

Monterey is one of California's oldest cities, having been settled since 1770. The Spanish and Mexican governments both used the city as a capital for Alta California. Monterey offered many important firsts for California during this era, including a newspaper and printing press, public school, library, and theater.

This city was the location for the first constitutional convention in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles