MONTEREY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A dedication ceremony took place for the new Cannery Row Monument built in Steinbeck Plaza on Cannery Row in Monterey, California.
The 15ft high x 17ft wide x 16ft deep monument pays tribute to the many notorious and famous characters that were vital to the evolution of Cannery Row. Atop the rocklike monument sits John Steinbeck, surrounded by eight other bronze figures—characters reminiscent of when Cannery Row was the bustling sardine canning district that exposed him to the lives of people who filled Steinbeck with literary inspiration.
Also sculpted on the monument is Ed Ricketts, Steinbeck’s good friend and a famous marine biologist who studied the sea life and tide pools of Monterey Bay. Ricketts’ work invigorated marine biology and many consider him to be among the “fathers” of marine biology. The monument also includes figures suggestive of a Chinese fishermen and cannery workers, and of the colorful Dora Flood, who made everybody happy and was equally famous for helping the poor during the Great Depression.
The four “boys” huddled together on the rock were modeled after the four entrepreneurs who embraced the remnants of the canning district and dedicated themselves to its rebirth. Ted Balestreri, George Zarounian, Harry Davidian and Bert Cutino shared a vision for Cannery Row and a deep affection for its inhabitants. The boys in association with the Coniglio, Crispo, Drummond and Meyers families brought tourism and hospitality to Monterey’s Cannery Row, helping to preserve it for all time.
Ted Balestreri, founding and general managing partner of the Cannery Row Company, was the first to envision a monument in Steinbeck Plaza for visitors to appreciate the vibrant history of Cannery Row and its importance in California’s past. First inhabited by Native Americans then settled by the Spanish, Monterey later became home to many Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Mexican, Filipino, Norwegian, Scottish and Japanese immigrants.
Balestreri shared with the invited guests at the event, “The monument is a focal point for the world to see—a stunning piece of magnificent artwork overlooking the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the most pristine and exciting sanctuary in the world.”
Secretary Panetta, who as a congressman sponsored the legislation to establish the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary said, “Growing up in Monterey I remember the smell, bustle and people who worked hard on Cannery Row and so today we honor their inspiration and legacy with the monument.”
Also speaking at the event were Monterey Mayor Chuck Della Sala and former Mayor Dan Albert. Recognizing Monterey’s historical traditions established by Father Junipero Serra a blessing of the monument was given by Most Rev. Richard J. Garcia, D.D.
Steven Whyte, an internationally acclaimed sculptor with a studio in Carmel sculpted the bronze figures for the monument. Whyte studied at the prestigious Sir Henry Doulton School of Sculpture. He is credited with more than ten major monuments in Britain and the United States, including the Silverdale Mining Memorial, “A National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military” in San Diego, and two over-life-size monuments to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The dedication was held on February 26, 2014, the day before John Steinbeck’s birthday, so it will open to the public on Steinbeck’s birthday.
For more information on Cannery Row visit www.canneryrow.com.