15. Steinbeck Family Cottage
147 11th Street (Between Lighthouse and Ricketts Row)


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Google Map of Steinbeck's Family Cottage

                gate into 147 11th Street Ricketts Row side of 147 11th Street

Photo c. 1995

Photo 2015, courtesy Carmelita Garcia

Please note:
Major changes to Steinbeck's family cottage are underway in 2015. Some concerned citizens have expressed alarm at the disappearance of the writing room addition. The changes were reviewed in October 2014 by the Pacific Grove Planning Commission, and the documentation includes some excellent family photos of the cottage during Steinbeck's time, including this family photo:

cottage in 1906

4/10/15 Pine Cone article

Read the article in the online Carmel Pine Cone

steinbeck's Pacific Grove cottage before
                & after1

Steinbeck's Pacific Grove cottage

front door

Photo 2015, courtesy Carmelita Garcia Photo 2015, courtesy Carmelita Garcia

Photo 2015, courtesy Carmelita Garcia Photo 2015, courtesy Carmelita Garcia

Built by Steinbeck's father as a summer home, this is the cottage where Steinbeck returned repeatedly throughout his life. One of the pine trees in the yard was planted when Steinbeck was a child, and he felt a playful affinity towards it, believing his well-being was linked with its growth. In 1930, Steinbeck moved here with his bride, Carol, and lived on a $25-per-month allowance provided by John Steinbeck, Sr. Father and son worked together remodeling the cottage, walling in the sleeping porch, moving the entry to the back and building a Mexican-style fireplace. Steinbeck improved the garden and added a fish pond. In 1931, he and Carol purchased two mallard ducks, "Aqua" and "Vita," but had to sell them to purchase writing paper for To a God Unknown

Although they moved to Southern California for a while, they returned to the area in the fall of 1932 when Steinbeck's mother suffered a stroke. They divided their time between this cottage and the family home in Salinas, and John worked on parts of The Red Pony. Back in P.G., Steinbeck also worked on The Pastures of Heaven, Tortilla Flat (which won a Commonwealth Club medal and established Steinbeck as a major regional writer) and In Dubious Battle (also a Commonwealth medal winner). Steinbeck began work on Of Mice and Men at the cottage, but the unwanted attention of his increasing celebrity forced the Steinbecks to move to Los Gatos in 1936. While the new house up north was being built John spent time at the cottage, continuing work on Of Mice and Men. The manuscript was nearly finished in May, but Steinbeck's dog, perhaps acting critically, chewed up the entire single copy. In 1939, Ritchie Lovejoy lived in the cottage. 

Turn left on Ricketts Row, go across two blocks, and turn right on 10th Street (your landmark is Saint Angela's across the street). Go up to Lighthouse Avenue and turn left at the stop sign. Continue on Lighthouse for two blocks. On your right, at the corner of 8th and Lighthouse, is . . .