11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Cannery Row

Year Listed: 1998
Location: California
Threat: Development

Significance

Early in the 20th century this neighborhood became the focus of an extensive canning industry that made Monterey the sardine capital of the world. By World War II the canneries and related facilities stretched for most of a mile along Oceanview Avenue, hugging the shore of Monterey Bay. John Steinbeck's novel Cannery Row, based on characters the author had known in the 1930s, appeared in 1945--ironically, just before sardine fishing went into steep decline. By the time the last cannery closed in 1973, artisans and restaurants had begun to move into Cannery Row and tourism had become the area's main industry. By the 1990s, two million visitors were flocking to the Row annually, and intensive development threatened to overwhelm the historic character that the tourists are seeking.