Park Location
Kearny Street, between Clay Street & Washington Street
1 square block.
(Insert hours here)
Portsmouth Square
Historical markers & statues
Drinking fountains
Playground equipment
Game tables
(Insert Here).

Known as the "Heart of Chinatown" — Portsmouth Square. This square is called the Heart of Chinatown because Chinatown started along one side of the square and now extends around and beyond it. Portsmouth Square is rich with history as marked by statues, markers, and plaques sprinkled throughout the square. Named for the U.S.S. Portsmouth, commanded by Captain John B. Montgomery, after whom Montgomery Street was named. It was here on the plaza that Captain Montgomery first raised the American flag near the Mexican adobe custom house on July 9, 1846. Portsmouth Square plaza was the center of many early-day activities:

  • the first public school building, erected in 1847 on the southwest corner of plaza, where religious services and many public meetings were held,
  • the dramatic announcement of gold discovery made on May 11, 1848, when Sam Brannan displayed glittering samples to crowds, mass meeting to urge election of delegates to Monterey Constitutional Convention on June 12, 1849,
  • refuge for citizens following conflagrations of 1849, 1850, 1851, and 1906,
  • citizens' assembly on July 16, 1849 to organize against depredations of a lawless body called 'The Hounds,'
  • memorial services held August 29, 1850, following death of President Zachary Taylor,
  • first Admission Day celebration held October 29, 1850, when the steamship Oregon brought the news that California had become 31st state on September 9,
  • an indignation meeting, organized June 1, 1852, to protest against the city council's purchase of the Jenny Lind Theatre to be used as a city hall,
  • commemorative services held for Henry Daly, August 10, 1852,
  • and an oration delivered by Colonel E. D. Baker on September 18, 1859, over the body of U. S. Senator David C. Broderick, killed in duel with Chief Justice David S. Terry.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson spent many hours here during his visit to the city in 1879-1880

Related Links