On September 1, 1849, delegates gathered in Montery's Colton Hall to begin writing the California Constitution. With all the chaos of the California Gold Rush, law and order were needed. To get that, California had to become a state. The first step in that process is to write a constitution, which is the document that spells out the laws of the state and explains how the state government would work. The delegates got to work, and in about six weeks, the constitution was completed. The photos on this page show what Colton Hall looked like and gives a viewer an idea of the work that the delegates did.

Monterey's Colton Hall

The view from the back where the delegates sat and looking to the front of the hall

A close up of the front of the room

The front table where the president of the convention, Robert Semple, worked

Desk in the front, a secretary's work area

The back of the hall, where the delegates were seated to begin the convention

The portrait on the wall in the center is of Walter Colton.

Work tables to the left of the center table

Look at all the documents that were being developed!

Work tables to the right of the front table

Look at the map of the United States in the foreground.

The map: the delegates had to decide where California's borders would be located.

The work tables with nice windows for natural light?

Would you like to use those benches to sit upon and work?

The document that spelled out just who would get to vote in the new state

The first page of the constitution

This is the practice signature page. The delegates had to plan where to sign the constitution. Notice the shadow of the phtographer on the page. Grrrrrr . . .

Can you tell the shape of the nails on the floor boards?

The brickwork of Colton Hall

The flags fly high over Colton Hall!

The view from the front-this is where California took its first steps to become a state.

Walter Colton-alcalde of Monterey

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