Pacific Grove is in Monterey County in the Central Coast region of California. It is next to the Pacific Ocean on Monterey Bay just west of the city of Monterey. Popular for its quaint, small-town charm, Pacific Grove is the wintering-over spot for thousands of Monarch butterflies, from which its nickname, "Butterfly Town, U.S.A.," is derived.
The first European to land in Pacific Grove was Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo, in 1542. The first settlement in the area, however, was in 1855, when the Point Pinos Lighthouse began operation. It still stands and is the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the West Coast. Lighthouse Road, one of the two main streets in Pacific Grove, was originally constructed to bring supplies from Monterey to Point Pinos.
Many Chinese immigrants settled near the shore beginning in 1863, forming a "Chinatown." Most worked as fishermen out of the harbor in Monterey.
The bulk of Pacific Grove was initially a summer Methodist camp. Worshippers each had a plot of land on which they erected tents. Over time, they began erecting more permanent structures, and some relocated to the area. Most of the structures in Pacific Grove date to the Victorian era, and many are small, dollhouse-like homes. Until 1890, there was a fence around Pacific Grove, providing a visual border between this small religious community and its neighbors.