Shopping Cart
Historic Harvey House 
Museum,  Education and Cultural Center   
Facebook logo Twitter Icon Instagram Icon

Latest News

Education Programs

We offer Teacher Professional Development for 3rd and 5th grade elementary teachers and hands-on history programs for their students.

Become a Volunteer

Support Us

Learn about how to volunteer or other ways you can help. Join our membership and make a direct donation online.

Thank oursponsors


The purpose of the First Mayor's House is to promote a better appreciation of life in early Salinas and provide educational opportunities for students, teachers and schools.

Our Story

The First Mayor’s House is an educational nonprofit in Salinas, California, consisting of the restored home of Isaac Julian Harvey, the garden, and Learning Center. The home has been completely restored to the 1870s; the family documents, photographs, clothes and furniture have been preserved, giving us a rare glimpse of early community life. Today, the First Mayor’s House has been relocated to the new Inter-modal Transportation Center, where it serves as an adjunct to local schools, telling the story of all immigrants to the Salinas Valley.    

Learn More about First Mayor's House. 

Contact our administrations staff today for more information about supporting a field trip campaign.

Hours of Operation:

First Saturday of the Month 10:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

First Fridays 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday & Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Or by Appointment


Who was I. J. Harvey?  

Isaac Julian Harvey was a man of many occupations: Indiana farmer, businessman, and banker, owner of stores, hotels, toll roads, pack mules, and flat bottom boats on the Missouri River. He was a man of letters, a scout for his own wagon trains, a ranch owner in Plumas County, a miner who was a primary backer of the Lost Black Rock Silver Mine, a county judge in Missouri and California, and a mayor of Salinas City.  But foremost, he was a man devoted to his wife and family.

I. J. Harvey and his family took part in the West’s development.  They participated in the transition from waterways to railways, from villages to towns interconnected by railways.  I. J. came to California in 1850, looking for opportunities; after seeing those opportunities, he returned for his family, making the long trip again in 1852.  Later, near the end of his life, I. J. sat down and recounted his trip, providing insight into an incredible journey.

He was typical of his generation of merchants and businessmen, who arrived in California seeking gold and excitement but staying to build new homes for their families.  They arrived in Salinas in 1868; at the time, they counted “only twelve to fourteen buildings”.   I. J. opened a store on Main Street and the whole family took part in the organization of the new town, oldest daughter Sophronia becoming the first teacher with the youngest daughter her first student.

I. J. Harvey built the house for his wife, Sarah.  She knew what she wanted, “double parlors so that young people could dance between them... a palm tree for a touch of elegance, and a Berkshire rose at the end of the porch”.   It was one of the first homes to be built in Salinas. 

I. J. Harvey

I. J. Harvey

1816 - 1899


Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey

1820 - 1891

More about I. J. Harvey, his family and their Salinas home.

Chaper 1.  End of Westering:  The Journey iof the Harvey Family to Salinas City

Chapter 2. House Restoration, 1998-2005