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Butterfly Town USA Monarch by Kim Thompson


City of Pacific Grove approves zoning changes allowing Butterfly Motel to build five more rooms.

Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 18,128


2013 Tree Planting


Bob Pacelli and volunteers plant trees in sanctuary.

Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History announces plans to build a butterfly pavilion.

Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 13,420

Bellinger Foster Steinmetz Concept Plan


Bellinger Foster Steinmetz submits Concept Plan for sanctuary improvements.

Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 10,790

Photo courtesy of Pat Herrgott.

Bob Pacelli and volunteers plant flowers in the sanctuary.

Friends of the Monarch write to Wildlife Conservation Board outlining their concerns about major construction in the sanctuary.

Wildlife Conservation Board writes to City of Pacific Grove confirming that the Department of Fish and Game is the ultimate authority on the Conservation Easement and that the proposed structure would not be an allowed use.

City of Pacific Grove Mayor asks Public Works to stop and any all activity in the monarch grove, except for standard maintenance as described in the Easement until the City gets a determination from the Department of Fish and Game.

Bob Pacelli recommends replacing dead eucalyptus using boxed trees and continued deployment of boxed trees along the southern edge of the sanctuary.

Bob Pacelli gives poster presentation on his efforts in the sanctuary to the 2012 Monarch Conservation and Biology meeting.

2011 Tree Planting

Brokaw Hall removed.

Stuart Weiss submits Management Plan for Monarch Grove Sanctuary

Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 12,265


City of Pacific Grove plants trees in grove.

Bob Pacelli brings 36 more boxed trees into the grove.

Bob Pacelli and Frances Grate plant 50 nectar plants.

Bob Pacelli honored by the City of Pacific Grove for his efforts in bringing boxed trees into the butterfly sanctuary, now known as “Operation Pacelli.”

2010 Tree Planting

The first annual blessing in the Monarch Sanctuary is held. Ohlone/Costanoan-Esselen Tribal Chairwoman Louise Ramirez leads the blessing at the invitation of avid Monarch Butterfly supporter, Helen Johnson.

Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 4,968


City of Pacific Grove Public Works Director fired.

City of Pacific Grove Mayor issues formal apology for cutting trees in the sanctuary.

Bob Pacelli brings 11 boxed Coast Live Oak and 43 boxed Blue Gum Eucalyptus trees into the sanctuary to provide wind canopy for the monarchs.

LA Times Overzealous Pruning Article


Blue Gum Eucalyptus trees heavily trimmed in grove.

Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 793

Butterfly Town USA Monarch by Kim Thompson


Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 17,866

Butterfly Town USA Monarch by Kim Thompson


Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 8,181

Monterey Herald 2006 City Settles for $1M


Family of Anne Dickinson Thomas settles for wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Pacific Grove.

Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 28,746

Butterfly Town USA Monarch by Kim Thompson


Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 12,199

Butterfly Town USA Monarch by Kim Thompson


During “Monarch Madness Days,” a tree branch falls on Anne Dickinson Thomas in the parking lot, killing her.

Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 10,867

Xerces Society Logo


The Xerces Society begins Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count of monarchs in Pacific Grove Sanctuary.

Annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count: 22,802

Pacific Grove City Seal


City of Pacific Grove approves $10K expenditure from a charitable trust to pay City workers to maintain grove trees and passes ordinance calling for the removal of any tree liable to menace life or property.

Pacific Grove City Seal


City of Pacific Grove cuts down three trees in the grove and trims dead wood from five others.

Brokaw Hall


Friends of the Monarchs issues resolution to restore Butterfly Cottage/Brokaw Hall as urban environmental education center.

Heritage Society of Pacific Grove asks City of Pacific Grove to preserve Butterfly Cottage/Brokaw Hall.

City of Pacific Grove Community Development Director reports to Mayor and City Council that the demolition of Butterfly House/Brokaw Hall would a significant impact on a historic structure.

Pacific Grove City Seal


Pacific Grove Museum asks Friends of the Monarchs to join the Museum’s outreach program.

Butterfly Cottage/Brokaw Hall put on Pacific Grove’s list of historic houses.

City of Pacific Grove files application for Historic Demolition Permit to tear down Butterfly Cottage/Brokaw Hall.


Photo courtesy of Lighthouseavenue.com

Pacific Grove City Seal


City of Pacific Grove forms Natural Resources Committee.

Pacific Grove City Seal


City of Pacific Grove conducts survey of monarch grove trees.

Mayor Flo Schaefer Cutting Ribbon
Photo courtesy of Pat Herrgott

State of CA Resources Agency/Department of Fish and Game issues Conservation easement for Pacific Grove Butterfly Ecological Reserve, outlining the conditions and restrictions of the easement, including no erecting new structures unless it is replacing a pre-existing structure of similar size.


City of Pacific Grove finalizes purchase of property with Edna Dively.

Friends of the Monarch Environmental Committee launches docent program and submits report proposing improvements to the sanctuary, including recommendation that new trees be planted as a windbreak, retaining the bottle brush plant and encouraging that more be planted, and that a pond be created as a water source for puddling.

Measure G Ballot
Photo courtesy of Pat Herrgott

City gets a grant from the State Wildlife Conservation Board for $200,000 and agrees to a Conservation Easement to complete the purchase.


Through grassroots efforts lead by Ro Vaccaro and “Friends of the Monarchs,” Measure G, the City of Pacific Grove Butterfly Habitat and Bond Measure, passes, paving the way for the City of Pacific Grove to purchase Edna Dively’s land in order to create a permanent sanctuary for the butterflies.

Friends of the Monarchs Logo


Friends of the Monarchs is formed.

Photo courtesy of Pat Herrgott.


Letter from Madam Butterfly to City in 1956


Madam Butterfly writes to the City regarding the conditions in the grove.

Cover of Steinbeck's Sweet Thursday


John Steinbeck writes about the monarchs in Sweet Thursday:
"Pacific Grove benefits by one of those happy accidents of nature that gladden the heart, excite the imagination, and instruct the young. On a certain day in the shouting springtime great clouds of orangy Monarch butterflies, like twinkling aery fields of flowers, sail high in the air on a majestic pilgrimage across Monterey Bay and land in the outskirts of Pacific Grove in the pine woods. The butterflies know exactly where they are going. In their millions they land on several pine trees-always

the same trees. There they suck the thick, resinous juice which oozes from the twigs, and they get cockeyed. The first comers suck their fill and then fall drunken to the ground, where they lie like a golden carpet, waving their inebriate legs in the air and giving off butterfly shouts of celebration, while their places on the twigs are taken by new, thirsty millions. After about a week of binge the butterflies sober up and fly away, but not in clouds: they face their Monday morning singly or in pairs"

1935 Girls Standing in Front of Butterfly Ordinance Sign


The City of Pacific Grove passes an ordinance to protect the butterflies from molestation. Those caught harming the beautiful insect will pay a $1,000 fine.

Pacific Grove commences to welcome the Monarch butterfly with a Butterfly Parade, featuring local schoolchildren dressed in wings. The welcome parade continues to be held each year to this day.

Photo courtesy of Arthur McEwan (1953)

1923 Doc Ricketts Outside Lab


“Doc” Ricketts collects 32,000 monarch butterflies in a single season.

Photo courtesy of Monterey County Free Library.

Carmel-San Simeon Labor Camp


Area of future grove serves as a State of California Forestry Labor Camp.

Photo courtesy of CalTrans.

Pacific Biological Labs Original Building


Edward “Doc” Ricketts opens Pacific Biological Laboratories, which sold preserved animals to schools, museums, and research institutions.

Photo courtesy of The History Company.

1914 Butterfly Trees by Lucia Shepardson Book Cover


“Butterfly Trees” by Lucia Shepardson is published.

1910s Eucalyptus Planted in Grove


Eucalyptus trees are planted in the area now occupied by the grove in order to convert from swampland.

Photo courtesy of the Clearwater Collection, Pacific Palisades Historical Society, Santa Monica Public Library Image Archives.

1877 Methodist Retreat Association Sells Tent Lots


Methodist Retreat Association sells tent lots of the Pacific Camp Grounds/Christian Seaside Resort to members in order to build homes.

Photo courtesy of the Pat Hathaway Photo Collection.

1875 Methodist Retreat Tents


Town of Pacific Grove established as a Methodist resort.

Photo courtesy of the Heritage Society of Pacific Grove.

Ohlone Coastanoan Esselen Lands Map


Pacific Grove is the traditional land of the Coastanoan Ohlone Rumsen Indian Tribe.