Asilomar Conference Grounds is a conference center built for the Young Women's Christian Association in 1913. It is located east of what was then known as Moss Beach, on the western tip of the Monterey Peninsula in Pacific Grove, California. Between 1913 and 1929 architect Julia Morgan designed and built sixteen of the buildings on the property, of which eleven are still standing. In 1987, the original Morgan buildings that still stand were listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Warnecke buildings will likely follow suit in the coming years. Alisomar Conference Grounds houses a large motel and holds a wide variety of events for visitors throughout the year, including marriages and team building exercises. While updates have been made to the area over the years, the tranquility and harmony found at Asilomar have been preserved, and tourists are encouraged to book a night at the hotel to experience a slice of natural beauty.
The history of Asilomar dates to its original usage as a
YWCA Leadership Camp built in 1913. Known as Monterey Peninsula's Refuge
by the Sea, this state park is located on 107 acres of state beach and
conference grounds. Asilomar Conference Grounds is the crown-jewel of the beautiful
and peaceful town of Pacific Grove. Asilomar is renowned for its fully-restored
dune ecosystem and is a hot tourist site for its architectural significance.
The grounds have several historic structures designed by the famous architect,
Julia Morgan, between the years of 1913 and 1928. Sadly, only thirteen of
Morgan’s original structures are remaining. The buildings are fully maintained however and
constitute her largest collection of “Arts & Crafts” style architecture in a
During the years of 1917 to 1935, the YWCA hired young
college-age men to help maintain the area, working as groundskeepers, busboys,
and the like. These men formed a hierarchical group known as “The Pirates.” This
group is notable for representing the main vision of Alisomar: the improvement
of the soul from the experience of Mother Nature.
Thirty years after the installation of Morgan’s structures,
John Carl Warnecke (the architect behind John F. Kennedy's gravesite memorial),
created seven more complexes, beautifully complimenting the conference grounds.
In 1987, the original Morgan buildings were listed on the
National Register of Historic Places, and the Warnecke buildings will likely
follow suit in the coming years. While updates have been made throughout the
decades to keep the areas operational and well-maintained, the tranquility and
harmony of the area’s natural beauty found at Asilomar have been preserved.
The special heritage for the grounds has inspired an ongoing
commitment to protection of Asilomar’s facilities, as well as it’s natural
ecosystem. One of Alisomar Conference Ground’s main goals is enabling guests to
enjoy the natural surroundings of the landscape, hoping to maintain it for
future generations to experience.