I am so glad you asked! Actually, John was born here in Pacific Grove in 1902 at his parent’s home at 132 (130) Central Avenue. His parents then bought a house at 147 11th St, in 1908 and he lived there until he took off for the greener pastures of Stanford University in 1919.
John did return here and moved back into the house on 11th Street in 1930 and stayed until 1936. He wrote many of his famous books here, including Tortilla Flat, The Red Pony, In Dubious Battle and To a God Unknown. He even began one of his most famous – Of Mice and Men – here on 11th St.
It is interesting that Olive Steinbeck bought a house at 222 Central in 1925 and we found notes that he may have built a small workshop here to do his writing.
What did he write on in those days before word processors and computers? Well, we found that he journeyed up the hill to the then Holman’s Department Store and purchased the ledger and even the ink to pen the beginnings of Pastures of Heaven and to a God Unknown. How fortunate he was to have such a grand store so close by!
He left in 1936 but soon returned to Pacific Grove in 1941 and moved into the house at 425 Eardley and began the Sea of Cortez. The house was mentioned both in Life in the House and With Steinbeck in the Sea of Cortez.
We also found that his sister lived in the Ester Steinbeck Rogers house in Asilomar. He spent much time here and may have written part of the Sea of Cortez here. She was later buried in the El Carmelo Cemetery here in Pacific Grove.
John eventually left the house at 425 Eardley in 1943 and, apparently, never returned here for any significant time after that.