National Steinbeck Center
Salinas – California Central Coast

Mural on an alley wall facing the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. This collage reminisces scenes from the Nobel Laureate’s popular works. From left: Mice and Men, Zapata, Cannery Row, Log From The Sea of Cortez, Lifeboat, Grapes of Wrath, The Red Pony, East of Eden, In Dubious Battle.

Local students, an equal mixture of Mexican and European type Americans produced this work.

He once lamented his hometown wouldn’t take him back unless he was in a pine box.

Imagine how surprised he would be today to see how Salinas has so exultantly embraced him.

In 1998, the National Steinbeck Center opened in Salinas, the Nobel Laureate’s birthplace.

It’s a grand place for the uninitiated to become acquainted with the historical and cultural relevance of his work. For fans of the great novelist, it’s a fine place to revel in his work.

From the Center’s description:

The permanent exhibit area offers a journey through seven themed galleries of interactive, multisensory exhibits. Vivid stage settings bring the places and experiences of John Steinbeck’s world alive.

Visitors can feel the cool air of the lettuce boxcar in East of Eden, brush the mane or climb on the Red Pony in the barn, smell the fish and hear seagulls in Cannery Row, listen to classical music in Ed “Doc” Rickett’s lab and read and hear Steinbeck’s words throughout the gallery.

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Seven unique theaters show clips from Steinbeck’s films throughout the exhibits. Visitors can see Henry Fonda as Tom Joad in the Grapes of Wrath, or see Viva Zapata in the Mexican Plaza. The Steinbeck enthusiast and general public alike will be entertained and informed by the multilevel experiences.”

Steinbeck’s 11th St. Cottage in Pacific Grove. Built by John’s father, who also gave his son a stipend so he could pursue a writing career.

This photo is by Ester Trosow who conducts an online tour of John Steinbeck’s Life in Pacific Grove.

Steinbeck’s stories covered the Central Coast region. From Castroville and Moss Landing to King City, Gabilan Mountains to Santa Lucia canyons, and to a Big Sur ledge over the Pacific, from Pacific Grove Tide Pools to Watsonville, from the highland pastures between Pajaro Valley and Carmel Valley, he told of the places of Central Coast, and Pelican is developing a guide to the locations in his work.


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