National Register of Historic Places in Solano County
Ohio lawyer Lansford W. Hastings reached California by way of Oregon in 1843. Returning East in 1844 he published an Emigrant's Guide to California which recommended the Hasting's Cut-Off followed by the ill-fated Donner Party who attempted the high mountain crossing too late in the year and were snowed in.
Returning West, Hastings was named as Mormon agent to select a strategic site for a Mormon colony in the then Mexican territory of California. He found a site at the junction of the Sacramento River, San Joaquin River and Suisun Bay, a location which provided water transportation to the Central Valley and the Pacific Ocean. Here he built an adobe house and planned a town which he named Montezuma City.
Several colonies of Mormons had already reached California by ship, and the exodus from Illinois across the plains had started in February 1846. But after 9 July 1846, when the American flag was raised in San Francisco, the Mormons lost interest in the Montezuma site, and Hastings abandoned the site three years later.
In early 1855, L. P. Marshall and two sons occupied the abandoned building. The Marshalls repaired and improved the dwelling with a frame structure around the adobe. The Marshall family lived here until 1908 when they sold the building to the S. O. Stratton family.
The Stratton family carefully maintained and further improved the aged dwelling until they sold in 1963 to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. as site of a future atomic power plant. Vandals damaged the ancient structure until the company surrounded it with high padlocked fence.
Adapted from the NRHP nomination submitted 13 June 1972.
In 1850, Bayard Taylor published El Dorado; or, Adventures in the Path of Empire. In a chapter titled, The Italy of the West, Taylor passes the Hastings Adobe while traveling from Sacramento to San Franciso on the steamer Senator:
We at last came to the entrance of the slough, the navigation of which was a matter of considerable nicety. The current was but a few feet wider than the steamer, and many of the bends occasioned her considerable trouble. Her bow sometimes ran in among the boughs of the trees, where she could not well be backed out withour her stern going into the opposite bank....
At last we came out again in the real Sacramento, avoiding the numerous other sloughs which made off into the tulé marshes, and soon reached the city of Montezuma, a solitary house on a sort of headland projecting into Suisun Bay and fronting its rival three-house city, New-York-of-the-Pacific.
The bay was dancing to the fresh northern breeze as we skimmed the waters toward Benicia; Monte Diablo, on the other side, wore a blue mist over his scarred and rocky surface, which looked deceptively near.
When we visited the Hastings Adobe in 2006, it was not surrounded by a fence.
Historic Adobe Buildings