Ed Ricketts Birthday Tours Set for May 19

Ed Ricketts Birthday will be celebrated Saturday, May 19, when the nonprofit Cannery Row Foundation offers public Ricketts’ Birthday Tours at Pacific Biological Laboratories, 800 Cannery Row. Ricketts was born May 14, 1897 and died when a train hit his car on the Cannery Row tracks on May 11, 1948.

Limited reservations are now being accepted at tours@canneryrow.org for these public Lab tours, which are two hours each at 10 a.m., 12 noon, and 2 p.m.

Only 15 visitors per hour are allowed inside the historic building. Guests are asked to list the tour time requested and the number of persons in the party. Reservations will be confirmed by return e-mail. Emails are preferred, but visitors also can call 831-917-1937 for clarification or further information.

Robin Aeschliman will begin each tour with a history of her Rodriguez family, which originally owned the site and operated the La Esperanza Fish Packing Company.

At the 10 a.m. and 12 noon tours, Gregor Cailliet, Professor Emeritus, Moss Landing Marine Lab (MLML) and President, Cannery Row Foundation, will discuss Ed Ricketts’ history and that of 800 Cannery Row’s Pacific Biological Laboratories (PBL). Mike Guardino will do the same for the 2 p.m. tour..

Rob McClurg, former high school teacher, will cover the Men’s Group and their ownership, modification, preservation, and occupation of PBL from 1956 to 1993, when they sold the lab to the City of Monterey. He will also cover the creation of the Monterey Jazz Festival from that very spot. Diana Dennis has offered to cover her 2006 book of photographs “Cannery Row 1965 – a time in between.”

The downstairs outdoor processing area, concrete tanks, and the Ricketts’ laboratory will be described by Tracy Campbell, marine biologist from MLML in the two early tours, and Mike Guardino and Gregor Cailliet, during the 2 p.m. tour.

Since 1983, the Cannery Row Foundation has helped to support the research on, and exhibition of, Cannery Row’s famous historic, literary, and ecological legacies. A donation of $15 or more to the Cannery Row Foundation by cash or check at the door is requested

Guests are encouraged to bring cameras, dress in layers, and enjoy a rare opportunity to be inside the Lab for tours by historians, literary scholars, marine biologists, and Cannery Row Foundation docents, called the “Row Rat” volunteers.Some refreshments will be available and visitors will have a chance to wander through the Pacific Biological Laboratories.

The Lab building is where Ed Ricketts and John Steinbeck conceived and planned their 1940 “Voyage of Science and Leisure” to Baja California’s Sea of Cortez on the famed Monterey purse-seiner, the “Western Flyer” and described in Steinbeck’s “The Log from the Sea of Cortez.”


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