MONTEREY is located on the southern edge of Monterey Bay, on Central California's Pacific coast. It stands at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level, on a land area of 8.466 sq mi. Monterey was the capital of Alta California under both Spain and Mexico. It was the only port of entry for taxable goods in California. In 1846 the U.S. flag was raised over the Customs House, and California became part of the United States after the ensuing Mexican-American War. The city had California's first theatre, public building, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. The city and surrounding area have attracted artists since the late 19th century and many celebrated painters and writers have lived there. Until the 1950s, there was an abundant fishery.