Judge Monterey "Monty" Hellam
Monterey "Monty" Hellam, named after the city of his birth, was born October 15, 1899. He was the eldest of seven children of one of Monterey's pioneering merchants, Frank Hellam.
Monty Hellam distinguished himself in service to the community, serving as first assistant chief of the Monterey fire department for 17 years, and as a member of the local World War II draft board. Monty Hellam's most notable role as a public servant, however, was that of police judge. In the years before Monterey had a municipal court, Hellam served as a judge, presiding over a court that resided in
Colton Hall. Prior to his appointment by the Monterey City Council, Judge Hellam did not have formal legal training, but was deemed by the community to be a fair man who rendered common sense
On Monty Hellam's first day as police judge, in May 1933, it was as if a character had been blown into the court room from the pages of Steinbeck novel, for Eddie Romero, known locally as "Pilon" and, infamously, as the model for "Pilon" in Tortilla Flat, stood before Hellam, on a drinking related charge. Romero and Hellam would meet up in police court on many other occasions, with Judge Hellam
proclaiming in a Monterey Herald interview that, "Pilon was probably the most docile prisoner that I can remember... he never entered a protest and was always willing to accept the wisdom of the court."
When, in 1953, Californians voted for a statewide reorganization of court systems, the office of police judge was abolished--just shy of Monty Hellam's 20th year on the bench. However, this son of Monterey was not quite ready to settle into the sunset of retirement--he took on the
duties of records clerk for the Monterey Police Department, completing another 15 years of service.
Far-but-tough, common-sense-meting Monterey Hellam died in 1984.
By: Michelle Adams-Walton
FRANK WOODHALL HELLAM
Monterey has long had a reputation of being a friendly, hospitable city. Frank Hellam was of the same opinion when he arrived here in 1881. Monterey seemed to be too much of a good thing to keep to one's self, so Frank Hellam traveled back to the state of his birth, Michigan, and to other parts of California, to bring family members to the lovely bayside city. And, to further show his love and loyalty to his adopted hometown; Hellam named his firstborn, "Monty".
Frank Hellam did not rest on his laurels after relocated to Monterey. He became involved in civil affairs by serving on the board of Freeholders, a group that wrote the city of Monterey's charter. Monterey provided Frank Hellam, the son of a brick mason, with a myriad of business opportunities, for Frank Hellam is known as a Monterey business pioneer because of his steadfast turn-of-the-
century entrepreneurship. Hellam's first Monterey enterprise was an Alvarado Street bootblack stand. Hellam then branched out, operating, along with his children and siblings, a Palace of Sweets and founding, in 1893, the Climax Cigar Store, which was located on the first floor of the Monterey Hotel. But that wasn't the climax of the business ventures and adventures for this man-about-Monterey. Hellam was president of the Climax Furniture Company, assisted cousin Jack McKay in setting up the Woodbine Tobacco shop on Alvarado Street (which evolved into a family-owned camera shop), and developed real estate subdivision on Hellam Street, between Clay
Frank Hellam, by many accounts, the embodiment of the generous spirit of Monterey that first drew him to this city, died in 1936.
By: Michelle Adams-Walton