Hartnell College is one of the oldest educational institutions in California. Founded in 1920 as Salinas Junior College, the school was renamed Hartnell College in 1948. The Hartnell Community College District was formed the following year.
The college moved to its present location at 411 Central Avenue in Salinas in 1936. (The location was first identified as being at 156 Homestead Avenue, but renovations and additions eliminated the entranceway on that street, so the address was officially changed in 2008.) The main campus is located in Monterey County just a 20-minute drive from the scenic Monterey Coast.