In 1858, Benjamin and Kate Porter purchased the beautiful ocean view property where the Sesnon House is located. The Porter's only child, Mary, married William T. Sesnon of San Francisco and the couple built their elegant summer home, which they named Pino Alto in 1911. One of the architects from the San Francisco firm who designed the home described the design as "Californian" because of the integration of Moorish, Mission, and American styles.
After World War II, the Sesnon family sold the home to the Salesian Order. It was maintained as a seminary and school until 1978, when Cabrillo College purchased the property. The remodeled building, now called the Sesnon House, was used as a community center. Damaged severely in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the house was closed for several years. The historic home was renovated to its present beauty with funds from the college, the community and Sesnon family members. It reopened in September 1996.