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HISTORY: Carmel By The Sea


Historical Collage of
Carmel-by-the-Sea
by Nancy Pratt
In a single mural the significant historical themes that make Carmel, California great are gathered together. Each element of the mural has it’s own story to tell.

Carmel River Bay and Point Lobos - First sighted in 1542 by Cabrillo and again fifty years later by Vizcaino and 3 Carmelite friars. They called the valley, river and bay "El Rio Carmelo" from which the name Carmel is still known. Point Lobos hems the bay with wonderful tide pools and walking paths. It still preserves a 19th century whaling station.

The Mission - founded in 1771 by Father Junipero Serra as ‘Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo’. It’s church served the spiritual needs of the Spaniards and the Rumsen Ohlones who had been converted to the Catholic faith, while the mission compound provided comfortable living quarters, workshops, and storage areas. Father Serra, presidente of the chain of Missions headquartered at Carmel Mission, was buried in his beloved Mission and his bones are their today. The mission is beautifully restored and was made a Minor Basilica by Pope John XXII in 1960. Could that be the spirit of father Serra proudly looking on?

Mission Ranch - named so by John Martin, a Scotsman who acquired the surrounding Mission lands in 1850 for a dairy farm after the Mission was secularized. This lovely ranch overlookiing Carmel River Bay operates today as an inn and restaurant owned by actor Clint Eastwood. Maybe the aussie is Buddy DeVoe with Clint’s sheep.

Village of Carmel by the Sea - was conceived when Frank Devendorf , a San Jose developer, took a ride along the Seventeen-Mile-Drive from Pacific Grove in the 1890’s. The natural beauty of the white sandy beaches, now bounded by Monterey cypress and sloping forests of Monterey pine jeweled with California poppies, and lupines, brought Devendorf back in 1902 to file for the first subdivision map of Carmel-by-the-Sea. A tiny village sprang up as Devendorf and his partner Frank Power formed the Carmel Development Company. Carmel’s first school Sunset School is now Sunset Center of Art and Crafts and annually hosts the Bach Festival with a gala of flags.

Art and Carmel - have always been synonymous. The Bohemians of the 1906 earthquake and fire of San Francisco contributed to the empetus of Carmel’s art colony. Could that be Xavier Martine at the easel? George Sterling and Mary Austin often pondered at the beach, together with his beloved ‘Skeet’. Many of the newcomers became famous in the fields of the arts and added renown to the name of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Hawk Tower - Tor House - towers over Carmel Bay Bluffs, now lined with planted Monterey Cypress. One of America’s most famous controversial poets, Robinson Jeffers, rolled stones up from the beach for the construction of his writing tower and house. The red-tailed hawk from Point Lobos inspired Jeffers as he built. Could that be Jeffers’ big white English bull, Winnie, look-alike for Winston Churchill?

Forest Theater - among the Monterey pines off Mountain View Avenue. The local literary folk co-operate in producing plays on the first open air stage in the west.

Sand Castle Contest is held September or October each year on the stretch of soft sand depsoited by the calm summer sea. Will this little intense architect of sand win ‘The Grand Sand Award’ for her version of the Sunset Cultural Center?

The Golden Bough - sign projected from a tree and marked the entrance to Carmel’s famous theatre, before it burned. In classic myths the branch was key to the world of imagination and fantasy. Could the spirit of Mary Austin be inspired to write under the bough?

Carmel Kite Festival - each March shows that youngsters enjoy good old fashioned kite flying. Could this Chineese kite remind us of the first Chineese?

The Doll’s House - or ‘Hansel and Gretel’ style of architecture became a trademark of Carmel. It all started when Mayotta Comstock made her clever ‘Otsy-totsy’ rag dolls. The dolls needed a home of their own. Hugh Comstock’s unique fairy-tale style houses for the dolls became the dream houses and shops of Camelites.

The Tea Room - known as the Tuck Box, was one of those Comstock animated shops, now a landmark of Carmel on Dolores and 7th Avenues.

Pal - just a dog, often called Carmel’s Dog. He was the friend of all who knew and loved him.

Raccoons of City Hall - are only and indication of the number of raccoons in Carmel’s woods! City Hall conducts business in the once hallowed atmosphere of All Saints’ Episcopal Church. It runs Carmel just like a town with a mayor and everything!

Chimney Sweeps - in the European tradition can be seen on Carmel rooftops.

Morrison Memorial Library - is attributed to famous architect Bernard Ralph Maybeck whose plans were interpreted by contractor M. J. ‘Roch’ Murphy who build many of the bat and board houses of Carmel. The library has outstanding facilities, wonderful service, and a valuable collection of Carmel history in paintings and books.

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