Sunday, May 26, 2013

Carmel, CA

The information I am posting here was mainly taken from Wikipedia.  Carmel is truly an "art town with idiosyncrasies".

Carmel, otherwise known as Carmel-by-the Sea, is located in Monterey country, CA.  The city was founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916.  Carmel is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history.  In 1906, the "San Francisco Call' devoted a full page to the "artists, poets and writers of Carmel-by-the Sea" and in 1910 it reported that 60% of Carmel's houses were built by people who were "devoting their lives to work connected to the aesthetic arts."  Early City Councils were dominated by artists, and the city has had several mayors, who were poets or actors, including Herbert Heron, founder of Forest Theater; bohemian writer and actor Perry new berry and actor-direcotr Clint Eastwood, who was mayor for one term, from 1986-1988.

Forest Theater was founded in 1910 and was one of the earliest outdoor amphitheaters west of the Rockies.  Actor/director herbert Heron is generally cited as the founder and driving force and poet novelist Mary Austin is often credited with suggesting the idea.  Originally, the works were by California authors, Children's theater and the plays of Shakespeare.  The property was deeded to the City of Carmel-by-the Sea, so it could qualify for federal funding and in 1939, the site became a WPA  project.  After several years, the site re-opened as The Carmel Shakespeare Festival with Herbert Heron as its director.  The festival continued through the 1940's ; except for the years of World War II (1943-1944).  In 1949, Heron and others created the  Forest Theater Guild and while under the leadership of Cole Weston, the 60 seat Indoor Forest Theater was created.  The Guild remained active until 1961, with the closing of the original Forest Theater Guild, the outdoor theater lay unused and neglected for most of the 1960's.  From 1968-2010, Marcia Hovick's Children's Experimental Theater leased the indoor theater, which is now operated by Pacific Repertory's Theater's School of Dramatic Arts.  In 1972, a new Forest Theater Guild was created, producing musicals and adding a film series in 1997.  In 1984, Pacific Repetory Theater began producing on the outdoor stage, reactivating Herbert heron's Carmel Shakespeare Festival in 1990.  In 2005, Pac Rep presented the theater's highest attended production, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, to a combined audience of over 10,000 ticket holders.

Carmel is known for being dog friendly, as well as some unusual laws; which includes a prohibition on wearing high heel shoes without a permit.  This law was enacted to prevent lawsuits from tripping accidents caused by irregular pavements.

Carmel-by-the Sea is located on the Pacific Coast about 330 miles north of Los Angeles and 120 miles south of San Francisco.

History of the area comprises Native American, early Spanish and American history.  The Esselen speaking people were believed to be the first Native Americans to inhabit the area, but the Ohlone people pushed them south into the mountains of Big Sur around the 6th century.

In 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo led some Europeans up the California coast without landing.  These were the first Europeans to see this land.  Another sixty years passed before another Spanish explorer and Carmelite Friar Sebastian Vizcaino discovered for Spain, what is known as Carmel Valley in 1602, which he named for his patron saint, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The Spanish did not attempt to colonize the area until 1770, when Gaspar de Portola, along with Father Serra visited the area in search of a mission site.

From the late 18th through the early 19th century, most of the Ohlone population died out from European diseases, as well as overwork and malnutrition at the mission where the Spanish forced them to live.  When Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, Carmel became Mexican territory.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo was founded on June 3 of 1770 in nearby Monterey and was relocated to Carmel by Father Serra due to the interaction between soldiers stationed at the nearby Presidio and the Native Americans.

In December, 1771, the move was completed.  The mission consisted of simple buildings of plastered mud until a more sturdy structure was built of wood from nearby pines and cypress trees to last through the seasonal rains.  This was only a temporary church until a permanent stone edifice was built.

In 1784 Father Serra died and was buried at his request at the Mission in the Sanctuary of the San Carlos next to Father Crespi.  He was buried with full military honors.

The Mission at Carmel, also contains the state's first library.

John Martin, who was a Scottish immigrant, acquired lands surrounding the Carmel mission in 1833, which he named Mission Ranch.  Carmel became part of the United States in 1848, when Mexico ceded California as a result of the Mexican American war.

Carmel-by-the Sea was lso known as "Rancho Las manzanitas" and was purchased by French businessman Honore Escolle in the 1850's.  Escolle owned the first commercial bakery, pottery kiln and brickworks in Central California. His descendants still live throughout the area.  In 1888, Escolle and Santiago Duckworth, a young Catholic developer from Monterey had dreams of establishing a Catholic retreat near the Carmel Mission.  The two filed a subdivision map with the County Recorder of Monterey County.  By 1889, 200 lots had been sold.  Carmel was applied to another place on the north bank of the Carmel River 13 miles easy-southeast of the present day Carmel.  The original post office opened in 1889 and finally closed for good in 1903.  Abbie Jane Hunter, founder of the San Francisco based Women's Real Estate Investment Company, first used Carmel by the Sea on a promotional postcard.

In 1902, james Frank Devendorf and Frank Powers of the Carmel Development Company filed a new subdivision map of the core village that became Carmel.  The post office opened in 1902.  In 1910, the Carnegie Institution established the Coastal Laboratory and a number of scientists moved to the area.

In 1905, the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club was formed to support and produce artistic works.  After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Carmel was deluged by all sorts of artists turning to the established artist colony after the bay city was destroyed.  The new residents were  offered home lots-ten dollars down, little or no interest, and whatever they could pay on a monthly basis.  By 19194, the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club had achieved national recognition.

In 1907, the towns'f first cultural center and theater, the Carmel Arts and Crafts Clubhouse was built.  Poets austin and Sterling performed their "private theatricals" there.  By 1913, the Arts and Crafts Club had begun organizing lessons for aspiring painters, actors and craftsmen.  Some very prominent painters in the United States offered six weeks of instruction for $15.

In 1924, the Arts and Crafts Hall was built on an adjacent site and both the clubhouse and the hall burned down in 1949.  The facilities were rebuilt as a two theater opening in 1952.

Edward Kuster designed and built the Arts and Crafts Hall and the Theater of the Golden Bough and was originally located on Ocean Ave.  Kuster was a musician and lawyer from Los Angeles who relocated to Carmel to establish his own theater and school.

In 1931, the Carmel Sunset School constructed a new auditorium complete with Gothic-inspired architecture with seating for 700.  The facility was bought by the City n 1964.  A $22 million renovation was done in 2003.

In 1949, the first Forest Theater Guild was organized, and under the leadership of Cole Weston, the 60 seat indoor Forest Theater was created.  For most of the 1960's, the outdoor theater lay unused and neglected.  In 1968, Marcia Hovick's Children Experimental Theater leased the indoor theater and continued until 2010.  In 1972, a new Forest Theater Build was incorporated and continues to produce musicals, adding a film series in 1997.

In 1984, Pacific Repertory theater initiated productions on the outdoor Forest Theater stage, reactivating Herbert Heron's Carmel Shakespeare Festival in 1990, which in 1994, expanded to include productions at the Golden Bough Playhouse.


In 1905, poet George Sterline came to Carmel and helped to establish the town's literary base.  He was associated with Mary Austin, as well as Jack London, who also spent considerable time in the Carmel and Monterey area.  In San Francisco, George Sterling was known as the "uncrowned King of Bohemia"  Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, George Sterling and many of his associates followed him to Carmel.  George Sterling is often credited with making Carmel famous.  In 1905, novelist Mary Austin moved to Carmel. Mary Austin is best known for her tribute to the deserts of the American Southwest in "The Land of Little Rain."

In 1914, poet Robinson Jeffers and his wife found their "inevitable place" when they first saw the Carmel-Big Sur Coast south of California's Monterey Peninsula.  Over the next decade on a windswept barren promontory, using granite boulders gathered from the rocky shore of Carmel Bay.  Jeffers built Tor house as a home and refuge for himself and his family.  It was in Tor house that Jeffers wrote all of his major poetical works.  He called his home Tor house due to the craggy knoll, the "for" on which it was built.  Carmel Point, then was a treeless headland, almost devoid of buildings.  Construction began in 1918 and the granite stones were drawn by horses from the little cove below the house.  Construction was completed in mid 1919.

In 1920, Jeffers began his work on Hawk Tower, which was meant as a retreat for his wife and sons.  Jeffers built the tower by himself in less than four years.


In 1906, Arnold Genthe, a San Francisco photographer joined the Carmel arts colony, where he was able to pursue his pioneering work in color photography.  According to the Library of Congress, where over 18,000 of his negatives  and prints are on file.  Genthe "became famous for his impressionistic portrayal of society women, artists, dancers and theater personalities."

Edward Weston, a renowned photographer, moved to Carmel in 1929 and shot the first of many nature photographs at Point Lobos, which is on the south side of Carmel Bay.  In 1936, Weston became the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work in experimental photography.  Weston had traveled extensively with Ansel Adams, who moved to the Carmel Highlands in 1962.

Gray Gables at Lincoln and Seventh was the birth place of the Carmel Art Association, and was founded by artists Josephine Culbertson and Ida Johnson.

The Carmel Bach Festival began in 1935 as a three-day festival of concerts, expanding to 3 weeks until  the 2009 season, which, due to economic concerns was reduced to two weeks.  The Festival is a celebration of music and ideas inspired by the historical and ongoing influence of J.S. Bach in the world.

New buildings must be built around existing trees and new trees are required on lots that are deemed to have an inadequate number of trees.

The one-square-mile village has no street lights or parking meters.  In addition, the businesses, cottages and houses have no street numbers.  The early artists who were the first builders of the homes in the town, named their houses, rather than having numerical addresses.  Due to the lack of numbers, the Postal Service provides no delivery of mail to individual addresses.  Instead residents go to the centrally located post office to receive their mail.