Carmel-by-the-Sea, usually called simply Carmel, is a small town in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated in 1916. Situated on the Monterey Peninsula, the town 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 percent of Carmel's houses were built by citizens who were "devoting their lives to work connected to the aesthetic arts." Early City Councils were dominated by artists, and the town has had several mayors who were poets or actors, including Herbert Heron, founder of the Forest Theater, bohemian writer and actor Perry Newberry, and actor-director Clint Eastwood, who was mayor for one term, from 1986 to 1988.
The town is known for being "dog-friendly", with numerous hotels, restaurants and retail establishments admitting guests with dogs. Carmel is also known for several unusual laws, including a prohibition on wearing high-heel shoes without a permit, enacted to prevent lawsuits arising from tripping accidents caused by irregular pavement.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is permeated by Native American, early Spanish and American history (Blanks, 1965). Most scholars believe that the Esselen-speaking people were the first Native Americans to inhabit the area of Carmel, but the Ohlone people pushed them south into the mountains of Big Sur around the 6th century.
The first Europeans to see this land were Spanish mariners led by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542, who sailed up the California coast without landing. Another sixty years passed before another Spanish explorer and Carmelite Friar Sebastian Vizcaino "discovered" what is now 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 Franciscan Fathers, Junípero Serra and Juan Crespi visited the area in search of a mission site. Portola and Crespi traveled by land while Serra traveled with the Mission supplies aboard ship, arriving 8 days later. The colony of Monterey was established at the same time as the second mission in Alta California and soon became the capital of California until 1849. From the late 18th through the early 19th century most of the Ohlone population died out from European diseases (against which they had no immunity), as well as overwork and malnutrition at the missions where the Spanish forced them to live. When Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821 Carmel became Mexican territory.
The Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo was founded on June 3 of 1770 in the nearby settlement of Monterey, but was relocated to Carmel by Father Junípero Serra due to the interaction between soldiers stationed at the nearby Presidio and the native Indians.
In December of 1771, the transfer was complete as the new stockade of approximately 130x200 became the new Mission Carmel. Simple buildings of plastered mud were the first church and dwellings until a more sturdy structure was built of wood from nearby pine and cypress trees to last through the seasonal rains. This too was only a temporary church until a permanent stone edifice was built.
In 1784, Father Serra, after one last tour of all the California missions, died and was buried at his request at the Mission in the Sanctuary of the San Carlos Church, next to father Crespi who had passed the previous year. He was buried with full military honors.
The Mission at Carmel has significance beyond the history of Father Serra, who is sometimes called the "Father of California". It also contains the state's first library.
A Scottish immigrant, John Martin, 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.
Known as "Rancho Las Manzanitas", the area that was to become Carmel-by-the Sea was purchased by French businessman Honore Escolle in the 1850s. Escolle was well known and prosperous in the City of Monterey, owning the first commercial bakery, pottery kiln, and brickworks in Central California.
In 1888, Escolle and Santiago Duckworth, a young Catholic developer from Monterey with dreams of establishing a Catholic retreat near the Carmel Mission, filed a subdivision map with the County Recorder of Monterey County. By 1889, 200 lots had been sold.
In 1902 James Frank Devendorf and Frank Powers, on behalf of the Carmel Development Company, filed a new subdivision map of the core village that became Carmel. The Carmel post office opened the same year. In 1910, the Carnegie Institution established the Coastal Laboratory, and a number of scientists moved to the area. Carmel incorporated in 1916.
The name "Carmel" was earlier applied to another place on the north bank of the Carmelo River 13 miles (21 km) east-southeast of the present-day Carmel. A post office called Carmel opened in 1889, closed in 1890, re-opened in 1893, moved in 1902, and closed for good in 1903.
In 1905 the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club was formed to support and produce artistic works. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake the village was inundated with musicians, writers, painters other 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.
Jack London describes the artists' colony in his novel, The Valley of the Moon; among the noted artists lived or frequented the village were; Mary Austin, Armin Hansen, George Sterling, Ambrose Bierce, Upton Sinclair, Robinson Jeffers, Sinclair Lewis, Sydney Yard, Ferdinand Burgdorff, William Frederic Ritschel, William Keith, Percy Gray, Arnold Genthe, and Nora May French.
The Arts and Crafts Club held exhibitions, lectures, dances, and produced plays and recitals at numerous locations in Carmel, including the Pine Inn Hotel, the Old Bath House on Ocean Ave, the Forest Theater, and a small building in the downtown area donated by the Carmel Development Company.
In 1911, the town's rich Shakespearean tradition began with a production of Twelfth Night, directed by Garnet Holme of UC Berkeley and featuring future mayors Perry Newberry and Herbert Heron, with settings designed by artist DeNeale Morgan. Twelfth Night was again presented in 1940 at Heron's inaugural Carmel Shakespeare Festival, and was repeated in 1942 and 1956.
By 1914, the club had achieved national recognition, with an article in The Mercury Herald commenting "...a fever of activity seems to have seized the community and each newcomer is immediately inoculated and begins with great enthusiasm to do something... with plays, studios and studies...".
In 1907 the town's first cultural center and theatre, 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 & craftsmen. Some of the most prominent painters in the United States, such as William Merritt Chase, Xavier Martinez, Mary DeNeale Morgan and C. Chapel Judson offered six weeks of instruction for $15.
In 1924, the Arts and Crafts Hall was built on an adjacent site. This new facility was renamed numerous times including the Abalone Theatre, the Filmarte, the Carmel Playhouse and, finally, the Studio Theatre of the Golden Bough. The original clubhouse, along with the adjoining theatre, burned down in 1949.
The facilities were rebuilt as a two-theatre complex, opening in 1952 as the Golden Bough Playhouse. A photo of the fire from 1949 was still on file 60 years later at the rebuilt theatre illustrating the loss to the cities culture and history.
The dramas enacted by the Arts & Crafts Club attracted considerable attention, with an article in The Clubwoman noting;
In 1910, the Forest Theater, the first outdoor theater west of the Rockies, was built, with poet Mary Austin and actor/director Herbert Heron leading the endeavor. Numerous groups including the Forest Theater Society (1910) and the Western Drama Society (1911) presented plays and pageants. Original works and the plays of Shakespeare were the primary focus. The property was deeded to the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea in order to qualify for federal funding and, in 1939, the site became a Works Progress Administration (WPA) reconstruction project. After several years, the site re-opened as The Carmel Shakespeare Festival, with Herbert Heron as its director and, with the exception of the World War II years of 1943–44, the festival continued through the 1940s.
Theatrical activities in the town grew to such a proportion that between 1922 and 1924, two competing indoor theatres were built - the Arts & Crafts Hall and the Theatre of the Golden Bough, designed and built by Edward G. Kuster and originally located on Ocean Avenue. Kuster was a musician and lawyer from Los Angeles who relocated to Carmel to establish his own theatre and school.
In 1935, after a production of By Candlelight, the Golden Bough was destroyed by fire. Kuster, who had previously bought out the Arts and Crafts Theatre, moved his operation to the older facility and renamed it the Golden Bough Playhouse. In 1949, after remounting By Candlelight, the playhouse burned to the ground. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1952.
In 1931, the Carmel Sunset School constructed a new auditorium, complete with Gothic-inspired architecture, with seating for 700. Often doubling as a performing arts venue for the community, the facility was bought by the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1964, renaming the venue the Sunset Theatre. In 2003, following a $22 million renovation, the building re-opened with the 66th annual Carmel Bach Festival, hosting such renowned artists as Lyle Lovett, k.d.lang, Wynston Marsalis, and the Vienna Boys Choir.
In 1949 the Forest Theater Guild was incorporated, and under the leadership of Cole Weston, the 60-seat indoor Forest Theater was created. For most of the 1960s, the outdoor theater lay unused and neglected. In 1968, Marcia Hovick's Children's Experimental Theater leased the indoor theater and continues today. In 1972, the Forest Theater Guild was reactivated and continues to produce musicals, adding a film series in 1997.
In 1984, Pacific Repertory Theatre initiated productions on the outdoor Forest Theater stage, reactivating Herbert Heron's Carmel Shake-speare Festival in 1990 which, in 1994, expanded to include productions at the Golden Bough Playhouse. Pacific Repertory Theatre (PacRep), a regional theatre company, is the only professional (Equity) company in Carmel and the Monterey Peninsula. One of the eight major arts institutions in Monterey County, it was founded in 1982 by Carmel resident Stephen Moorer as the GroveMont Theatre. Its name changed to Pacific Repertory Theatre in 1994 when the company acquired the Golden Bough Playhouse, a two-theatre complex housing both the Golden Bough and the Circle Theatres. PacRep presents a year-round season of 10-12 plays and musicals in three Carmel theatres: The 330-seat Golden Bough Theatre, the 120-seat Circle Theatre and the 540-seat outdoor Forest Theater. Annual outreach programs include PacRep's School of Dramatic Arts (SoDA) and the Tix4Kids program that distributes subsidized theatre tickets to underserved youth.
In 1905, poet George Sterling 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, Sterling was known as the "uncrowned King of Bohemia" and, following the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 many of his literary associates followed him in his move. He is often credited with making Carmel world famous. His aunt Missus Havens purchased a home for him in Carmel Pines where he lived for six years.
Sterling wrote to his long-time literary mentor, Ambrose Bierce;
"Well, you can see why I must raise vegetables. Belgian hares, hens and the fruit of their wombs, squabs and goldfish, 'keep a bee,' raid mussel reefs, and cultivate a taste for rice - not to mention cold water and 'just one girl.' I'm determined to get into black and white unnumbered multitudes of lines that romp up and down in my innards, eight a-breast."
Sterling's visitors included poet Joaquin Miller, writer Charles W. Stoddard and photographer Arnold Genthe, known for his documentary shots of the San Francisco fire that followed the great earthquake, after which Genthe followed Sterling to Carmel to make his residence.
In 1906 novelist Mary Austin moved to Carmel. She is best known for her tribute to the deserts of the American Southwest, The Land of Little Rain. Her play, Fire, which she also directed, had its world premiere at the Forest Theater in 1913. Austin is often credited as suggesting the idea for the outdoor stage.
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: the long narratives of "this coast crying out for tragedy," the shorter meditative lyrics and dramas on classical themes, culminating in 1947 with the critically acclaimed adaptation of Medea for the Broadway stage, which featured Dame Judith Anderson in the title role. He called his home Tor House, naming it for the craggy knoll, the "tor" on which it was built. Carmel Point, then, was a treeless headland, almost devoid of buildings. Construction began in 1918. The granite stones were drawn by horses from the little cove below the house. Jeffers apprenticed himself to the building contractor, thus learning the art of making "stone love stone." Construction was completed in mid-1919.
In 1920, the poet-builder began his work on Hawk Tower. Meant as a retreat for his wife and sons, it was completed in less than four years. Jeffers built the tower entirely by himself. He used wooden planks and a block and tackle system to move the stones and to set them in place. Many influential literary and cultural celebrities were guests of the Jeffers family. Among them were Sinclair Lewis, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Langston Hughes, Charles Lindbergh, George Gershwin and Charlie Chaplin. Later visitors have included William Everson, Robert Bly, Czesław Miłosz and Edward Abbey.
In 1906, San Francisco photographer Arnold Genthe joined the Carmel arts colony, where he was able to pursue his pioneering work in color photography. His first attempts were taken in his garden, primarily portraits of his friends, including the leading Shakespearean actor and actress of the period, Edward Sothern and Julia Marlowe, who were costumed as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Of his new residence, he wrote, ""My first trials with this medium were made at Carmel where the cypresses and rocks of Point Lobos, the always varying sunsets and the intriguing shadows of the sand dunes offered a rich field for color experiments."" According to the Library of Congress, where over 18,000 of his negatives and prints are on file, Genthe "became famous for his impressionistic portrayals of society women, artists, dancers, and theater personalities."
Renowned photographer Edward Weston moved to Carmel in 1929 and shot the first of numerous nature photographs, many set at Point Lobos, 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. In 1948, after the onset of Parkinsons disease, he took his last photograph, an image of Point Lobos.
Weston had traveled extensively with legendary photographer Ansel Adams, who moved to Carmel in 1962, several years after receiving his 3rd Gugggenheim award. In 1966 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The following year he founded the Friends of Photography, which became the world's largest non-profit creative photography membership organization. Over the next 18 years, in the studio he built in the basement of his Carmel Highlands home, he printed and published a majority of his life's work. In 1982, an eightieth birthday celebration is presented where Adams received the Decoration of Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters, the French government's highest cultural award given to a foreigner. Exhibitions, parties and receptions are held including a performance by pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy in Adams' Carmel Highlands home. Adams died on April 22, 1984, of heart failure aggravated by cancer, an event that was reported on front pages worldwide.
Gray Gables, at Lincoln and Seventh was the birthplace of the Carmel Art Association, founded by artists Josephine Culbertson and Ida Johnson. This small group supported art, primarily through the auspices of the Carmel Arts & Crafts Club, until 1927, when a meeting took place, and the group committed to building an exhibition gallery to display their works. Their first show with 41 artists took place in October of the same year in the Seven Arts building of Herbert Heron. The permanent gallery was completed in 1933 at its present location on Dolores Street. In the early 1930s the tiny group claimed four members who had attained the status of membership in the National Academy of Design.
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 2 weeks. Festival concerts feature historical performance practices to facilitate a rediscovery of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Baroque music. The 16 days of performances include concerts, recitals, master classes, lectures, symposia and other programs in various venues throughout the town of Carmel, including the Sunset Cultural Center and the Carmel Mission. In recent years, the Festival was under the management of Jesse Read, who started as a performer with Carmel Bach in 1980. As of 2009, the non-profit company is being guided by newly appointed executive director Camille Kolles. Since 1992, artistic leadership has been provided by Bruno Weil, Festival Music Director And Conductor.
The Monterey Symphony provides triple performances of a seven concert series as well as an extensive education program and special performances. It was founded in December 1946 in the Carmel home of its first president Grace Howden. It is currently led by Spanish conductor Max Bragado Darman who joined the orchestra in 2004. The music directors of the Monterey Symphony are Lorell McCann (1947-1953) and Clifford Anderson (1947-1954), Gregory Millar (1954-1959), Earl Bernard Murray (1959-1960), Ronald Ondrejka (1960-1961), John Gosling (1961-1967), Jan De Jong (1967-1968), Haymo Taeuber (1968-1985), Clark Suttle (1985-1998), Kate Tamarkin (1998-2004), and Max Bragado Darman (2004 to present).
As of the census of 2000, there are 4,081 people, 2,285 households, and 1,108 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,753.3 people per square mile (1,445.6/km²). There are 3,334 housing units at an average density of 3,066.3/sq mi (1,181.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 94.58% White, 0.44% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 2.25% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 0.91% from other races, and 1.35% from two or more races. 2.94% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 2,285 households out of which 11.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.4% are married couples living together, 5.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 51.5% are non-families. 44.1% of households are made up of individuals and 20.1% a single person who is 65 years of age or older. Average household size is 1.79 and the average family size is 2.39.
The age distribution is as follows: 9.9% under the age of 18, 2.9% from 18 to 24, 18.3% from 25 to 44, 38.1% from 45 to 64, and 30.8% who are 65 years of age or older, with a median age of 54 years. For every 100 females there are 77.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 75.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $58,163, and the median income for a family is $81,259. Males have a median income of $52,344 versus $41,150 for females. The per capita income for the city is $48,739. 6.6% of the population and 3.6% of families are below the poverty line. Of the total population, 5.6% of those under age of 18 and 4.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
A survey done at the behest of the city in 2008 revealed that only 37% of the residences within the city limits had full time occupancies. The balance are vacation homes.
The town has historically pursued a vigorous strategy of planned development to enhance its natural coastal beauty and to retain its character, which the city's general plan describes as "a village in a forest overlooking a white sand beach". Carmel was incorporated in the year 1916 and as early as 1925 the town adopted a clear vision of its future as "primarily, essentially and predominantly a residential community" (Carmel City Council, 1929). The city regularly hosts delegations from cities and towns around the world seeking to understand how Carmel retains its authenticity in today's increasingly homogeneous world.
New buildings must be built around existing trees and new trees are required on lots that are deemed to have an inadequate number.
The one-square-mile village has no street lights or parking meters.. In addition, the businesses, cottages and houses have no street numbers. (Originally, the early artists who were the first builders of the homes in the town, named their houses, rather than having numerical addresses.) Due to this situation, the Postal Service provides no delivery of mail to individual addresses. Instead, residents go to the centrally located post office to receive their mail. Overnight delivery services do deliver to what are called geographical addresses, such as "NE Ocean and Lincoln" (Harrison Memorial Library) or "Monte Verde 4SW of 8th" (Golden Bough Playhouse). The format used for geographical addressing lists the street, cross street, and the number of houses from the intersection. For example, in the case of "Monte Verde 4SW of 8th", the address translates to a building on the West side Monte Verde Street four properties south of the 8th Ave intersection.
Planning has consistently recognized the importance of preserving the character of these major sociocultural and public facilities: Sunset Community and Cultural Center, Golden Bough Playhouse, Forest Theater, Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, Tor House and Hawk Tower, Harrison Memorial Library, and City Hall.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is situated in a moderate seismic risk zone, the principal threats being the San Andreas Fault, which is approximately thirty miles northeast, and the Palo Colorado Fault which traces offshore through the Pacific Ocean several miles away. More minor potentially active faults nearby are the Church Creek Fault and the San Francisquito Fault (Spangle, 1975).
Carmel is served by the Carmel Unified School District .
Carmel–by-the-Sea is an exceptionally dog-friendly city. Most hotels allow dogs to stay with guests. Almost all restaurants that offer outside dining allow dogs in those areas, with most of them also offering water. A few have special "doggie menus." Many retailers allow dogs to accompany their owners in their stores and many have treats available. Water bowls and dog biscuits can also be found in front of many stores. Dogs are not permitted, however in Devendorf Park (on Ocean Ave. between Junipero and Mission Streets). Dogs must be leashed, except on Carmel City Beach, where they are allowed unleashed if they are under voice command from their owners. The police department takes animal welfare seriously and officers will open cars that contain pets without adequate ventilation or water and will remove the pets and cite the owner.
Though often erroneously thought of as an urban myth, the municipal code bans the wearing of shoes having heels greater than 2 inches in height or with a base of less than 1 square inch unless the wearer has obtained a permit for them. This seemingly peculiar law was authored by the city attorney in the 1920s to defend the city from lawsuits resulting from wearers of high-heeled shoes tripping over irregular pavement (caused by tree roots pushing up). Permits are available without charge at City Hall. While the local police do not cite those in violation of the ordinance, a person wishing to sue for damages from tripping while wearing such shoes is precluded from doing so unless a permit had previously been obtained.
Another unusual law, forbidding selling and eating ice cream on public streets, was a focal point of Clint Eastwood's campaign for mayor. He, and the new council elected along with him, overturned the ordinance and other similar laws that they considered to be too restrictive of businesses.
The Carmel Pine Cone is the town's weekly newspaper and has been published since 1915, covering local news, politics, arts, entertainment, opinions and real estate. The newspaper also has a section called The Police Log that contains almost every report of a crime in the Carmel area, often read with a quaint twist of humor by readers since the contents of the log are fairly innocuous. Veteran CBS and NBC network news producer Paul Miller became publisher in 1997. In 2005, after failing to convince city officials to rezone a potential site for the Pine Cone's operation, he moved the paper's production offices to Pacific Grove, while maintaining a reduced news staff in downtown Carmel. In 2007, the paper began offering an Adobe Acrobat (*.PDF) version of its complete newspaper on the internet.
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