Before Carmel-by-the-Sea there was Carmel City, the small town shown below in four quadrants superimposed over a current map of Carmel. This town fought for existence from 1888 to 1892. Here is the background story.
In 1852, eighteen year old Honoré Escolle originally from Salernes, France settled in Monterey. He established a bakery and mercantile shop at the south end of Alvarado Street, next to the Cooper-Molera Adobe. Later he opened a pottery kiln at his residence, the Stokes Adobe House (today home of Restaurant 1833).
To support his business enterprises, Escolle bought numerous acres of land throughout Monterey, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties.
One of his tracks in Monterey County, known as Rancho Las Manzanitas, was located just east of Carmel Beach. Land that today is bordered by Monte Verde to the West, Twelfth Avenue to the South, Carpenter and Lobos to the East, and First Avenue to the North. This land in the 1800's, as its name implies, was heavily impacted by mazanita, a ground hugging coastal plant. At the time, the land was considered to be of little use to Escolle.
Father Angelo Delfino Casanova
By this time, other than a few squatters, Carmel Mission had been almost completely abandoned. The roof partially collapsed, and many of the tiles and roof beams stolen for use in other structures nearby.
Robert Louis Stevenson who attended San Carlos Day Mass at the Mission in November 4, 1879 wrote: "The church is roofless and ruinous, sea-breezes and sea-fogs and the alteration of the rain and sunshine, daily widening the breaches...Only one day in the year,...the "padre" drives over the hill from Monterey; the little sacristy, which is the only covered portion of the church, is filled with seats and decorated for the service; the Indians troop together,...you may hear God served with perhaps more touching circumstances than in any other temple under heaven. An Indian, stone-blind and about eighty years of age, conducts the singing; other Indians compose the choir...I have never seen faces more vividly lit up with joy than the faces of these Indian singers..." (1)
Fr. Casanova was that "padre" that Stevenson referred to. Once a year on the feast day of San Carlos Borromeo (San Carlos Day, November 4) Fr. Casanova would make his way over the hill from Monterey to say mass at the mission. By the time Stevenson attended mass in 1879, the sacristy had been re-roofed.
In August of 1877 for a cost of $44, Fr. Casanova re-roofed the sacristy in order to hold mass on San Carlos Day without the threat of rain.
But this wasn't enough, Fr. Casanova was determined to raise money to repair the entire mission in time to honor the centennial of Fr. Junipero Serra who died at the mission on August 28, 1784.
In 1880 Fr. Casanova began to charge tourists who visited the mission ruins, ten cents. By the end of the first year, he had collected a little over $11.00.
On July 3, 1882, in view of a crowd of 400, the graves of Fathers Serra, Lasuen, and Crespi were opened and the hallowed remains verified. This incident focused attention of Fr Casanova's desire to restore the mission. With help from Mrs. Leland Stanford, $4,000 was raised by 1883 for the restoration.
On August 28, 1884, the centennial of Serra's death, 2,000 people attended the Carmel Mission's re-dedication by Fr. Casanova.
"The mission began to attract a steady stream of wealthy tourists from the huge lavish Hotel Del Monte...Leading Catholics in northern California, aroused by the re-discovery of the tombs of the pioneer missionaries, the restoration of the mission, the beauty of its setting and the success of the flourishing Methodist camp ground at Pacific Grove, now began to bestir themselves. The Young Men's Institute, new, ambitious and growing, led the movement to build a summer colony of their own near the old mission." (2)
Santiago Duckworth was born in Monterey June 2, 1865. His mother was the daughter of Jose Figueroa, Governor of Alta California from 1833 - 1835. His father, Lorenzo Santiago Duckworth Vate, was the son of an English sailor who deserted in 1822 and became a Mexican citizen in 1825. Lorenzo's mother was Antonia Armenta whose father held the land grant to Point Pinos.
Sadly in 1871, Santiago's father died. Santiago and his two older brothers were sent to the Watsonville Orphan Asylum run by Franciscan Fathers.
In January 1883, at 17 years of age, Santiago took a job for the Western Union Telegraph Company in San Luis Obispo, then moved to Nogales in 1884 to work for the Mexico Railway Company and the Federal Telegraph Service in Sonora where he obtained the title of chief operator. In 1886, at the age of 21, he returned to Monterey.
Reuniting with his older brother, Belesario Edward (B.E.) in 1887, Santiago established an insurance and real estate business Duckworth Bro's. on Alvarado Street in Monterey.
The Pacific Improvement Company was a large holding company in California, initially formed by C. P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker. This company played a significant role in the development of land and railroads in various parts of the United States, particularly California.
The purpose of the Monterey Extension Railway Company was to continue the rail line from Monterey to the mouth of the Carmel River.
Santiago saw the railway extension to Carmel as the opportunity of a lifetime. He "conceived the idea of developing a Roman Catholic community near the [newly renovated] Carmel Mission to rival the Methodist colony at Pacific Grove." (3)
Escolle had little use for the property so on February 18, 1888, he signed an indenture which bonded 324.36 of the Manzanitas acres to Santiago and Bellsario Duckworth.
This was a multi-page document with a number of stipulations a few of which follow:
- Land was to be divided into four tracts.
- No lot was to exceed 50 x 125 feet.
- No lot to be sold for less than $10.
- All money received from the sale of lots to be paid to Escolle.
- No part of Tract 2 to be sold until Escolle received the sum of $5,250 from the sales of lots in Tract 1 less 5% on each sale to be paid to Duckworth Bros as commission. The same stipulation held for Tract 3 and 4. (4)
In March of 1888, Duckworth commissioned W. C. Little of Monterey to survey the Escolle property and draw up a map of the townsite of Carmel City with 135 blocks divided into four tracks. On May 1, 1888, Little's map was filed with the county recorder in Salinas.
The following year, Chinese workers began grading the area around the end of the rail line in Monterey. Believing this to be a sign that construction for a railway line from Monterey to Carmel was imminent, Santiago placed an advertisement in the newspaper for the sale of Carmel City lots in April 1889.
"A rare opportunity is now offered for a judicious investment. The property is divided into four sections, numbered respectively 1,2,3,4. Section 1 will be sold first and prices in the remaining sections will be advanced 50 to 100 percent."
On July 1, 1889 Santiago Duckworth sold the first seven lots in Carmel City. By December of that year he had sold 207 lots and had reserved five lots on the north side of Broadway (now Junipero) between 6th and Ocean for Carmel City's first hotel.
Over half of the buyers of these first lots were teachers and school administrators from San Francisco County. But the most significant of these new residents was Ms. Abbie Jane Hunter.
By the end of 1889, the railroad was extended from Monterey to Asilimar. Then the crew building the railway left town. Santiago had heard that they would return within two years to continue to the line to Pebble Beach and on to Carmel.
Catholic Summer Resort
Around 1890 Santiago produced a promotional brochure touting Carmel City as a "Catholic Summer Resort." "Beautiful sites for Summer Homes adjoining the Carmel Mission at nominal cost apply to S. J. Duckworth for property in the only Catholic Summer Resort on the Pacific Coast at prices ranging from $20 to $25 a lot." (5)
The brochure contained a view of Carmel City from what is today Lower Trail. Santiago Duckworth in his buggy is seen in the foreground.
As evidence that improvements of substantial value had been made in Carmel City the brochure contained a picture of the Hotel Carmelo which was built on the five lots set aside earlier by Duckworth on Broadway between Ocean and Sixth.
"The two-story "model family" hotel boasted eight light airy bedrooms, a dining room seating 50 guests and first floor parlors. "Parties desirous of visiting Carmel City for any length of time," the brochure stated proudly, "need not hamper themselves with camping outfits, as the Carmelo will cater to their wants." (6)
Furthermore as a step up from the Methodist Community in Pacific Grove, the brochure continued, "The use of tents has been discountenanced from the opening day to the present time, and the erection of first-class buildings has been encouraged. A tone of stability has thus been given the place from its very inception..." (7)
In August of 1890, desiring to further his Catholic Resort idea, Duckworth attended the Catholic Ladies Aid Society's Annual meeting in Santa Cruz. Here he presented the society with five blocks of land in the northeast quadrant of parcel 1 above Carpenter Street between Ocean and Third. He called the area Paradise Park and planned to build a permanent meeting place for Catholic societies. Duckworth also promised that prominent Catholics would donate $10,000 to build a Catholic seminary in the park.
The Catholic Ladies Aid Society came to Carmel City and liked what they saw.
Abbie Jane Hunter
In 1890, Santiago Duckworth decided to enter politics and by April he accepted the appointment as deputy city clerk of Monterey. But in July he made an unsuccessful run for the Republican Party's nomination to the state assembly from Monterey County.
Undaunted Santiago Duckworth continued to sell lots in Carmel City and along with his brother B. E., he added Abbie Jane Hunter a San Francisco teacher turned businesswomen to his list of sales agents for lots in Carmel City.
By 1891, Duckworth fully expected the railroad crews to be back at work in Asilimar extending the railroad on to Pebble Beach and Carmel. With this in mind he pushed forward on a number of improvements to Carmel City.
In May, contractor F. W. Krogh was hired to install a water system that would allow water to visitors of Hotel Carmelo. The same year Duckworth renamed Broadway, Junipero Avenue, and extend the avenue to Carmel Mission.
In July, Duckworth commenced work on all east to west streets that lead to Carmel Beach. At the time the beach was owned by San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works which had mined the sand since 1870.
By New Years 1892, Abbie Jane Hunter had convinced a group of women from San Francisco County to invest in her new business venture, Women's Real Estate Investment Co. Under this organization, Ms. Hunter would sell lots in Carmel City from her office at the Academy of Sciences Building, 819 Market Street in San Francisco.
Ms. Hunter introduced her uncle Delos E. Goldsmith to Carmel City and even convinced him to take up residency there in 1892.
Goldsmith a San Francisco builder would become Carmel's first master builder. He began building in Carmel City before he moved there himself. One of his first structures would be the Carmel Bathhouse built in 1889.
After Goldsmith moved to Carmel City he continued to build, this time homes for new town residents.
Two of these still sit across the street from each other on the northwest and northeast corner of Guadalupe and Fourth.
These two Queen Anne style homes designed by Douglas Knox Fraiser c.1888 were built by Delos Goldsmith in 1894.
The house on the left in the picture above was built for Ms. Hunter's friend Ms. Augusta Robertson, who was the Vice-Principal of the Pacific Heights School and a stockholder and director of the Women's Real Estate Investment Co. This house has undergone major changes over the years. In 1942 the second floor was removed and the roof flattened. Today this is the home of the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts.
The house across the street on Guadalupe from Ms. Robertson's was built for Ms. Hunter and today is a private residence. If you remove the upper dormers the house is very much the same as it was originally built in 1894.
1892, the beginning of Carmel City's fifth year, Abbie Jane Hunter sent out a mass mailing postcard promoting Carmel City as Carmel-by-the-Sea an ideal summer resort. From that time on references to Carmel City or a Catholic Resort were gone.
"Carmel-by-the-Sea an ideal summer resort! Just the place for summer homes and camping parties. Balmy Climate - Grand Bathing Beach - Excellent Trout Fishing. Pure mountain water supplied by the Pacific Improvement Co. Carriages meet all trains at Monterey. Building lots 40 x 100 can be purchased at slight cost and on very easy terms by applying to The Women's Real Estate Investment Co., Rooms 53-54, Academy of Sciences Building, San Francisco." (8)
That same year Ms. Hunter sent William T. Dummage to Carmel-by-the-Sea as her resident agent. And Santiago Duckworth's political career finally began to take off. In November he was elected as a Republican to the State Assembly. But this would be the end of Duckworth's involvement with Carmel City as he realized that he must now spend most of his time in Sacramento.
On November 17th 1892, Santiago Duckworth signed over all the unsold lots of Tracts 2, 3, and 4 to Honoré Escolle.
This however proved providential for Duckworth. The following year the United States entered a five year depression. Though Dummage and Goldsmith, both agents of Ms. Hunter, managed to sell 300 more lots in Carmel-by-the-Sea by 1895 things would quickly take a turn for the worse.
On February 14, 1895 Ms. Hunter was arrested in San Francisco and charged with fraud by one of her clients. She was released on $3000 bail, and the court dismissed the charges, but not before the bank foreclosed on her house on the northeast corner of Guadalupe and Fourth.
On April 18, 1895, Dr. Walton Saunders purchased 374 lots in Carmel's Tract 2 and 339 lots in Tract 3 from Escolle. The Monterey Extension Railway Company never built any further than Asilimar, and the funds promised by the Young Men's Institute and prominent Catholics never materialized for the meeting hall and seminary in Paradise Park.
By 1900, Ms. Hunter's Women's Real Estate Investment Co., and the Carmel City, Carmel-by-the-Sea enterprise was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Next - Carmel-by-the-Sea the Devendorf and Powers Connection.
(1) Robert Louis Stevenson, The Travels and Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1895), pp. 167-68.
(2) Noticias del Puerto de Monterey, A Quarterly Bulletin of Historic Monterey Issued by the Monterey History and Art Association, Vol XI, Number 2, June 1967, p. 10.
(3) Lagorio, Elena and Elmer, "Carmel's First Developers Counted On Railroad to Bringing them Riches," The Herald Weekend Magazine, July 27, 1980, p. 11.
(5) Cook, Wilma. Pine Cone, Friday April 16, 1946, p. 10.
(6) Ibid, Lagorio.
(7) Scrivani, Brother Lawrence. Santiago Duckworth and the Catholic Resort of Carmel City. Transcript of Brother Lawrence Scrivani from lecture presented by Harrison Memorial Library April 26, 2004. Transcript Courtesy of Harrison Memorial Library Local History Branch.
(8) Ibid, Lagorio.
Scrivani, Brother Lawrence, Santiago Duckworth and the Catholic Resort of Carmel City. Picture of subdivision map of Carmel City superimposed on current Carmel-by-the-Sea map. Transcript of Brother Lawrence Scrivani from lecture presented by Harrison Memorial Library April 26, 2004. Transcript Courtesy of Harrison Memorial Library Local History Branch.
Picture of Carmel Mission July 3, 1882 showing extent of roof and structural damage. Morgado, Martin J., Junipero Serra's Legacy (Mount Carmel, Pacific Grove, 1987), p. 118.
Picture Carmel Mission interior, c. 1870. Cross on left marks approximate site of Serra's grave. Ibid, p. 114.
Picture Carmel Mission interior, July 3, 1882. Public viewing of Serra's grave, showing Father Casanova standing to the right of the opening. Ibid, p. 119.
Picture of restored Carmel Mission as the people arrived for the re-dedication on August 28, 1884. Ibid, p. 120.
Picture of Santiago Duckworth - The Herald Weekend Magazine, August 3, 1980.
1891 drawing of Duckworth Bro's Real Estate and Insurance building on Alvarado Street, Monterey - Courtesy of Harrison Memorial Library Local History Branch.
Survey map of Carmel City filed May 1, 1888. Ibid.
Advertisement by Santiago Duckworth for Carmel City Catholic Summer Resort c. 1889. Ibid.
Advertisement for Carmel City Catholic Summer Resort c. 1890. Ibid.
Picture of Santiago Duckworth in a buggy on what is today Lower Trail overlooking Carmel City. Taken 1890 by C. W. J. Johnson for a Carmel City promotional brochure. Ibid.
Picture of Hotel Carmelo photographed by Johnson for Duckworth's promotional brochure. Lagorio, Elena and Elmer, The Herald Weekend Magazine, July 27, 1980. Courtesy of Harrison Memorial Library Local History Branch.
Picture of Abbie Jane Hunter - Courtesy of Harrison Memorial Library Local History Branch.
Color photographs of Carl Cherry and former home of Abbie Jane Hunter by L. A. Momboisse.