Sunday, July 26, 2015

Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour 2015 - Part 3 - Frank Lloyd Wright House, The Ship House and Golf House

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Walker House
by Frank Lloyd Wright
26336 Scenic Road 


In 1918, Mr. and Mrs. Willis J. Walker, San Francisco socialites, purchased 216 acres of land for $150,000 from John Martin (Mission Ranch).  The Walkers subdivided the land and sold many of the lots. (1)
                          

The ocean front acreage from the Walkers subdivision, was deeded to Mrs. Walker's sister, Della Walker.  


Della asked noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design a house that was low to the ground so that her neighbors' views would not be interrupted.  


Wright did exactly what was asked of him, designing a home that appeared to be like an ocean liner, the prow of which would perpetually face the tireless sea off Carmel Point. 


For almost five years octogenarian Frank Lloyd Wright worked on Della Walker's house.  Miles Bain was hired to carry out the construction.  


"In the design, Wright wholly departed from the conventional four-cornered concept of rooms.  There isn't a square corner in the house.  


The culmination of this dynamic approach is in the hexagonal living room...the stepped-out windows, leading up to the wide roof overhang...the home's construction is of Carmel stone, supplemented by cedar plywood on interior walls and ceilings.  This wood came from the mills of Mrs. Walker's son in Susanville...Heating is by radiant floor units...built-in furniture includes...a couch along the living room view windows...Mrs. Walker added only a few pieces...such as the Japanese fish net balls." (2) 

Photography is not allowed on the inside of this home.  The current owner allowed me to take the picture above and below.  The picture above is the same setting for the picture below of Mrs. Della Walker. 


Here are a few more highlights from the grounds around the Walker House. 


The Ship House 
3 NE of Sixth Avenue on Guadalupe 


Allen Knight was born in San Francisco on May 7, 1901.  He spent his childhood summers at the home of his two aunts on Monte Verde and Seventh.  At the age of 17 Allen went to live with his aunts full time, but life in Carmel was too tame for Allen so he joined the crew of the “Falls of Clyde” and sailed around the Horn.

He continued this vagabond lifestyle traveling for years through the Orient and Europe.  While in Prague, Allen fell in love with old European architecture and convinced a hotel owner to give him copies of the blueprints of his hotel. 

In 1929, Allen was back in Carmel.  He had his aunts' house moved by truck up Ocean Avenue to Guadalupe and Sixth.  The adventure Allen had during the moving of this house is a whole other story

Allen hired San Francisco architect Albert Farr to use the blueprints he had obtained in Prague and build what would become the Sundial Court Apartments on the property at Monte Verde and Seventh.  Michael J. Murphy would do the construction.  Today this is the home of L’ Auberge Carmel.

Allen Knight at the wheel in the wheelhouse 

In 1933, Allen married Adele Hawes, he and their three children lived in the house on Guadalupe and Sixth. He would also serve as Mayor of Carmel from 1950 to 1952. 
Inside the Ship House in 1947 

During his lifetime, Allen collected numerous nautical memorabilia.  But his home was not large enough to store the collection. In 1936 he began construction on a stone building just north of his home on Guadalupe. 


“The building was completed in 1939. On the outside, it resembled a “stone lighthouse” in the words of Winsor Josselyn who wrote it up in the February 24, 1939 issue of the Monterey Peninsula Herald.  Allen told Josselyn during an interview for the newspaper article:  “Some people call this my hobby…and some call it my ‘marine mania.’  Call it what you want to, but I love ships and I’m getting a big kick out of doing it.” (3) 


The outside walls of The Ship feature water washed granite boulders surrounding portholes.  Most of the portholes are salvaged from the Aurora, a four-masted ship built in 1901 in Everett, Washington and moored in Monterey Bay in 1932.  On January 18, 1935 the Aurora was caught in a storm, she ran aground on Del Monte Beach and the relentless pounding waves finished her off.  

The current owners of The Ship came across a replica of the Aurora in an antique shop in Pacific Grove.  The replica now sits proudly on a shelf in their home.


The only entrance into The Ship is though a salvaged watertight bulkhead door.  

The interior which resembles the hold (first floor) and wheel house (second floor) of a ship was made from the parts of 57 dismantled ships. 

Planks and knees from the Aurora tie
 together the walls and support the ceiling. 


The knee directly over the porthole near the top of the bed in the picture below came from the Natalie.  The Natalie is thought to have been the ship that was used by Napoleon Bonaparte during his escape from Elba in 1815.  In the 1930's the Natalie, at the time being used by coastal smugglers, met its end on Monterey Beach.   


The 550 square foot ground floor of The Ship has everything the current owners need to be comfortable: living area, bedroom, 

kitchen (with high efficiency dishwasher
and washing machine), dining area 
 

bathroom (behind the door below)


library, and office. 

Upstairs

 the "wheelhouse"
surrounded by windows 

 acts as a guest room, game room
or sunset cocktail lounge.  


 The Golf House 
SE Corner San Antonio and Fourteenth 

Philip and Laura Wilson married in 1890.  In 1905 they moved to California with their three young children, Grace (who later married James H. Thoburn mayor of Carmel from 1934 - 1936), Philip Jr., and James.  That same year Philip Wilson Sr. constructed the Wilson Building on the NW Corner of Ocean and Dolores.  This anchor of the Camel commercial district served as the first City Hall in 1916. 

In 1912 Philip Wilson Sr. purchased a small writers studio, and the property around it, at Fourteenth and San Antonio from writer John Fleming Wilson. 





Philip Wilson Sr. built a nine hole golf course on Point Loeb (now called Carmel Point). This, the only golf course ever built in Carmel, was operated by Wilson from the Club House (John Fleming Wilson's old writers studio) from 1913 - 1918. The picture below dated 1914 (courtesy of Harrison Memorial History Library) shows Wilson with his daughter Grace and son James. 



The picture below, courtesy of the current owners of Golf House was passed on to them when they purchased the historical club house.  This picture shows Philip Sr. and Philip Jr. in front of the club house. 



At the onset of World War I, Philip Wilson Sr. was called to service and Carmel's first golf course was abandoned.  The land was later sold and subdivided. In 1990 a one bedroom house was built on the property integrating the old Club House into the home as a living room. 



  
The current owners (also owners of Carmel Cottage Inn) have restored the Club House now known as Golf House. 



Contractors Bell McBride carefully  separated Golf House from its former residence and moved it to the southeast side of the lot. 

Meticulously removing each brick along with some of the dirt and carefully restoring the fireplace in its new location. 



 The Golf House now stands as a separate guest house - the interior still features the original built in wooden lockers. 



Bell McBride built the new main house
pictured to the left below,



to complement the style of The Golf House.



Inside the main house are three charming bedrooms -
each bed covered with a different early American style quilt. 


Bedrooms also feature french doors,
 space saving built-in furniture 


and window seats. 




In the great room, 



 the living and dining room/kitchen 


are separated by a built-in hutch.  

 The kitchen is a classic utilizing the current owners signature style with a Signal Red Big Chill Retro style stove and  

dishwasher 

That is the review of the eight homes on the Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour for 2015. 

Many thanks to all the volunteers who gave their time and the home owners who graciously opened their homes for viewing.  And thank you to Carmel Heritage Society for making this happen year after year. 

Part 1 First Murphy, Belle House
Part 2 Stonehaven, Pope House Banyon Hideaway

Google map of location of houses may be viewed here.  
___
Notes
(1) Hale, Sharron Lee. A Tribute to Yesterday. (Valley Publishers, Santa Cruz, 1980) p. 120.
(2) Hall, Thorne. Editor, Publisher, Owner. "Houses of Distinction - Frank Lloyd Wright's Blend of Stone and Sea on Carmel Beach."  Carmel Pacific Spectator Journal, September 1957.
(3) Fremier, Allene. Allen Knight Beloved Eccentric. (The Boxwood Press, Pacific Grove, 1984) p. 61.

Photographs

Two black and white photographs of the Ship House from What's Doing February 1947 p.36.
Under Golf House the two first black and white pictures of the original Club House is courtesy Harrison Memorial Library Local History Department.
The third black and white picture of the original Club House is courtesy of the current owners.

All the rest of the photography by L. A. Momboisse.