Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club - History

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The Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club was organized in January 1980 by Carol Stratton (left above) and Jean Mitchell (right above), incorporated in December 1981, and five years later, it was invited to join the Garden Club of America





One of their first community projects was to save the old Piccadilly Nursery property on Dolores Street between Ocean and Seventh. After the Piccadilly Nursery went out of business in 1979, the City Council was divided over whether to sell the property for development or to keep it as a park. 


Piccadilly Park 


"It was the only open space in a mature block dating back to the early commercial beginnings of Carmel," Carol Stratton stated. "The campaign for this cause is largely the catalyst for the inception of the Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club." (1)



To make a long story short the City of Carmel voted June 6, 1996 to have the Carmel Garden Club restore the “vacant lot with one magnificent oak,” (1) in the former location of Piccadilly Nursery. Landscape architect Walter Guthrie designed the plan and in April of 1997 the property was formally rezoned by the city as a park. The Carmel by the Sea (CBTS) Garden Club participated in a major renovation of Piccadilly Park in early 2015 and continues to maintain the garden to this day.


Harrison Memorial Library 

The CBTS Garden Club raised money for and implemented the landscape plan for Harrison Memorial Library at Ocean and Lincoln in 2004. Completion of this beautiful garden was made in 2007.  Though beautiful all year round, it is especially attractive in early spring when the daffodil flowers stand tall. Garden Club volunteers continue to take care of the library garden. 
Constance Meach Ridder Garden 

In 2012 the CBTS Garden Club renovated the garden in front of City Hall on Monte Verde between Ocean and Seventh.  It was dedicated to former club member Constance Meach Ridder, who died of cancer in 2011.



This garden includes drought-tolerant native plants, a walkway, hand railing, fountain, and patio seating.  In 2015, the Constance Meach Ridder Garden was accepted into the Archives of American Gardens at the Smithsonian.  The City is responsible for its maintenance. 

In 2013, as one of the 200 member clubs of the Garden Club of America, the CBTS Garden Club submitted a project in celebration of the Garden Club of America centennial.  

North Dunes Habitat Restoration 

The CBTS Garden Club project was the North Dunes Habitat Restoration which began in 2009.  The goal of this project was to eliminate the invasive non-native ice plant and recreate a self-sustaining natural dune ecosystem with native plant species such as dune sagewort and beach evening primrose.


 Beach Evening Primrose

The Dunes Restoration, located at the end of Ocean Avenue and Carmel Beach, is surrounded by protective fencing which will stay in place until sometime in the future when it is expected that the area will look as it did one hundred years ago.

Until next time - Happy Adventures! 


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For an interactive map and guided walking tour covering many of our tours please be sure to download the GPSmyCity App from the iTunes store. The App covers an extensive library of articles and walking tours from over 470 cities worldwide, and now features articles from Adventures of a Home Town Tourist covering Carmel and Monterey (with more cities on the way).



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Notes 

(1) Watson, Lisa Crawford. "Saving Grace Garden Club to Restore Piccadilly Park." Monterey Peninsula Herald, April 27, 1997, page C1.

Photography 

All photography by LA Momboisse except for those listed below: 

Black and white pictures of Carol Stratton and Jean Mitchell - Harrison Memorial Library Local History Room Nixon File. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Fairy Tale House Walking Tour Carmel-by-the-Sea 2019

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If you are interested in this as an audio tour, please see our companion audio tour  of this walking tour at VoiceMaps. You will need to download the VoiceMap app from the Apple Store or Google Play.  The app is free, the tour is $2.99. Happy Adventures and enjoy the tour! 

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Many visitors come to Carmel-by-the-Sea in search of the Fairy Tale houses.  The majority of them can we viewed on this self-guided walking tour, which starts at the Carmel Plaza, in about one hour.  



If you have arrived by tour bus, your start and stop point will be Carmel Plaza.  If you are in town for a few days, either leave your car at your hotel in town or find a two hour parking spot near Carmel Plaza. 





Carmel Plaza is across from Devendorf Park (the big green area) on Ocean Avenue between Junipero and Mission.  Look for the bronze statue Trumpeter by Richard MacDonald and fountain in front of Kate Spade.





Take the alleyway between Vineyard Vines and Bottega Veneta to Carmel Visitor's Center if you are in need of maps or more information. 



Or take the stairs down to the first level and Carmel Coffee and Cocoa Bar if you are interested in coffee or a snack before you walk.  








To reach the majority of the Fairy Tale houses, cross Ocean Avenue at Junipero and walk through Devendorf Park (the big green area). 



The land for Devendorf Park was given to the city of Carmel by James Franklin Devendorf.  His bust may be found in one of the alcoves of the park.  



You will also find a wooden statue of Saint Junipero Serra, veterans memorials for World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as a 911 memorial.  




Exit the park on Sixth Avenue near the restroom.  Across the street is Vesuvio one of our favorite places for Happy Hour





Cross Junipero to Brunos Market and Deli and Surf and Sand Liquors. With Brunos, Surf and Sand, Vesuvio, Carmel Drug Store, and Carmel Coffee and Cocoa Bar, most of our basic survival needs are met and we never have to leave town. Or drive for that matter, but I digress, this is a Fairy Tale house tour. 





Right after Surf and Sand is Torres Street.  Turn left and walk up the hill.  Across from the parking area of the Best Western you will find Hansel and Gretel. The view above is of Hansel  from Torres Street. 




This is the view that is most famous, but is NOT available to the general public because it is on private property. In fact all of the homes reviewed are privately owned (except for Tuck Box).  So please respect homeowners and stay behind the gate on the street side.  Thank you. 



Hugh and Mayotta in front of Hansel (Doll House) 1924

Hansel, originally called Doll House, was built in 1924 by Hugh Comstock for his wife Mayotta's Otsy-Totsy dolls. You may read more about Hugh and Mayotta as well as see more pictures of Hansel and Gretel in my blog post from 2013



Walk back down the hill you just climbed and turn left on Sixth Avenue.  On the southeast corner of Torres and Sixth is the historic Grant Wallace House. This is a Tudor Storybook style (my daughter-in-law calls it the Keebler Elf House).  It was built in 1927 by Jess Nichols for Grant Wallace, a San Francisco newspaperman and occultist.  


Next door on the northeast corner of Torres and Ocean Avenue is The Woods house another Tudor Storybook house, this one was designed by Hugh Comstock in 1927 for the artist Mary Young-Hunter


Walk back on Torres to Sixth Avenue and turn right.  This time look to the northeast corner to find the Hugh Comstock Residence.  This was Hugh and Mayotta's personal home.  You may read more about this and see pictures of the inside in my blog post here.   






Next door at the northwest corner of Santa Fe Street and Sixth Avenue is Comstock Studio.  This Tudor Storybook style house was built by Comstock in 1927 as his studio and office.   



 

Turn left on Santa Fe.  The fourth house from the corner on the west side of the street is Our House.  Hugh Comstock built this for Elizabeth Armstrong in 1928.  You will know you have the correct house, when you spot the narrow arched three-light casement window with heart shaped cut out. 


 

Continue up almost to the end of the block on Santa Fe and find A Storybook Cottage (Santa Fe 2 southeast Fifth).  This original 384 square foot cottage was built in 1926 by Comstock's father-in-law, Thomas M. Browne.  You may read more about this house and view pictures toward the end of my blog post here






"Some time last year an easterner came out to the Monterey peninsula, built himself a house to settle down in, and decided to do a friendly thing in Carmel...He wanted to help create...He therefore chose an architect who would carry out this feeling sympathetically in the lines of his houses.  He rearranged his lots and the cottages on them...He grouped his cottages in community fashion (without fences)...like the English cottage.  The houses were cleverly planned and executed by Hugh Comstock."  (The Swain Houses, The Carmelite, February 6, 1929).

Walk back down Santa Fe and turn left on Sixth.  Here you will come to a group of five houses built for W. O. Swain, the easterner referred to in the above quote. 





The first house you will come to in this grouping is Honeymoon.  A 660 square foot English Tudor style cottage, it is reminiscent of the small Anne Hathaway Cottage in Sratford-upon-Avon. 





Next door on the southwest corner of Santa Rita and Sixth is Birthday House.  Here Comstock used the New England "saltbox style" in his design for Mr. Swain.  The picture above is the elevation you will see from Sixth.  


 
Next door on Santa Rita is Fables.  Mr. Swain asked that this cottage be built in a French country farmhouse style with a polygonal hipped roof.  "Sure", Mr. Comstock said, and produced this masterpiece.  You may read more about this house and see pictures from the inside in my blog post here





Doll's House on the northwest corner of Santa Rita and Ocean is a Tudor Storybook style house.  You may see pictures of the inside of this house in my post here.  






Now turn right on to Ocean Avenue and you will come to the fifth and final house designed and built for Mr. Swain, Ocean House.  It is the smallest of the five and built in the English Cotswold style.  

From here you may continue down Ocean Avenue two blocks back to the Carmel Plaza.  





Or if time permits here are a few other homes you might want to check out. 

Back on Sixth Avenue continue one more block to Guadalupe and turn left.  Ship House is located three houses from the corner.  I reviewed this unique house in 2013. You may read more about it and see pictures of the inside here. It is the second house I review on this blog.



The first one is the Della Walker House built by Frank Lloyd Wright.  You may have to drive to this one located at 26336 Scenic.  Or if you have time for another walking tour take my Scenic Walk tour.  It is four miles round trip and may be found here, part 1 and part 2. Four pretty spectacular miles.   





Anyway, walk back down Sixth to Junipero and turn right.  Three blocks up at Junipero 2 north west of Third, find Curtain Calls.  You may read about this Comstock home and view pictures of the interior from my tour in 2012. Curtain Calls is the second house reviewed on this blog.  Hansel is the first.  




You might want to drive to these last two (honestly our town is only one square mile, it will take you longer to find a parking place than to walk - my opinion), Tuck Box Dolores 3 north east of Seventh.  This is also a Comstock in the Fairy Tale style. 




And finally on the northeast corner of Dolores and Eleventh find Marchen House.  




 


There are many more historic and unique homes in Carmel-by-the-Sea.  You may learn more about these in a book I co-wrote with Alissandra Dramov a few years ago, Historic Homes and Inns of Carmel-by-the-Sea.  It is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. If you purchase this book you will find a tinyurl on the Acknowledgement page that links to a Google Map that gives you walking instructions to all 150 homes described in the book.  






Until next time, Happy Adventures 

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For an interactive map from GPSmyCity for many of my 
blog post please visit this site


Photography by L.A. Momboisse unless listed below:
Black and White photo of Hugh and Mayotta Comstock in front of Hansel from Monterey Public Library History Room and Harrison Memorial Library Local History Room.