Carmel Heritage Society Centennial Year House and Garden Tour 2016 - Part 2 - Frank Lloyd Wright House, Church of the Wayfarer, Curtain Calls

Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour 2016 continues with:

Church of the Wayfarer

And Master's Garden 

At the turn of the 20th century, Carmel residents who wanted to attend Protestant church services had to travel by horse and buggy to Monterey where the Presbyterians and Episcopalians had established a church, or to Pacific Grove to the Methodist church.


It was because of this need for a church in Carmel that in 1902 a small group of Carmelites began meeting to discuss establishing  a place of worship for Carmel's Protestant community. 

In 1903, Frank Devendorf donated two 40 foot lots on the west side of Lincoln between Ocean and Seventh for the church.  Reverend George Clifford was appointed to organize this church, and on November 4, 1904, the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Carmel was incorporated with six charter members:  Frank Devendorf, E. A. Arne, J. P. Staples, L. C. Horne, Lillie Hansen and William Gilchrist. 

c. 1935

In 1905, the first building erected on church property was one room, a white wooden structure of Spanish mission style.  During the pastorate of F. L. Tuttle (1910 - 1912), internal and external improvements were made on the church.  Under J. H. Pardee (1912 - 1915) the church was wired for electric lights.  

By 1939 the church foundations were shown to be structurally weakened and in need of renovation. Robert L. Stanton (husband of the first Carmel Heritage Society President Virginia Stanton)  was asked to design a new chapel in what villagers called "Carmel style." 


Thus the original Spanish mission style exterior was redesigned by Stanton to what is seen today, an asymmetrical peaked roof topped by a bell tower and steeple. 

On March 3, 1940, the new chapel was dedicated, and Dr. James E. Crowther preached his first sermon on June 1, 1940. Pastor Crowther considered the Carmel congregation to be sojourners from all parts of the country and that Christians traditionally are wayfarers along the Way. So he suggested that the name of the church be changed to The Church of the Wayfarer, which was unanimously adopted August 18, 1940. 


By 1947 the congregation had grown to almost 500 members making it necessary to expand on the property.  In 1949 two adjoining lots were purchased and in 1952, the Youth Building was dedicated. 

During the Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour, visitors were invited inside the chapel to view the beautiful 18th century Italian walnut wainscoting that lines the wall.  This was added during the 1940 reconstruction.

In 1981, after over 20 years of planning and fundraising, the stunning leaded glass windows that surround the sanctuary and act as sermons in glass were added.

 The Garden Window 

The windows were designed and installed by master craftsman from the Connick Studios of Boston.  

 The Rear Nave Window 

The three windows are divided into four lancets.  The top row along each window depicts scenes from the life of Jesus.

The Front Nave Window 

The rest of the scenes portray bible history, biblical scenes, scenes from California history, US history, and Protestant history. 

Tour guests were also invited to visit the Biblical Garden designed in 1940 by Butler Sturdevant. 

Mrs. George Beardsley donated the funds to plant this garden in 1940, which contained plants that are mentioned in the Bible. This garden was featured in Sunset Magazine in January 1941

Today it is called the Master's Garden. It still features plants described in the Bible, such as Flax from Proverbs 31:13,


 and Lavender. 

This colorful and fragrant garden is lovingly cared for by the Garden Committee.


Curtain Calls & Second Act

Curtain Calls was built for Ms. Bertha L. Bowen, by Hugh Comstock Carmel's "builder of dreams," in 1929 for $3,000. 

The name "Curtain Calls" was given the cottage in the mid 1940s by another owner, Constance Ferris.  Ms. Ferris a San Francisco journalist named her home after the title of one of her books of short poems which were adapted for the stage, Curtain Calls.

The floor plan for Curtain Calls is two parallel gabled wings, separated by a "hyphen" or hall that serves as the entry, topped by dormers and Comstock's signature steep pitched roof. 

Off the right wing facing east is a wooden deck with decorative "splat" railing.

Off the entrance in the left wing is an uncharacteristically large (for a Comstock) kitchen/dining area.  

The right wing houses the bedroom, bathroom and comfortable living area with high open beam ceiling.

Outside are two cozy patios

 with filtered ocean views.  

While Curtain Calls sits back on this
 large double lot,

Second Act, formerly the garage, sits close to the front gate. Here the original Carmel Stone interior has been flipped to the outside.

 The inside is the ideal in-law apartment
or guest house with studio bedroom plus loft,
reminiscent of another Comstock house, Hansel.


Mrs. Clinton (Della) Walker House
by Frank Lloyd Wright

Minneapolis lumber executive Clinton Walker married artist Della Brooks around around 1901. In 1904 they moved to Piedmont, California and lived there until Clinton's death in 1944. 

Minneapolis lumber executive Willis Walker married Alma Brooks in 1897. The couple moved to San Francisco in 1915. In 1918, Willis and Alma Walker, purchased 216 acres of land for $150,000 from John Martin (Mission Ranch). The Walkers then subdivided the land and sold many of the lots. (1)

The ocean front acreage from the Walkers subdivision, was deeded to Mrs. Clinton Walker. 

After her husband died in 1944, Mrs. Clinton Walker moved to Carmel and rented a house while she arraigned for the construction of her house on her ocean front property. 

Between 1945 and 1950, Mrs. Walker corresponded with noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright regarding her design preferences for her home. She wanted protection from the wind and privacy from the road.

Mrs. Walker also requested that her house be as enduring as the rocks and as transparent as the waves. 

Wright took Mrs. Clinton Walker's requests to heart, designing a home that appeared to be like an ocean liner, the prow of which would perpetually face the tireless sea off Carmel Point.

Finally in April of 1950, permits were granted for the 2,000 square foot house, and construction began the following year.  

For almost five years octogenarian Frank Lloyd Wright worked on Mrs. Clinton Walker's house. Aaron Green was the supervising architect. Miles Bain was hired to carry out the construction. Miles hired local architect Mark Mills as a carpenter.  Mark was a former Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice and was able to interpret the drawings properly.  

Wright's original conception of using  "Desert Masonry" as the siding was changed to Carmel Stone, per Mrs. Walker's instruction.  She also added a kitchen door to the north side, against Wright's wishes.  

Yet at the end of the day - or in this case years, the outcome of Mrs. Walker's input and Frank Lloyd Wright's brilliance is breathtaking. 

 Undine  by Robert Howard installed in 1964

 "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) 

After Mrs. Della Walker married rancher and vintner James van Loben Sels in the mid 1950s she found her house too small and in need of expansion.

 Her grandson San Francisco architect John (Sandy) Walker designed a bedroom based on a sketch Frank Lloyd Wright did for a painting studio Mrs. Walker had requested.  The addition was built to the north east side around 1960. 
Photography is not allowed on the inside of this home.  A few years ago during a Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour, the current owner allowed me to take the living room interior picture earlier in this post and the photograph of Mrs. Walker below.  The interior picture  is the same setting for the picture below of Mrs. Walker. 

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

Another fantastic year for Carmel Heritage Society's House and Garden Tour. Their next event will be the spectacular Inns of Distinction in December. Watch the Carmel Heritage web site for information on this event. 

The Inns of Distinction features tour of some of Carmel most historic hotels along with light bits provided by some of Carmel's outstanding restaurants and wine tasting from some of Carmel's premier wine rooms. 

Until next time Happy Adventures!

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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Photography by LA Momboisse unless listed below: 

Black and white picture of Church of the Wayfarer (Carmel Community Church) in 1939 before it was redesigned in 1940 by Robert L. Stanton. The group in the photo are members of the congregation. Harrison Memorial Library Local History Department - Russell, Ron. "Church of the Wayfarer Celebrated 75th Year," The Carmel Pine Cone, November 1, 1979, page 1. 

Black and white picture of Church of the Wayfarer (Carmel Community Church). Picture courtesy of Church of the Wayfarer. 

Black and white picture of Church of the Wayfarer under construction in 1940. Harrison Memorial Library Local History Department -"Church of the Wayfarer Celebrated 75th Year," The Carmel Pine Cone, November 1, 1979, page 10. 

(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.


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