The Carl Cherry Center for the Arts - History

On a quiet residential street in the north east part of town is The Carl Cherry Center for the Arts

Having undergone numerous renovations over the years, it is a far cry from its original two story Queen Anne cottage.

Originally constructed around 1894 by Delos Goldsmith for Abby Hunter (who was at the time selling lots in Carmel City for Santiago Duckworth) this home would be sold to Ms. Hunter's friend Mrs. Augusta Robertson. 

The Augusta Robertson House c. 1890's (NW Corner Guadalupe & Fourth)

A Little Background History 

Lena Yates was born in England in the late 1879. She published her first poem at 20 years of age, and published children's books under the name of Lena Dalkeith.  In 1906 while on a walking trip in Paris she met Alfred Burton. 

Alfred was an engineer and the first Dean of Student Affairs of MIT, and a widower with two sons (Harold , and Felix).  Lena married Alfred and moved to Massachusetts where she continued to write and publish poetry. Neither the east coast weather or lifestyle appealed to Lena. Marsden Hartley, an artist friend of Lena's suggested the Burton's move to Carmel. 

Dr. Alfred Burton House (San Carlos 2NE of Santa Lucia)

In 1921 after 40 years at MIT, Alfred took a leave of absence and moved his wife and their three children (Christine, Virginia, and Alexander) to a newly constructed Craftsman on San Carlos 2NE of Santa Lucia.  Alfred became an active member of the Arts & Crafts Club, the Arts & Crafts Theater, and the Forest Theater.  Lena embraced the literary and theatrical circles of Carmel, and while serving as a board member to the Forest theater, she produced Commedia dell' arte plays. 

Carl Cherry, a young engineer, inventor, and graduate of MIT came to Carmel in the mid 1920's. According to Connie Wright in Stories of Old Carmel: A Centennial Tribute from the Carmel Residents Association, Carl was in charge of lighting at the Forest Theater and it was here that Lena met Carl.

Though separated by over 20 years, the two began an affair.  This culminated in Lena changing her name to Jeanne D'Orge, leaving Alfred, and eventually marrying Carl in 1930.

As a wedding gift, Carl's mother gave them the Queen Anne cottage formerly owned by Mrs. Augusta Robertson on Guadalupe and Fourth. 

It was in this home, in 1936, that Carl invented the blind rivet.  Patented as the Cherry Rivet in 1939, and widely used during World War II, this invention revolutionized the aircraft and shipbuilding industries and brought a nice windfall to Carl and Jeanne. 

Instead of using their newfound wealth to live a lavish lifestyle these Carmel Bohemians decided to establish a foundation to support experimental arts and sciences.

Carl Cherry Center for the Arts (2016)

After Carl died in 1947, Jeanne founded the Carl Cherry Foundation, which became the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, in his memory. The residence was converted to an art studio in 1952. 

Next up Carl Cherry Houston Sculpture Garden

Until next time Happy Adventures

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All photography by L. A. Momboisse unless listed below: 

Photo of Augusta Robertson house courtesy of the Harrison Memorial Library Local History Branch