Carmel, or Carmel-by-the-Sea, as it’s officially known, is a picturesque coastal city on the Monterey Peninsula, about a 2-hour drive south of San Francisco. A town both known for its natural beauty and its unique history, Carmel provides a village-like atmosphere that seems to flow right into the cypress-lined beaches. Just below the surface, however, there are some unique facts about this city that often remain undiscovered. In honor of the city’s upcoming centennial celebration, here are five fun facts about Carmel-by-the-Sea.
1. Founded by Artists
The history of the Carmel area dates back to the 6th century, but the first Europeans settled in the area as missionaries in the 1700s.? It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the city was founded, and many of the early residents were artists and writers.? Prompted by the literary movement of the late 1800s, an artist’s colony was formed in Carmel with many writers who went on to shape new American literature. Resident artists included Jack London, Sinclair Lewis, Robinson Jeffers, and Mary Austin.? Today, artists continue to flock to the area, which now boasts more than 100 galleries.
Carmel Art Association (founded 1927, when Carmel was an artist colony.) pic.twitter.com/bLdiYquad0
— Paul Jimerson (@pauljimerson) February 2, 2016
2. Get to Know Your Neighbors
When the city was formed and continued to grow, the founding fathers rejected certain plans that would “citify” the area.? Still today, residents of Carmel do not get home mail delivery but instead gather at the central post office to collect mail and socialize.? There are also no addresses on homes, no sidewalks outside of downtown, and no streetlights or parking meters.? If you’d like to find a home in the area, expect an eclectic description that includes the color of the trim or perhaps a quirky name such as “Enchanted for Us” or “Sun Spot.”
3. City Full of Architectural Treasures
As we said, Carmel-by-the-Sea attracted artists including writers, painters, and actors. The city also became a focus point for some very famous architects. ?Visit this area, and you’ll immediately notice both the quality and uniqueness of many of its properties.? Carmel-by-the-Sea has homes designed by well-known names that include Frank Lloyd Wright, Cesar Pelli, and Frank Wynkoop.? Some the most unique and treasured homes in the area were designed by Hugh Comstock.? In the 1920s, Comstock designed a series of cottages after the style of an English village, with rounded doorways, asymmetrical chimneys, and rolling eaves.? There remain over 20 of these Comstock cottages in the town today.
4. The Ultimate Tree-Huggers
It’s “in” to be environmentally-friendly today, but that wasn’t always the case – unless you lived in Carmel-by-the-Sea.? This town has revered and protected its trees since 1916, when it passed an ordinance that made it a misdemeanor to cut down, remove, or “injure” any tree or bush in most publicly-accessible areas.? The law remains strictly enforced, and the city has reaped the benefits with its lush and healthy environment.
5. A Place to Spy Celebrities
While you may know that a few celebrities, such as Clint Eastwood, have chosen to call Carmel-by-the-Sea home, many aren’t aware of the pull that this area has with public figures.? Eastwood served as the town’s mayor from 1986 to 1988 and continues to live in the area. Doris Day has lived in the community for many years and owns the historic Cypress Inn.? Other past and present celebrity residents of the seaside town include Ansel Adams, Betty White, John Madden, and Craig Kilborn.
Featured Image Credit: jleiva61 / 123RF Stock Photo