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Published: November 1st 2009
PINE INN AFTER RELOCATION
THAT MIGHT BE DEVENDORF'S BUGGY
EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK: OUR SUMMER IN CARMEL, AMAZON.COM
The square mile incorporated city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, in addition to the 120 galleries and art studios, also claims two stage theaters, the internationally acclaimed Bach Festival, the equally renowned Shakespeare Festival, a music society, and an annual art festival among its more prominent cultural events. This focus on the arts is not a recent Chamber of Commerce effort to boost tourism. Unlike other California real estate developments around the turn of the 19th Century, from the onset Carmel was a settlement of artists. The original inspiration for developing Carmel came from the neighboring town of Pacific Grove. In that small seaside community during the 1880’s, a group of people representing the Methodist Church established a summer retreat. A retreat that attracted adherents to the Chautauqua Movement, a turn-of-the century Christian based, cultural-enlightenment and self-improvement program. The original developer of present day Carmel thought that, because of the Carmel Mission’s proximity, (the Serra Mission incidentally was in the process of restoration,) the developer could emulate Pacific Grove’s Methodist oriented success with, in this case, a retreat for Roman Catholics. His idea did not succeed for several reasons.
First, Carmel was difficult
PINE INN TODAY
SAME LOCATION BUT EXPANDED HOTEL
to get to. The developer’s promise (hope) that the railroad from Monterey would be extended to reach the Carmel Mission never happened. Additionally, in the early 1890s, the national economy entered into a recession, causing the bloom to fade on California tourism and discretionary spending for second homes. Adding to these woes was the reality that Carmel was very isolated when compared to Pacific Grove, discouraging even the wealthiest and most enlightened Catholics.
The original Carmel developer, Santiago Duckworth, in an attempt to redirect his marketing plan away from duplicating the religious theme of Pacific Grove, had the town renamed “Carmel-by-the-Sea.” He built a bathhouse on the beach and a small hotel to accommodate buyers who remained overnight as they pondered the purchase of a lot in Carmel. Duckworth’s efforts could not overcome the geographic disadvantages, and he was rapidly running out of money and personal enthusiasm.
Enter Frank Devendorf. Devendorf, when visiting the Monterey area several years earlier, had seen Carmel beach and was enthralled by the scenery and landscape. He was an experienced realtor, having been instrumental in the development of such communities as Morgan Hill and Santa Cruz in the San Francisco bay area. When Duckworth came to him, looking for a way out of his Carmel project, it did not take long for Devendorf, who was already captivated by Carmel, to swap real estate he owned in the Stockton area for Duckworth’s Carmel holdings. The forty-six-year-old Devendorf then teamed with Frank Powers, a successful San Francisco attorney, heir to a family fortune from the gold rush days, and an energetic and far sighted outdoorsman. Together, they made an unbeatable team, being perfectly matched for the development of Carmel. Each man had his own vision beyond just making Carmel a financial success.
Devendorf had always prided himself on building enduring communities, not simply exploiting California’s real estate boom and bust cycle. He had a populist background, influenced by Teddy Roosevelt’s politics and a Jeffersonian heritage. Powers was a driven man, interested in the restoration of the Carmel Mission and exploring the wild coast south of Carmel. They each shared an interest in preserving the landscape, not an interest generally ascribed to by developers during their time. Powers also brought financial resources and legal and business connections to the partnership; Devendorf, the on-site management savvy for real estate development.
They formed the Carmel Development Company in 1902, and the rest is history. Devendorf traveled by horse and buggy every Monday from his home in Berkeley to his office in Carmel, where he would spend the remainder of the week. He was the partner who showed the land, set the terms of sale, and encouraged growth. Weary by Friday, he made the long trip back to Berkeley. He was creative. He used log rollers to move the hotel that Duckworth had built to a more central location in the middle of Carmel, renaming it the Pine Inn. Greatly expanded, the Pine Inn is in the same location today, a landmark Carmel hotel. Relocating the hotel was not an easy feat. Ocean Avenue, at the time, was no more than a steep, rutted and pitted grade cursedly named the Devil’s Staircase. During heavy rain, it became an uncontrolled rivulet instead of a main street. From these humble beginnings, just over one-hundred years ago Carmel began to grow from an inaccessable wilderness, and in so doing attracted a different sort of resident; one that would put its stamp on the character of the place, forever.
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