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Carmel-by-the-Sea was founded in 1902 and incorporated in 1916. Situated on the Monterey Peninsula, the town is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. Artists dominated early City Councils, and the town has had several mayors who were poets or actors, including Herbert Heron, founder of the Forest Theater, bohemian writer and actor Perry Newberry, and actor-director Clint Eastwood, who was mayor for one term, from 1986 to 1988.

A few things unique to Carmel: The town is known for being dog-friendly, with numerous hotels, restaurants and retail establishments admitting guests with dogs. Carmel is also known for several unusual laws, including a prohibition on wearing high-heel shoes without a permit, enacted to prevent lawsuits arising from tripping accidents caused by irregular pavement. There are no streetlights, so at night, yes it is dark, but on a clear night the stars sparkle. They say, from the European influenced architecture to the ginger bread rooftops, one visit to our quaint village and we have you forever.

Perhaps after you have enjoyed five days of great independent film and contemporary art, you might consider extending your stay to enjoy all the Monterey Peninsula has to offer.

For the history buff – please read…

The Birth of a Town

A Scottish immigrant, John Martin, acquired lands surrounding the Carmel mission in 1833, which he named Mission Ranch. Carmel became part of the United States in 1848, when Mexico ceded California as a result of the Mexican-American War. Known as “Rancho Las Manzanitas”, the area that was to become Carmel-by-the Sea was purchased by French businessman Honore Escolle in the 1850s. Escolle was well known and prosperous in the City of Monterey, owning the first commercial bakery, pottery kiln, and brickworks in Central California. His descendants, the Tomlinson-Del Piero Family, still live throughout the area.

In 1888, Escolle and Santiago Duckworth, a young Catholic developer from Monterey with dreams of establishing a Catholic retreat near the Carmel Mission, filed a subdivision map with the County Recorder of Monterey County. By 1889, 200 lots had been sold.

In 1902 James Frank Devendorf and Frank Powers, on behalf of the Carmel Development Company, filed a new subdivision map of the core village that became Carmel. The Carmel post office opened the same year. In 1916 Carmel incorporated.

Mission San Carlos and Father Serra

The Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo was founded on June 3 of 1770 in the nearby settlement of Monterey, but was relocated to Carmel by Father Junípero Serra due to the interaction between soldiers stationed at the nearby Presidio and the native Indians.

In December 1771, the transfer was complete as the new stockade of approximately 130×200 became the new Mission Carmel. Simple buildings of plastered mud were the first church and dwellings until a more sturdy structure was built of wood from nearby pine and cypress trees to last through the seasonal rains. This too was only a temporary church until a permanent stone edifice was built.

In 1784, Father Serra, after one last tour of all the California missions, died and was buried at his request at the Mission in the Sanctuary of the San Carlos Church, next to father Crespi who had passed the previous year. He was buried with full military honors.

The Mission at Carmel has significance beyond the history of Father Serra, who is sometimes called the “Father of California”. It also contains the state’s first library.