Allen Knight, Carmel Heritage Society, Frank Lloyd Wright, Golf House,, Philip Wilson, The Ship House

Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour 2015 – Part 3 – Frank Lloyd Wright House, The Ship House and Golf House

Walker House
by Frank Lloyd Wright
26336 Scenic Road 

In 1918, Mr. and Mrs. Willis J. Walker, San Francisco socialites, purchased 216 acres of land for $150,000 from John Martin (Mission Ranch).  The Walkers subdivided the land and sold many of the lots. (1)

The ocean front acreage from the Walkers subdivision, was deeded to Mrs. Walker’s sister, Della Walker.  

Della asked noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design a house that was low to the ground so that her neighbors’ views would not be interrupted.  

Wright did exactly what was asked of him, designing a home that appeared to be like an ocean liner, the prow of which would perpetually face the tireless sea off Carmel Point. 

For almost five years octogenarian Frank Lloyd Wright worked on Della Walker’s house.  Miles Bain was hired to carry out the construction.  

“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) 

Photography is not allowed on the inside of this home.  The current owner allowed me to take the picture above and below.  The picture above is the same setting for the picture below of Mrs. Della Walker. 

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

The Ship House 
3 NE of Sixth Avenue on Guadalupe 

Allen Knight was born in San Francisco on May 7, 1901.  He spent his childhood summers at the home of his two aunts on Monte Verde and Seventh.  At the age of 17 Allen went to live with his aunts full time, but life in Carmel was too tame for Allen so he joined the crew of the “Falls of Clyde” and sailed around the Horn.

He continued this vagabond lifestyle traveling for years through the Orient and Europe.  While in Prague, Allen fell in love with old European architecture and convinced a hotel owner to give him copies of the blueprints of his hotel. 

In 1929, Allen was back in Carmel.  He had his aunts’ house moved by truck up Ocean Avenue to Guadalupe and Sixth.  The adventure Allen had during the moving of this house is a whole other story

Allen hired San Francisco architect Albert Farr to use the blueprints he had obtained in Prague and build what would become the Sundial Court Apartments on the property at Monte Verde and Seventh.  Michael J. Murphy would do the construction.  Today this is the home of L’ Auberge Carmel.

In 1933, Allen married Adele Hawes, he and their three children lived in the house on Guadalupe and Sixth. He would also serve as Mayor of Carmel from 1950 to 1952. 

During his lifetime, Allen collected numerous nautical memorabilia.  But his home was not large enough to store the collection. In 1936 he began construction on a stone building just north of his home on Guadalupe. 

“The building was completed in 1939. On the outside, it resembled a “stone lighthouse” in the words of Winsor Josselyn who wrote it up in the February 24, 1939 issue of the Monterey Peninsula Herald.  Allen told Josselyn during an interview for the newspaper article:  “Some people call this my hobby…and some call it my ‘marine mania.’  Call it what you want to, but I love ships and I’m getting a big kick out of doing it.” (3) 

The outside walls of The Ship feature water washed granite boulders surrounding portholes.  Most of the portholes are salvaged from the Aurora, a four-masted ship built in 1901 in Everett, Washington and moored in Monterey Bay in 1932.  On January 18, 1935 the Aurora was caught in a storm, she ran aground on Del Monte Beach and the relentless pounding waves finished her off.  

The current owners of The Ship came across a replica of the Aurora in an antique shop in Pacific Grove.  The replica now sits proudly on a shelf in their home.

The only entrance into The Ship is though a salvaged watertight bulkhead door.  

The interior which resembles the hold (first floor) and wheel house (second floor) of a ship was made from the parts of 57 dismantled ships. 
Planks and knees from the Aurora tie
 together the walls and support the ceiling. 

The knee directly over the porthole near the top of the bed in the picture below came from the Natalie.  The Natalie is thought to have been the ship that was used by Napoleon Bonaparte during his escape from Elba in 1815.  In the 1930’s the Natalie, at the time being used by coastal smugglers, met its end on Monterey Beach.   

The 550 square foot ground floor of The Ship has everything the current owners need to be comfortable: living area, bedroom, 

kitchen (with high efficiency dishwasher
and washing machine), dining area 
bathroom (behind the door below)
library, and office. 

 the “wheelhouse”
surrounded by windows 

 acts as a guest room, game room
or sunset cocktail lounge.  

 The Golf House 
SE Corner San Antonio and Fourteenth 

Philip and Laura Wilson married in 1890.  In 1905 they moved to California with their three young children, Grace (who later married James H. Thoburn mayor of Carmel from 1934 – 1936), Philip Jr., and James.  That same year Philip Wilson Sr. constructed the Wilson Building on the NW Corner of Ocean and Dolores.  This anchor of the Camel commercial district served as the first City Hall in 1916. 

In 1912 Philip Wilson Sr. purchased a small writers studio, and the property around it, at Fourteenth and San Antonio from writer John Fleming Wilson. 

Philip Wilson Sr. built a nine hole golf course on Point Loeb (now called Carmel Point). This, the only golf course ever built in Carmel, was operated by Wilson from the Club House (John Fleming Wilson’s old writers studio) from 1913 – 1918. The picture below dated 1914 (courtesy of Harrison Memorial History Library) shows Wilson with his daughter Grace and son James. 

The picture below, courtesy of the current owners of Golf House was passed on to them when they purchased the historical club house.  This picture shows Philip Sr. and Philip Jr. in front of the club house. 

At the onset of World War I, Philip Wilson Sr. was called to service and Carmel’s first golf course was abandoned.  The land was later sold and subdivided. In 1990 a one bedroom house was built on the property integrating the old Club House into the home as a living room. 


The current owners (also owners of Carmel Cottage Inn) have restored the Club House now known as Golf House. 

Contractors Bell McBride carefully  separated Golf House from its former residence and moved it to the southeast side of the lot. 

Meticulously removing each brick along with some of the dirt and carefully restoring the fireplace in its new location. 

 The Golf House now stands as a separate guest house – the interior still features the original built in wooden lockers. 

Bell McBride built the new main house
pictured to the left below,

to complement the style of The Golf House.

Inside the main house are three charming bedrooms –
each bed covered with a different early American style quilt. 

Bedrooms also feature french doors,
 space saving built-in furniture 

and window seats. 

In the great room, 

 the living and dining room/kitchen 

are separated by a built-in hutch.  

 The kitchen is a classic utilizing the current owners signature style with a Signal Red Big Chill Retro style stove and  

That is the review of the eight homes on the Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour for 2015. 
Many thanks to all the volunteers who gave their time and the home owners who graciously opened their homes for viewing.  And thank you to Carmel Heritage Society for making this happen year after year. 

Part 1 First Murphy, Belle House
Part 2 Stonehaven, Pope House Banyon Hideaway

Google map of location of houses may be viewed here.  
(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.
(3) Fremier, Allene. Allen Knight Beloved Eccentric. (The Boxwood Press, Pacific Grove, 1984) p. 61.

Under Golf House the two first black and white pictures of the original Club House is courtesy Harrison Memorial Library Local History Department.
The third black and white picture of the original Club House is courtesy of the current owners.

All the rest of the photography by L. A. Momboisse.

Allen Knight,, Sundial Court Apartments, Sundial Lodge

Allen Knight and the History of L’Auberge Carmel

Allen Knight, who would become Mayor of Carmel in the 1940’s and 50’s, was born in 1901 the same year his parents and two aunts purchased three lots on Monte Verde and Seventh.  That same year, J. F. Devendorf ordered 100 San Francisco cottages to be shipped in sections to Carmel.  Only one cottage arrived and it was purchased by Allen’s father and reassembled on the family property on Monte Verde and Seventh.  Every summer the Knight family would make the two day trip from their home in San Francisco via horse and buggy to their vacation cottage in Carmel. 
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th – c. 1929-1935
After Allen’s mother died when he was 8, his father moved into the Fairmont Hotel and Allen split his time between his father’s and his  aunts Alys and Agnes in the cottage on Monte Verde and Seventh.  Allen went to live full time with his aunts after his father died when he was 17.  But life with his aunts was too tame and his lifetime fascination with the sea led him to ship off on the Falls of Clyde and sail around the Horn.

Using the inheritance left him by his father; Allen spent the next few years traveling the Orient, earning his living as a musician, even playing in waterfront bars in Nagasaki.  In 1922 he met a Russian refugee in China, married her and returned to San Francisco to work as a yacht broker.  Unfortunately the marriage did not last so Allen went back to traveling. 

He spent five months bicycling and motorcycling through Europe in the late 1920’s, and fell in love with the city of Prague.  He paid special attention to the old European charm of the hotels thinking that they would make a good model for an apartment building his aunt Alys was interested in building on the Monte Verde property in Carmel. 
Sundial Apartment Conceptual Drawing 1929
It is said that Allen went so far as to convince the owner’s of a Czech hotel he took a fancy to in Prague to share their blueprints with him.  And it was these blueprints he gave to San Francisco architect Albert Farr to use to design the project which would eventually become the Sundial Apartments. 
Sundial Court Apartments circa 1930

After this trip to Europe, Allen returned to the US he settled in a tent attached to the cottage on Monte Verde and Seventh.  He commissioned Albert Farr to design an apartment building and Michael J. Murphyto do the construction.  But the little cottage had to be moved, so Allen bought three lots on Guadalupe at Sixth Avenue and had the home relocated. 
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th – 2013
The August 30, 1929 edition of the Carmel Pine Cone states, “The big steam shovel has begun its opening part in the building of the Sundial Court Apartments on the east side of Monte Verde Street between Ocean Avenue and Seventh.  Soon will rise a structure new in Carmel’s experience, to mark an era of the town’s growth.  The building will house thirteen small apartments, three rooms each, and eight one-room-with-bath accommodations for bachelors, male or female.  The Sundial Court to be built around a court, will be three stories high on its western side, facing the sea, two stories high the balance of the structure….the architecture is European, probably more Bohemian than of any other national type, and fits in well with Carmel’s general scheme.” 
The Sundial Court Apartments became the first apartment building in Carmel.  Built around a courtyard with the lobby and two spaces for shops on the first floor.  The next floor housed the three room apartments with living area, a disappearing closet-bed, kitchenette and bath.  Stairs led to the third floor and an extra room with a bath, which could be rented separately or used to make existing apartments larger.
Sundial Lodge 2000

The Sundial Court Apartments became the Sundial Lodge turning the 21 apartments into 19 guest rooms decorated with a French country motif and was featured in the Architectural and History Survey of Carmel-by-the-Sea Historic Inns in 1992.

Sundial Lodge Courtyard 2000

In 2003, the Sundial Lodge was sold for an undisclosed price to the Auberge Carmel partnership.  The Herald wrote in it’s January 13, 2003 edition, “David Fink, manager of the AubergeCarmel and owner of Carmel’s Bouchee Restaurant, said the Sundial has the potential to become a luxury boutique hotel.”
Sundial Lodge 1992
After a $1 million upgrade the proprietors of L’Auberge Carmel are holding their grand re-opening during the month of January 2013.  They  have indeed succeeded in making the L’Auberge Carmel a quaint and cozy luxury boutique hotel surrounded by Old World charm.    
L’Auberge Carmel – 2013
Allen Knight – Photograph courtesy of Allene Knight Fremier Collection
Allen Knight Home transferred from Monte Verde and Seventh to Guadalupe and Sixth – Henry Meade Williams Local History Room, Harrison Memorial Library Collection, The Allen Knight Family Collection  Photographs
Sundial Apartment Conceptual Drawing 1929 for Allen Knight
Sundial Court Apartments circa 1930 – Photograph courtesy of Allene Knight Fremier Collection
Knight House on Guadalupe and 6th in 2013 – Photo by L. A. Momboisse
Sundial Lodge Entry and Court – Sundial Lodge Brochure & Tariff Schedule 2000
Sundial Lodge 1992 – Carmel Historical Survey, Historic Inns Carmel-by-the-Sea April 1992
L’Auberge Carmel – Photo by L. A. Momboisse 2013


Allen Knight, Carmel A Look Back, Daisy Bostick,, Sundial Lodge

Carmel-by-the-Sea – A Look Back

Allen Kight House Guadalupe & 6th 2013 C photo KnightHouseGuadalupe6th2013C_zps336c5c1a.jpg
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th  – 2013

Chapter VIII
The Runaway Cottage

The following was written by Daisy Bostick for the Carmel Pine Cone, June 4, 1948 as part of a series of articles entitled Carmel Story:
I looked out of my upstairs window down on Santa Fe Street one early morning and to my utter surprise saw a cute little house traveling merrily, and with no visible means of support, up Ocean Avenue.  The picture was complete.  There it was – a real little painted redwood cottage, with porch, climbing vines, chimney, and curtains at the windows. It look at me roguishly as it passed and I could have sworn that it flapped a vine or two at me and that a wisp of real smoke was coming out of the chimney. And I thought I heard a mischievous voice say “Catch me if you can.  I’m running away.” 

By the time I had recovered enough to run out to the highway, Little House was turning the corner at Guadalupe Street, but as it vanished I solved the secret of its locomotion.  It was on a truck and as it went up the hill, the low trees and shrubs at the side of the highway had hidden everything but the house from me, so it seemed to be self-propelled.  That was one mystery that I would have preferred to remain unsolved, for it isn’t every day that you get to see a runaway cottage floating gently up a hill just outside your bathroom window.  

Now to backtrack a little.  In 1901, the Carmel Development Company had a lot of vacant land but few houses.  J. F. Devendorf (familiarly and lovingly called Devvy) ordered one hundred old San Francisco cottages to be sent down in sections which were to be reassembled after reaching here.  By the way, this seems to be the start of the prefabricated house industry but it didn’t have much success as only one cottage, a barn and a carload of doors arrived.
Allen Kight House Guadalupe & 6th Betwee 1929 - 1935 B photo KnightHouseGuadalupe6thbetween1929-1935B_zpsc5b13fba.jpg
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th – c. 1929-1935
Allen Knight’s father paid three hundred dollars for the one lone cottage that showed up, put the various sections together on a lot belonging to him and his two sisters-in-law, Alys Miller and Agnes Miller.  This was the site of the present Sun Dial Apartments and this was the cottage that later decided to run away. 

 photo DoorHouse_edited-1_zps6977d4c9.jpg
Door House The carload of doors that formed part of the shipment was used to build a house which now belongs to a relative of the former owner, Mrs. O’Hara and can still be seen on Lincoln between Eighth and Ninth.  The barn was acquired by Miss Eunice Grey who placed it on Camino Real near Santa Lucia.  Later she built a new house on the adjoining lot, and wrote a charming book entitled Cross Trails and Chaparral.  Many changes came to the old barn even during Miss Grey’s lifetime, but it has lately been acquired by Mrs.  Emmy Blamer, who has handled its renovation with a magic touch, furnished it with her beautiful early American pieces and made it into one of the most charming houses to be found in this vicinity. 

Allen Kight House Guadalupe & 6th Betwee 1929 - 1935 C photo KnightHouseGuadalupe6thbetween1929-1935C_zps8ec20200.jpg
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th – c. 1929-1935
 Now to return to the little cottage which ran away up the hill on an early morning.  Its seems that along with it there was a tent house in the grounds.  Originally canvas, it had been shingled outside and lined inside with some sort of beaverboard.  Allen Knight, then a gay young bachelor had been bunking in the tent house.  One night he had attended a studio party with Fenton Foster and on returning to his home at a late hour was too sleepy to realize that the house was on the sidewalk and had been placed on wheels all ready for an early morning jaunt to its new location alongside of Runaway Cottage.  He went to bed and was just getting into a sound sleep when the truck started to roll. Allen, who as man and boy had been inclined to a seafaring pastime, came half awake and thought first that he was on the briny deep.  He chronicles his subsequent adventures as follows:

 photo IMG_9279_edited-1_zps510fda4c.jpg“When I looked out the window and saw the Episcopal Church going by, I knew then that something unusual was doing.  When we turned the corner at Monte Verde and Ocean, the truck hit a culvert and the furniture began playing leap frog over me.  I grabbed for my shirt and my pants and in the midst of much pitching and rolling managed to get partially clothed.  Unaware that he had a passenger, the driver was only intent on getting that load up the hill and didn‘t hear my frantic bawling to stop.  When we reached Dolores, I made up my mind to jump.  And I shall never forget the look on the face of a lone pedestrian (it was six o’clock in the morning) as he saw a scantily clad figure sail through the air with the greatest of ease and land on the sidewalk beside him.”

Allen Kight House Guadalupe & 6th After 1939 A photo KnightHouseGuadalupe6thafter1939A_zpsa432cb8c.jpg
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th – Sometime after 1939 addition 

Historical Note:  Allen Knight’s father assembled the home on their property at Monte Verde and Seventh Avenue in 1901.  It is believed to have been the city’s 6th house.  In 1929 the home was moved to Guadalupe and Sixth to make room for the Sundial Lodge to be built on the property on Monte Verde and Seventh.  In 1935 Allen Knight added a second story to the home and built the Ship House next door in 1939 to house his nautical collection. Today the home still stands at Guadalupe and Sixth.  Many additions have been made since 1935 but the pop out picture window remains the common thread for over 100 years.   
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th – Photo by L. A. Momboisse 1/2013
Knight House – Henry Meade Williams Local History Room, Harrison Memorial Library Collection, The Allen Knight Family Collection Photographs
Door House – Cottages by the Sea by Linda Leigh Paul, Page 33
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th between 1929 – 1935 – Henry Meade Williams Local History Room, Harrison Memorial Library Collection, The Allen Knight Family Collection Photographs
Allen Knight – Photograph courtesy of Allene Knight Fremier Collection
Knight House Guadalupe & 6th sometime after 1939 – Henry Meade Williams Local History Room, Harrison Memorial Library Collection, The Allen Knight Family Collection Photographs