Carmel, Carmel Heritage Society, Carmel History, Carmel Mission, Mission Orchard House

Mission Orchard House – Historical House Carmel-by-the-Sea California

Mission Orchard House Property

Most of us have driven by this historical property on Rio Road, nestled between the Carmel Mission and Larson Baseball Field, but few have the opportunity to tour the grounds.

It has been open for special events in the past decade such as: the Carmel Heritage Society’s Home and Garden Tour 2003, the California Mission alfresco dinner in 2013, marking the 300th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Father Junipero Serra, and the inaugural Carmel Bach Festival House and Garden Tour in 2014.

There are two main houses on the property, one built of adobe and one of wood. The two structures (adobe left, wood right) are seen in the picture below.

It is a special place with quite a bit of history. In fact the adobe on this property is considered the oldest private residence in California.  Well at least one of the walls of this residence can claim to be almost 250 years old having been erected in 1772.

Carmel Mission
1770 – 1834

Pentecost Sunday, June 3, 1770 Blessed Father Junipero Serra said Mass and erected the cross that would establish the second mission in California, Mission San Carlos Borromeo (Carmel Mission).  The mission was originally located near the Monterey Presidio beside the Bay of Monterey. 

On August 24, 1771, Blessed Father Junipero Serra moved the mission from Monterey to its present site in Carmel. 

He began construction on the mission and an adobe wall that would surround the future mission orchard in 1772. 

Two years later, Fr. Palou planted a pear orchard within the adobe wall. Three of those pear trees still exist today. 

The picture, above shows the side of the orchard adobe wall that would have faced the Mission.  This is the present day adobe living room wall.  

In 1812 mission records show that a lean-to was built against the orchard adobe wall. This lean-to would have provided housing for the mission orchardist and caretaker.  The 1774 wall of the lean-to is the current north wall of the adobe living room.

1834 – 1859

On August 9, 1834, Mexican Governor Figueroa passed regulations secularizing mission lands.  If the regulations had been carried out as they were decreed, the Carmel Mission Native American’s would have received portions of the mission lands. Though some were granted land, the majority of the mission lands went to Mexican families. (1)

Native American Juan Romero would come to own 160 acres which included the Carmel Mission, pear orchard and the adobe lean-to. (2)

By 1839 the rest of the land surrounding the mission, some 4,367 acres became the Mexican land grant called  Rancho Canada de la Sequnda, granted by Mexican Governor Jose Casto to Lazaro Soto. Lazaro Soto’s grandfather came to California with the De Anza Expedition. Lazaro was married to Felicita Cantua and by 1849 he had sold his land grant for $500 to Andrew Randall.     

–  Back at the Mission, (it is not clear where Juan Romero was during his years of ownership), by 1846 squatters had begun to occupy the mission ruins and the adobe lean-to. One of the squatter families by the name of Cantua (possibly a relative of Felicita Cantua Soto) filed a claim with the U.S. Lands Commission for possession of the property. This was denied. 

In 1850 the squatters used whalebone vertebrae gathered from the beach and wood beams taken from the abandoned Carmel Mission to build a one story wood house next to the adobe lean-to. 

The two downstairs rooms of the wood house that exist today would have represented this structure.  

Though squatters were living on the property Juan Romero still owned the land.  In 1852 he would deed this property to William Curtis a Monterey store owner for $300. 

In 1856 Mr. Curtis sold the property to one of his clerks, Mr. Loveland.

In 1859 John Martin purchased the property from the Loveland’s and lived in the adobe lean-to.  Later that year, the United States Land Commission confirmed ownership of nine acres of the Martin purchase (the land surrounding the Carmel Mission) back to the Catholic Church. (3) John Martin moved his family into a ranch house he built on his property at Mission Ranch.

The picture below is the 1859 U.S. Government survey of land restored to the Catholic Church.  In the north east corner of the orchard two squatters houses are drawn. One being the adobe lean-to consisting of the living room and entry area of the current adobe and the other the two downstairs rooms of the current wood house.   

Back in Church Hands
1860 – Present 

May 27, 1861 -“We visited the old Mission of Carmelo…it is now a complete ruin; entirely desolate…we rode over a broken adobe wall into this court.  Hundreds (literally) of squirrels scampered around to their holes in the old walls…About half of the roof had fallen in…the paintings and inscriptions on the walls are mostly obliterated…The old garden was now a barley field, but there were many fine pear trees left, now full of young fruit.  Roses bloomed luxuriantly in the deserted places, and geraniums flourished as rank weeds. (4)  

Around 1870 Father Angelo Casanova would be appointed pastor of Carmel Mission.  He leased the orchard land to Christiano Machado, a whaler from the island of St. Michael’s in the Azores.

Machado would serve as the mission caretaker and orchardist until 1920.  During that time he added extensively to the garden and the orchard.

In the garden a “ramada” for al fresco dining was built of adobe, along with an oven for baking. 

In 1881, Machado’s brother-in-law, whaler Captain Victorine, (who built the whaler’s cabin at Point Lobos which still stands) would add a second story to the wood squatters shack next to the adobe for the Machado’s twenty-five children.

In 1921 Carmel Mission pastor Father Ramon Mestres would hire Jo Mora to restore the adobe house. 

The main entrance of the adobe was moved to the east side facing the entrance to the wood house.  

An entry room in the adobe led to the living area. The painting decorations on the interior walls were originally painted by Joe Mora.

Additional space was added to the living room to make room for a fireplace.  Mora hired stonemason Juan Martoral to build the large field-stone chimney, which would be built into an addition to the north wall of the living room.

The adobe still resembles the lean-to, with sloping roof off the north wall. (The room seen above off the living space to the west was added in the 1940’s)

To make the ramada and gardens more accessible to guests, doors were added to the south elevation. 

In 1924 Father Mestres sold the restored house to three women.  One of these women was Eva DeSalba, the second mayor and first woman mayor of Carmel. 

These women opened the adobe as the Carmel Tea House, which became a popular Carmel spot for lunch and afternoon tea.  It closed in 1929.

In 1929 the Lloyd Pacheco Tevis Family purchased the property. They would further expand the existing buildings over their years of tenancy. 

The Trevis Family added separate living quarters for their butler and gardener toward the rear of the property,

as well as an art studio for Mrs. Tevis, 

and a billiard room for Mr. Tevis.

In the early 1940’s the Tevis Family hired Sir Harry Downie, curator in charge of the Carmel Mission restoration, to expand the existing adobe home, with the aim of keeping it with its original character.

A new kitchen, 

dining room and butler’s pantry

were added following 
the long axis of the building
opening to the gardens. 

These additions would double the size of the original adobe house.  Downie would also install one of the first water-circulated radiant heating systems in the country within a new concrete slab floor in the adobe.

In 1976 antique dealer Harry Lewis Scott purchased the property from the Trevis family.  Mr. Scott operated Keller & Scott Antiques in downtown Carmel.  At the time, his store was across from the Carmel Art Association on Dolores. 

Scott decorated the home and garden with museum worthy antiques and original painted designs found at the Santa Inez Mission. He also incorporated pieces of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, damaged in the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989, into the garden.  

In the mid 1990’s Mr. Scott sold the two and a half acre property, which had come to be known as “Mission Orchard House,” back to the Monterey Diocese. Mr. Scott maintained a life estate in Mission Orchard House so that he could live the rest of his life on the property.

In 2003 he opened up his beautifully decorated property to the Carmel Heritage Society for their annual House and Garden Tour. 

Mr. Scott passed away in 2011 and Mission Orchard House passed to the Diocese of Monterey in October of that year. Currently the diocese is investigating what must be done to restore this important and historic property.  

(1)Randall Millken, Laurence H. Shoup, and Beverly R Ortiz, Ohlone/Costanoan Indians of the San Francisco Peninsula and their Neighbors, Yesterday and Today (Archaeological and Historical Consultants Oakland, California, 2009), p. 154,155,161,162.

(2) Helen Wilson, “The Mission Ranch – A Brief History,” The Herald Weekend Magazine, April 20, 1986.

(3) Martin J. Morgado, Serra’s Legacy (Mount Carmel Publishing Pacific Grove, 1987), p. 113.

(4) Up and Down California in 1860 – 1864 – The Journal of William H. Brewer:  Book 1 Chapter 7 Salinas Valley and Monterey. 

Monterey Father Serra’s Landing Place (Painting of first Mass Pentecost Sunday June 3, 1770) – Oil on canvas depiction by Leon Troussett 1877. 

All photos and video by L. A. Momboisse except those listed below:

– Black and white of adobe and wood house taken after 1921. (Kent Seavey, Images of America Carmel A History in Architecture, (Arcadia Publishing, 2007) p.17

– Black and white drawing of Carmel Mission c. 1794 by John Sykes (picture taken from wall in Carmel Mission courtyard).

– Picture of water color of Carmel Mission c. 1827 by Richard Beechey (picture taken from wall in Carmel Mission courtyard).

– 1859 U.S. government survey of land restored to the Catholic Church (Martin J. Morgado, Serra’s Legacy (Mount Carmel Publishing Pacific Grove, 1987), p. 113).

– Two black and white photos from 1929 – the Mission Tea House inside and out.  Photos used with permission from Casa Q Events. Casa Q Events planned the dinner at Orchard House given in honor of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Father Junipero Serra. 

Carmel, Carmel Heritage Society, Carmel History,

Carmel Heritage Society and First Murphy Park

Old Carmel Foundation / Carmel Tomorrow
“It’s Your Town Start Running It”

In 1976, “born of frustration and nurtured by anger, a grassroots movement sprang up in Carmel with the avowed intent of halting deterioration of the village.  The group Old Carmel was conceived and gained notoriety through its efforts to save the Village Corner, long a favored stopping place of local residents. 


When threatened with a loss of lease and possible conversion to some other purpose, the Village Corner became a rallying point for residents concerned with the proliferation of tourism as Carmel’s chief source of business. With well over 300 members, Old Carmel rapidly established itself as a potentially powerful political movement.” (1)  

Old Carmel counts the saving of the Village Corner as their first victory. “Ben Lyon, Randy Reinstedt, George Faul, Mindy Faia and several others banded together to help then owner George Rockwood to keep the popular restaurant on the northeast corner of Dolores Street and Sixth Avenue.  The group initially named itself The Old Carmel Foundation which eventually evolved into Carmel Tomorrow.” (2)

In their first general membership meeting, Carmel Tomorrow leaders, Frank Lloyd a newspaperman, Arthur Strasburger, vice president of Carmel Realty, Leslie Gross former building inspector, and Howard Brunn owner of Carmel Bay Co., raised a set of diverse objectives – from saving the north field at Sunset Center for baseball games to establishing a system of preferential parking for local citizens.  Their moto, “It’s your town. Start running it.”

Carmel Heritage Society 
“It’s Ours to Protect”  

Carmel Tomorrow was dubbed a “politically potent organization” and fell into disarray. In 1984 it was reborn as a new non-political group called Carmel Heritage.

“Virginia Stanton, the first president of Carmel Heritage told the Carmel Pine Cone/Carmel Valley Outlook that the group plans to work toward preservation of the village’s past without dabbling in political controversies.” (3)  

Thirty years later the Carmel Heritage Society, a non-profit organization, is still serving the City of Carmel. Their mission is to protect, preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the community in a way that encourages public recognition and participation so that people will have a greater knowledge and appreciation of the community of Carmel and its sphere of influence.

Carmel Heritage Society provides the community of Carmel with a variety of historic gifts and venues.
Besides their current project of cataloging and archiving numerous historical documents and photos from the last 100 years, the Carmel Heritage Society hosts two charming and informative tours yearly. The House and Garden Tour and Inns of Distinction are well worth the price of admission. Check out Carmel Heritage Society’s Facebook page for more details.  

Carmel Heritage Society‘s home is First Murphy House, which is a living history museum of the 100 year history of Carmel-by-the-Sea.  One piece of this living history stands just outside the front door.  It is the wooden Milk Shrine, once used by Carmelites for their milk deliveries. 

First Murphy House is staffed by volunteers and the hours are posted on the front door at Lincoln and Sixth.  

First Murphy Park

First Murphy Park is a wonderful addition to the grounds of First Murphy House. It is an area of native plants and benches, and a delightful place to sit and just let time pass. 

In 1994, The Valentine, a bronze sculpture figure by George Wayne Lundeen, of an elderly couple seated on a bench was purchased by the City of Carmel for $40,000 to grace the southeast corner of the park.  
As someone views and touches a piece of my work, it is  my sincere hope that they will look past that hard surface of bronze to find the life which I try so much to capture within.” (George Wayne Lundeen)
Mr. Lundeen most certainly captured life in The Valentine.  Every time I walk by this statue, I am reminded of my parents who honeymooned at the Pine Inn in 1940, and were married for 70 years.  

If you visit the living history museum at First Murphy House, take time to meander the paths of First Murphy Park.

Rest on a bench,
or check out the upper deck
with it’s ocean view. 

The landscape 
with it’s wall of large boulders, 

was designed for Carmel’s
maritime climate with native and drought
resistant plants such as Sea Lavender,

and Rockrose.

The newest addition to the grounds is a commemorative bench dedicated in honor of Enid Sales, a historic preservationist, who was also instrumental in the community effort to save First Murphy House.   

The First Murphy Park is open sunrise to sunset.  There are public restrooms at the southwest corner of the park.

(1) Michael Butowotch, “Frustrated Residents Form Old Carmel,” The Carmel Pine Cone, (10/14/76): 3.
(2) Michael Gardner, “Carmel Heritage Hopes to Preserve Village History,” The Carmel Pine Cone (4/19/84).
(3) ibid. 

Photo Credits
Photographs – L. A. Momboisse –
Except those listed below:
.– Black and White Photo by Ben Lloyd of The Herald of Carmel Heritage Society Honorees, Marjory Lloyd, Virginia Stanton, and Helen Wilson. (The Herald (11/27/1990), 3D)
Carmel, Carmel Heritage Society, Carmel History,, Michael J. Murphy

First Murphy House – Home of the Carmel Heritage Society

Michael J. Murphy

Born on June 26, 1885, Michael J. Murphy was one of the twelve children of Michael and Emma of Minden, Utah.  He grew up on the family cattle and horse ranch in Utah until his father’s untimely death in a horse accident in 1893. 

The ranch became too much for Emma and her five unmarried children, so she moved the family to Los Angeles.  Here Michael learned the trade of carpentry. 

In 1900 Emma learned of a small settlement starting up near Monterey, called Carmel-by-the-Sea and decided to take Michael and his ten year old sister Myrtle north for a visit. They traveled by train to Monterey and then took a stagecoach over the hill to Carmel. 

In 1902 Mr. Murphy built his first home, for his mother and sister.  By 1904 he had become associated with Franklin Devendorf as a builder for Carmel Development Company. 

Franklin Devendorf had purchased much of the land in Carmel and was subdividing and selling the parcels. He wanted to sell the lots with homes.  So in 1903 Devendorf ordered 100 “portable houses,” to put on the lots he had for sale.  What was delivered however, were 100 doors.

Devendorf used the doors to create one house. (Insistently this house, “Door House,” still exists and will be part of the Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour 2014.)  But Franklin Devendorf needed more than one house for all the lots he had for sale.  So he asked young M. J. Murphy who had only built one house, to help him build the houses he needed.    

Murphy developed his own designs and did most of the building himself. As his reputation grew, more and more people wanted Murphy homes.  “In 1914 he became a general contractor and in 1924, he established M. J. Murphy, Inc., a business which sold building supplies, did rock crushing and concrete work, and operated a lumber mill and cabinet shop business situated between San Carlos and Mission streets.” (1)  The lumber mill was located where the Wells Fargo Bank and parking lot are today, and the lumber yard where the Carmel Plaza is today.    

Over 300 buildings in Carmel are attributed to Michael J. Murphy, most notably The Highlands Inn, the Carmel Art Association, the Harrison Memorial Library, the Pine Inn, Sea View House and First Murphy House.  Murphy’s influence on the character of both residential and business districts was tremendous.  

Mr. Murphy was also hired by Robinson Jeffers to build Tor House.  During the first stage of construction Jeffers studied under Murphy as an apprentice.  After learning all the trades, Jeffers went on to finish the house and build Hawk Tower.

Mr, Murphy retired in 1941 and turned his business over to his son Frank. Today, M. J. Murphy, Inc is operated by his grandsons out of Carmel Valley.  

First Murphy House

Michael J. Murphy was not a proponent of any particular style when he built his first house for his mother and sister in 1902.  This home, an 820 square foot cottage, is a mixture of Victorian (Queen Anne bay windows) and a Craftsman Bungalow (rectangular single story style).

Over the years the home was remodeled, moved, and eventually ended up in the middle of the commercial district on Mission between Fifth and Sixth for use as a storage unit.

In 1990 Murphy’s first house was purchased by developers who planned on tearing it down.  

With the lack of funds, need for a new location for the house, and the developers pressuring for demolition, the odds of saving the house seemed insurmountable. 

But Carmelites can be tenacious.  To save the house from demolition, and with the support of the Carmel Heritage Society, the citizens of Carmel formed the First Murphy Foundation, which raised $16,000 for the relocation of First Murphy House.  

The City of Carmel offered city-owned property at Sixth and Lincoln for the relocation site, and the house was declared historical.  

One morning residents awoke to find the
First Murphy House rising above the trees,

being transported through town
 (almost as if leading a parade),

and deposited at its present location
 next to what would become First Murphy Park.

After relocation, renovation of the little cottage began. Project Architect, Brian Congelton of Congleton Architect,  spent a great deal of time insuring that the First Murphy House would conform to its original design. 

The project was completed in the summer of 1992 and First Murphy House became the home and welcome center for Carmel Heritage Society.  

Inside visitors will find a living history museum of Carmel.  They may also purchase the video Don’t Pave Main Street.  This video on Carmel history is narrated by former mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea Clint Eastwood.

Also available for purchase is The Comstock Fairy Tale Cottages of Carmel, by Joanne Mathewson, the second edition, published by Carmel resident Stephanie Ager Kirz of White Dog Press.  

 First Murphy House
Welcome Center 
Carmel Heritage Society 

Next History of Carmel Heritage Society and First Murphy Park

(1) Hale, Sharron Lee. A Tribute to Yesterday (Valley Publishers Santa Cruz, 1980), 20.

Photo CreditsPhotographs – L. A. Momboisse – Except those listed below: 

– Black and White Photo of M. J. Murphy with wife and children, 1910. (M. J. Murphy Hardware Carmel Valley)
– Black and White Photo of M. J. Murphy with his mother and sister in front of First Murphy House. (Harrison Memorial Library Local History Department)

– Three Color Photos of First Murphy House relocation. (Harrison Memorial Library Local History Department)
– Black and White Photo of the dedication of First Murphy House as Carmel Heritage Welcome Center.  Pictured (l to r) Susan Draper, Lacy Buck, Carmel Heritage President Kay Prine, Burney Threadgill, Glenn Leidig, and Jean Draper.  Prine holds a plaque dedicating the house to the late Carmel philanthropist and first President of Carmel Heritage Society, Virginia Stanton. (Deborah Sharp, “Carmel Heritage Officially Opens Welcome Center.”  Carmel Pine Cone, (1992).