Carmel Heritage Society,, Los Abuelos, Studio for Florence Lockwood, The First Murphy House

Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour 2014 – First Murphy House, Los Abuelos, & Studio for Florence Lockwood

First Murphy House
Lincoln and 6th Avenue 

In 1900 Emma Murphy, a widow, brought her 15 year old son Michael J. Murphy and 10 year old daughter Myrtle to Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Emma had read about this new village and believed her son, a trained carpenter would quickly find work. 

By 1902 Michael was working for Franklin Devendorf building homes in Carmel and became the chief builder for the Carmel Development Company in 1904.  In 1914, Mr. Devendorf helped Murphy open his own contracting business and lumber and building supply store in town (located where Carmel Plaza is today).  

Over 300 buildings are attributed to Murphy, most notably the Highlands Inn, Carmel Art Association,  Harrison Memorial Library, and the Pine Inn. 

Murphy built his first house for his mother and sister in 1902 when he was 17 years old.  Today the First Murphy House is home to Carmel Heritage Society.   

The First Murphy House was completely restored in 1992 by Congleton Architect AIA and today serves as a meeting place and museum.  

M. J. Murphy Lumber and Hardware continues today and is run by Murphy’s relatives in the heart of Carmel Valley.  

Los Abuelos
San Carlos and Santa Lucia

“The property containing Los Abuelas was originally owned by Prof. George Boke, Dean of the Law School at U.C. Berkeley.

Purchased in 1907, it consisted of 8 lots. Prof. Boke, who was active in the Forest Theater, sold 3 lots to Charles & Gertrude Eells, who, according to city records, may have incorporated an existing building into their new home, which was designed by Michael J. Murphy in 1928.” (1)  

In 1931 Murphy added
 an upstairs bedroom. 

This addition at the eastern elevation created a carriage porch below.

Murphy went on to make two more additions for the Eells Family. Another upstairs bedroom in 1933, this time on the northwestern elevation, and in 1938 a bay window on the first level. 

The Monterey Pine tree in the back yard, which towers over the home, was listed as Grand Champion (1998 – 2003) in the National Register of Big Trees. 

Murphy constructed this house using Carmel manufactured speed-block, and redwood from Big Sur.  

Original glass doors and windows feature metal muntins. 

The floors are also original, made of Monterey County oak milled by Murphy at his lumber yard. 
Carmel blacksmith, Francis Whitaker supplied a number of original ironwork pieces: hinges on the front gate, 

kitchen light fixture
(later electrified),

and banister 

with Whitaker signature “Dragon Head.” 

This historic home built by Michael J. Murphy has been owned by the same family since 1957.  Currently it is for sale with Christie’s International.

Studio for Florence Lockwood
Ocean and Forest 

Portrait artist Florence Lockwood was 36 years old when she arrived in Carmel in 1932. A native of Santa Cruz, she received her early art training at Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco.

Around 1940 she met and married film, television, and stage actor, Steve Cochran who had arrived in Carmel to perform in the Carmel Shakespeare Festival. They had one daughter Xandria and divorced in 1946. 

Member of the Carmel Art Association, Ms. Lockwood exhibited her one-person show there in 1950.

In 1940 Ms. Lockwood hired Hugh Comstock to build her an artist studio/house on the NW corner of Carpenter and Ocean.  

Comstock, who by the 1940’s was building far more than his namesake “fairy tale” houses, built a 970 square foot home in what was considered the San Francisco Bay Regional style of architecture.  From the eastern elevation it mimics the “salt-box” style common on the east coast and the western prairie during the 1800’s.  

Comstock used redwood siding for the exterior and covered the entire east wall in Carmel stone.  

Inside, past the Dutch door is the 550 square foot studio Florence used to produce many of her portraits.

“It went quite easily from the start,” she says.  “My friends dropped in at the studio to have their portraits made, and then their friends came.  I thought the professional side would be difficult, but it seems that work of this kind attracts charming people, and a good relationship follows.  It’s all such an easy process.  I’m amazed that it’s actually supporting me.” (2) 

On the north wall Comstock incorporated a large window with attached skylight to provide the natural light Ms. Lockwood desired for her portrait work. 

The homes original Victorian tin paneled fireplace, 

 was given new life by the current owners. 

The rest of this quaint artist cottage features a galley kitchen, 

  one bath and charming bedroom. 

The cottage is now owned by another artist, this time a musician, Marilyn Ross and jazz pianist Dick Whittington. Dick, who entertained us during the House and Garden Tour with his extensive repertoire of musical numbers has been playing piano regularly at the Cypress Inn since 2005 check out the Cypress Inn calendar.

Part 2 – The Walker House built by Frank Lloyd Wright, and Fields House.
Part 3 – Door House and Forge In the Forest


(1) Carmel City Hall, Building, Structure, and Object Record, Los Abuelas, Evaluator Kent Seavey, 5/13/2002.
(McGrath, Virginia (1952, May). Florence Lockwood. Game and Gossip, p 15.


All photographs by L. A. Momboisse unless otherwise noted below: 

– Black and white photo of Michael J. Murphy, his mother and sister in front of the first house he built, c. 1906. (Courtesy of Harrison Memorial Library History Department)  

– Black and white photo, Florence Lockwood self-portrait. (McGrath, Virginia (1952, May). Florence Lockwood. Game and Gossip, p 15.

–  Black and white photo, portrait by Florence Lockwood 1946. (Courtesy of Carmel Art Association)

– Color picture of fireplace at Studio for Florence Lockwood before renovations provided by current owners.