Belle House, Carmel Heritage Society,, Michael J. Murphy, The First Murphy House

Carmel Heritage Society House and Garden Tour 2015 – Part 1 – First Murphy House & Belle House

First Murphy House 
Lincoln and 6th Avenue

Eight houses were on this years House and Garden Tour. Our first house is home to the Carmel Heritage Society, The First Murphy House was built in 1902 by 17 year old Michael J. Murphy.

In 1900 Emma Murphy brought her 15 year old son and 10 year old daughter to Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Emma had read about this new village and believed her son Michael, a trained carpenter, would easily find work.  By 1902 he was working for Frank Devendorf building homes in Carmel and became the chief builder for the Carmel Development Company in 1904. 

Over 300 buildings are attributed to Michael J. Murphy, The First Murphy House being his first.  Built for his mother and sister, The First House was moved through the streets of Carmel-by-the-Sea two times and finally settled in its current location on Lincoln where in 1992 the house was completely restored by Congleton Architect AIA.  

Belle House 
4 NE of Ocean on Camino Real 

The Belle House sits back on a lot sheltered by the

rambling limbs of 23 oak trees that are almost 100 years old. 

Belle House was built by Michael J. Murphy in 1922 for J. Kleugel, an early building tradesman in Carmel. 

This Monterey Colonial style home with cantilevered balcony over the front entrance had remained little altered until the current owners lovingly restored the home – carefully adhering to its historical roots. 

The garage lean-to (which can be seen on the left side of the picture above taken in 2001) was added in 1930.  Today this is a galley-style kitchen

and breakfast room.  The ceiling beams are reclaimed wood from the lean-to garage and the 150 year old flooring and accent tiles in the breakfast room were reclaimed from other demolitions. 

The original garage doors were also re-purposed and now slide like a barn door 


separating the living/dining area from the kitchen.   

A cozy conversational area with fireplace 

and guest bedroom complete the first floor. 

From the outside, the foot print of the old lean-to garage has received a restoration/addition 

adding living space to the second floor – now a beautiful wall to wall master suite.  The bathroom features the original claw-foot tub 

while antique furniture and statuary

 whisper peace and comfort in the master suite. 

Just outside the gate to Belle House it is time to head north on Ocean Avenue and south on Dolores to Stonehaven.  

Next up, part 2 – Stonehaven, Pope House, and Banyon Hideaway

Highlights of the eight homes of the 2015 House and Garden Tour can be viewed in the following video. 

Google map of location of houses may be viewed here.  

Black and white photo courtesy of Carmel City Hall Building Department files. 

All the color photos by L. A. Momboisse.

Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour, Christian Jorgansen, Frederick Godwin,, La Playa, The First Murphy House

16th Annual Carmel Inns of Distinction – 2014 – Part 1 – First Murphy House & La Playa Carmel

Carmel Heritage Society
“It’s ours to protect.” 

First Murphy House Carmel-by-the-Sea Home of the Carmel Heritage Society photo FirstMurphyHouseAA-Copy_zpsc3836876.jpg
First Murphy House was built in 1902 by Michael J. Murphy. Today First Murphy House is home to the Carmel Heritage Society. 

On Sunday December 7th, Carmel Heritage Society held their 16th annual Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour.  This year eight unique inns in downtown Carmel-by-the Sea were featured on the tour.

The $30 ticket included a Carmel Heritage Society commemorative wine glass which I frequently used throughout the afternoon, as local wineries and restaurants provided lite bites and wine tasting at each of the inns on the tour.

The Inns of Distinction Tour is one of my favorite Carmel events.  Not only do I get to see inside the rooms of these charming inns during one of the more festive times of the year, I also enjoy the treats and tastings offered at each venue.  And I always come home with gift cards to restaurants and wine bars that far exceed the purchase price of my ticket!! 

The word on this has apparently gotten out, because this year Carmel Heritage Society had their largest number of tickets sold to date for this event! 

Here are the video highlights of the tour.


Now come along while I review the history of the inns and some of the highlights of this year’s tour. 

The La Playa Carmel 
Camino Real & Eighth Avenue 
Amenities: Complimentary Breakfast Buffet, 

Ocean View Rooms, Pool


The La Playa Carmel, known as the Grand Dame of Carmel hotels has ties to some famous Carmelites.

Christian Jorgensen was born in what is now Oslo, Norway in 1860.  His family immigrated to San Francisco in 1874 where he was “discovered” by Virgil Williams at the age of 14 as he sketched a San Francisco cityscape.

Jorgensen became the first person to receive a scholarship to the California School of Fine Arts.  After graduation he became an instructor, and it would be in one of his sketch classes that he would met his future wife, Angela Ghirardelli (as in chocolate). 

Christian and Angela married in 1883.  They had two children and spent many years traveling and painting. Christian was fascinated by the California Missions and captured all 21 of them on canvas.  


The Jorgenson’s came to Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1905 and built their home/studio on the southwest corner of Camino Real and Eighth Avenue which was completed in 1907.

In 1909 Alida Ghirardelli, daughter of Angela’s favorite brother, drowned in Carmel Bay. Others have reported that it was Angela who drowned but it was not.  Angela outlived her husband Christopher by six months, dying in January of 1936. 

The photo above shows the home/studio c. 1905 – 1907 during construction.

In 1911 the Jorgenson’s leased some of the rooms of their home to Agnes Signor for use as a boarding house. Signor had come to Carmel-by-the-Sea after the 1906 earthquake destroyed the three hotels she was managing in San Francisco.  At the time she opened the boarding house at the Jorgenson’s, she was also the manager of the Carmel Bathhouse located at the foot of Ocean Avenue.

By 1916 the Jorgenson’s sold their property to Signor who desired to make her boarding house into a fashionable hotel.  But she needed help. So she sent for her two nephews, Harrison and Fredrick Godwin.

The Godwin brothers arrived, quickly learned the hotel business, added twenty rooms to the property and opened the La Playa Hotel in 1920.

Three years later Agnes Signor died, and the Godwin brothers became the new owners.  In December of 1924 a devastating fire destroyed most of the La Playa Hotel. 

Undeterred, the Godwin brothers spent $34,500 to restore the La Playa Hotel, adding an additional thirty guest rooms. They reopened in 1925 with rooms rates starting at $2.50. 

In 1930 Fred Godwin bought out his brother Harrison’s share in the La Playa Hotel and would become the sole owner until 1963. Fred Godwin would also become mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea from 1946 to 1950. 

Since 1963 the ownership of the La Playa Hotel has changed hands a few times.  The last in 2011 when it was purchased by Classic Hotels and Resorts, renovated at the cost of $3.5 million, and reopened in August 2012 as the La Playa Carmel. 

This is my third year touring the La Playa Carmel with the Carmel Heritage Society Inns of Distinction Tour.  And it never gets old.  I am mesmerized by the building and enchanted by its story.  

Walking to the entrance one can still view the original quatrefoil window patterned after the Carmel Mission.

Jorgenson designed this window and master-mason Ben Turner, who came to what was then called Carmel City in 1896, built the window into the ground level of the stone tower. (look at the b/w pic above and you can glimpse the window on the left, in the base of the brick tower)

Pass through the lobby and
 sitting room with cozy fire burning,

to the Library.  It is here that a complimentary breakfast buffet is served daily to the hotel guests. 

During the Inns of Distinction Tour, this is the gathering place to enjoy some delectable deserts fresh from the La Playa Carmel kitchen and 

pair with a tasting of the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from Windy Oaks Winery or their 2012 Estate Pinot.  Windy Oaks just opened a tasting room in the Su Vecino Courtyard off Lincoln between Fifth and Sixth. If anyone is counting, this would be the 19th wine bar in Carmel-by-the-Sea. 

A short pause to enjoy the view of the garden below and it is time to get my peak inside an Ocean View King.

Spacious, simple and uncluttered with a delightful garden view and peak of the ocean through the plantation shutters. 

A short walk three blocks north to Lincoln Street to our next stop, the Cypress Inn.
Black and white photo of Christian Jorgensen – California State Parks Museum Collection.
Jorgensen Watercolor Carmel Mission – Paintings in permanent collection at Sonoma Mission.  Photograph from A Virtual Tour of the California Missions, Jorgensen Watercolors Collection

Black and white Photo of Jorgenson home/studio c. 1905 – courtesy of Harrison Memorial Local Library History Department.
All other photographs by L. A. Momboisse –

McGlynn, Betty Hoag. Straightening Out La Playa’s History. The Sun, November 25, 1992, p.2.

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.

A Storybook Cottage, Carmel, Carmel Heritage Society, Historical Home,, Hugh Comstock, Hugh W. Comstock Residence, Michael J. Murphy, Obers, The First Murphy House

Carmel by the Sea House and Garden Tour 2013 – Part I – Carmel by the Sea

On an unseasonably sunny day in mid June, I set on the Carmel Heritage Society’s House and Garden Tour sponsored by Sotheby’s International Realty  and Village Corner Restaurant to explore eight of Carmel’s historical and quaint cottages. The owners of these homes meticulously care for them and have graciously opened their front gate and front doors to the community. It is a marvelous opportunity to learn more about the architects that built the first homes in Carmel-by-the-Sea as well as discover how we can continue to preserve these buildings, which are “ours to protect,” through the Carmel Heritage Society.    

We will be touring the work of three creative Carmel architects, two of which I have written extensively on before. You may read more about their life and work in my past posts on Michael J. Murphy and Hugh W. Comstock.  

The First Murphy House 
Lincoln and 6th Avenue

Built by Michael J. Murphy when he was 17 years old, the 111 year old First Murphy House is an 829 square foot cottage that today houses the office for the Carmel Heritage Society, a non-profit organization serving the community of Carmel-by-the-Sea.  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.

In 1990 when the First Murphy House was facing the possibility of demolition, the Carmel community came together and formed the First Murphy House Committee under the auspices of the Carmel Heritage Society.

With the committee’s efforts, $16,000 in donations were quickly raised to save Mr. Murphy’s first architectural achievement, and this home was literally lifted up by a crane, transported through town (almost as if leading a parade) and deposited into its present location next to what became First Murphy Park.

The newest addition to the grounds of the First Murphy House 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.   

With a filtered view of Carmel Bay, First Murphy Park and Gardens sits adjacent to First Murphy House.

The meandering paths and benches make it a lovely place to sit and have lunch.  In the southwest corner, down the stairs from the upper deck there are public restrooms. 

My favorite part of the park is “The Valentine” a bronze sculpture by George Wayne Lundeen of an 

elderly couple sitting quietly, their heads leaning together in a comfortable gesture of compatibility, the woman holds a heart shaped valentine, and they both appear lost in a daydream of years filled with shared memories.  

But, no time to sit and daydream,
 we have places to be and homes to see.

 Hugh W. Comstock Residence
 NE Corner Torres & Sixth 

Formerly known as “Obers” this whimsical storybook style residence has reclaimed its Comstock designation with a new name, the Hugh W. Comstock Residence.   Built in 1925 for $1,000 this residence was just that, the private home of Hugh and his wife Mayotta, who lived there until Hugh’s death in 1950.

A new roof was completed just a few days before the house tour by  Alcal Specialty Contracting, Inc.  The roofers worked cautiously on the steeply pitched roof for almost two weeks, hand cutting and staggering the wood shingles, laying them in such a precise manner, as if putting pieces of a intricate puzzle together.  The resulting pattern suggests thatching, and replicates the original roof. 

The current owners who have owned the property since 1985 have kept it in pristine condition meticulously preserving all the original Comstock features except…  

the adobe patio that was built by Hugh Comstock in 1940, using his newly fabricated Post-Adobe method.  It was one of his earlier experiments with the material and the patio did not stand up to the test of time.  


Abbey Baker Design Build renovated the patio with Carmel Stone, paying special attention to keeping the exact footprint of the original Post-Adobe patio, fireplace, and wall;

 at the same time leaving a small portion of the wall, for historical purposes, in its original form on the northwest side of the property. 

When Hugh Comstock built his home in 1925, it consisted of an entryway, living area, upper loft, and attic, a cozy 400 square feet of living space, with an exterior wall of cement stucco, patterned after his first storybook house, Hansel.


Inside this tiny cottage, Hugh built an open hand-hewn redwood beam ceiling low over the first floor living area.

In fact only two rows of the three-tier mullioned windows visible from the outside are visible from the first floor living area. 

 The upper row is covered by 

the attic wall and ceiling. 

The living area is anchored by a Comstock Carmel Stone fireplace and lit by the wood framed French doors that lead to the Comstock Studio, which became Mr. Comstock’s office following the success of his “Storybook Fairy Tale” style architecture which can clearly be seen imitated throughout Carmel-by-the-Sea. 

In 1936 Mr. Comstock experimented with a system of adding emulsified asphalt to soil to make a moisture proof adobe brick that looked identical to the Spanish adobe used to build the Carmel Mission.  By 1940 he was ready to use this new building material on an addition to his home.  The photograph below shows the Post-Adobe addition to the left of the Oak tree.  

Hugh Comstock’s Post-Adobe combined the “best features of both a sturdy timber frame and modern waterproofed adobe walls. Heavy eight-inch posts of redwood or cedar are placed at all window openings, door openings, and corners of the house…Waterproofed adobe masonry, of the same thickness as the posts, is placed in the wall spaces between the posts as a filler material (as shown in the illustration below from Post-Adobe by Hugh Comstock).”  (2)
In 1948 Hugh published a “How To” booklet with simplified directions on his Post-Adobe construction.  In this booklet he used illustrations by W. Harvey Williamson of his residence that when shown side by side with current photographs confirm the lengths the owners have gone to preserve this home and its historic nature.  

The two pictures above are of the dining room.  The top from Comstock’s “How To” booklet, the bottom the room today, with the original Post-Adobe walls constructed between hand-hewn redwood timbers sitting on top of the original polished brick floors.

In the corner of the dining room is the original 73 year old fireplace with copper hood.  For a man with no architectural training, this home, as well of the others he built in Carmel, is remarkable.  
The floors in the kitchen are a continuation of the polished brick from the dining room. Though the kitchen has been modernized, it blends beautifully in seamless compatibility with the rest of the home.  
My favorite spot, the view out of the 
window over the kitchen farm sink.

Continue up the staircase in the entryway to the second floor and pass an original light fixture which had at one time adorned the outside of the home. 
From the top of the stairs, we enter a four sided balcony (part of the original 1925 house) with view to the entryway and living area below.
The detail in Comstock’s hand-hewn pierced flatwork railing is quite extraordinary. 

Here on second floor is the original attic, sleeping quarters, and tiny bathroom from 1925. 

The closed door to the left, above, is the bathroom door.  If you think you have seen this unusual door shape before, you have – It is the same style door Mr. Comstock used when he built the Tuck Box. On the right is the knotty pine arched door to the
attic area with three signature Comstock features:  a steeply pitched roof line, narrow arched three-light casement window, and  

diamond pattern leaded glass casement “eyebrow” window. A glance out this window shows a view of the Carmel Stone arch built around the front door of Comstock’s Studio

The 1940’s second floor addition houses what was originally Mayotta’s knotty pine paneled sewing room, now a guestroom.  

Through the wooden french doors is a small enclosed deck with  low railing of pierced flatwork similar in style to the inside staircase and balcony.  From this narrow balcony the Carmel stone patio by Abbey Baker Design Build is especially enjoyable today with fragrant smells wafting from the fireplace.  

A master bedroom 

and balcony with Comstock’s now signature pierced flatwork railing was also added in 1940. From this balcony the intricate and time consuming details of the new roof by  Alcal Specialty Contracting, Inc. can be seen close up.

Instead of using Post-Adobe for the walls upstairs, Mr. Comstock used a vertical board-and-batten siding.  This can be more readily seen from the outside west elevation.

In 2012, a Carmel Stone garage and bonus room was added by Abbey Baker Design Build. It was purposely built in a differentiated style from the residence.  The City of Carmel-by-the-Sea is very protective of its history, so much so that when a another building is added, not renovated, but added, to a lot with an existing historical dwelling, the new structure must be built so that when one looks at the lot from the street they will immediately know that the new building is not part of the original structure.  And just to make things more challenging for the modern architect, the new structure must not only be differentiated it must also be complimentary.  

Which is exactly what has been done with Hugh W. Comstock Residence.

Just around the corner in the Comstock Historical Hill District is our next destination.

A Storybook Cottage 

Santa Fe between 5th and 6th 

One block northeast of the Hugh W. Comstock Residence, Hugh’s father-in-law, Thomas M. Browne purchased a lot.  In 1926, Mr. Browne acquired a permit to build a small structure on the eastern side of the property.  

Fifteen years later, after the death of Mr. Browne, his widow, Mayotta’s mother, sold the property to the Comstock’s for $10.

Hugh Comstock built a 384 square foot cottage at the western edge of the lot in 1941, using many of his signature architectural features; the high pitched roof, door hood, side facing front door, Carmel Stone chimney, hand carved wood window casings and rough textured cement stucco exterior wall cladding.  

In 1987 owner Joan Bard added a two story 693 square foot addition to the back of the existing cottage, increasing the size of the kitchen and adding two bedrooms. 

Joan Bard used materials, such as stucco siding, which was similar to that found on the original 1941 building, but in a report by Kent Seavey dated May 15, 2012 to City Planner Sean Conroy, it was determined that the use of vinyl windows with snap-in diamond pattern mutins and the pierced decorative wood railings used in the 1987 addition detracted from the historical integrity of the property.  Consequently on May 22, 2012 the property was determined to be ineligible for listing on the City’s Inventory of Historic Resources.

Before the present owners took possession of the property a shed and 167 square foot studio were added to the easternmost portion of the lot.  

On the House and Garden Tour we enjoyed a beautifully renovated Storybook Cottage.  The new owners, Harry and Jane Herbst, are admirers of Comstock’s work, and in their restoration incorporated some of his signature details from Marchen Haus in the main house and Hansel in the studio. 

The vinyl windows were replaced 

with wood crank windows and  

the old studio received 80 additional square feet making it a comfortable guest house with bedroom, half bath, and cozy sitting area. 

A detached one car garage was added adjacent to the original cottage.  It has similar characteristics as the residence, hand-carved wood window casings and roof edge, high pitched roof line, and exposed rafters, yet it will be differentiated by being built with board and batten exterior siding instead of stucco cladding as in the original 1941 cottage.   

The result, great care was taken in the restoration of this home by Bell and McBride Builders  and the current owners to continue to embrace the Comstock style and character.  It is stunning!  A year ago I named this home “Browne House” and included it in my map of the Comstock Historical Hill District that can be printed off and used as a self-guided tour. Welcome A Storybook Cottage to the Comstock Historical Hill District of Carmel-by-the-Sea. 

Next up: Forest Cottage built by Frederick Bigland, Holly Oak Cottage Garden, home built by Michael J. Murphy and All the Way the mysterious hidden American Foursquare I have walked by for 40 years, now I know what beauty lies behind that fence.   

House and Garden Tour Part 2 – Forest Cottage, All the Way, Holly Oak Cottage
House and Garden Tour Part 3  – Hob Nob, Carmel Cottage Inn



Black and white photo Michael J. Murphy’s mother Emma (left), Murphy, and his wife Edna standing in front of the first home Mr. Murphy built in 1902. Kent Seavey, Images of America Carmel A History In Architecture (Arcadio Publishing, 2007), 36. Photograph from Harrison Memorial Library Collection.

Two color pictures from 1990 the relocation of the First Murphy House to present location, courtesy of Harrison Memorial Local History Library donated by Harrison Comstock.

Black and white photo Hugh and Mayotta Comstock in front of the east entrance to Hugh Comstock Residence, courtesy of the Harrison Memorial Local History Library.  

(1) Photo courtesy of Abbey Baker Design Build

Black and white photo Hugh Comstock Residence shortly after construction in 1925. Seavey, p. 81. Photograph from Pat Hathaway Historic California Views. 

Black and white photo of Comstock personal residence circa 1940. Seavey, p. 117.Photography by Morley Baer, courtesy of Monterey Peninsula College.  

(2) Hugh Comstock, Post-Adobe – How to booklet published 1948. 

Color picture of  vinyl windows of 1987 addition to A Storybook Cottage copied from Carmel-By-The-Sea City Hall Building Department files.  

All other color photographs by L. A. Momboisse

Bowhay House, Carmel Heritage Society, Historical Home,, Michael J. Murphy, Rendtorff House, The First Murphy House

Carmel House and Garden Tour 2012 (Michael J. Murphy)

Carmel House and Garden Tour 2012
Michael J. Murphy
Prolific Designer and Builder
One of twelve children, Michael J. Murphy was born in 1884 to Michael and Emma.  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 they moved to Los Angeles.  Here Michael learned the trade of carpentry.  Emma had read about a small settlement starting up near Monterey, called Carmel-by-the-Sea.  In 1900 she took Michael and her ten year old daughter Myrtle to Monterey by train and then over the hill to Carmel by stagecoach. 

Having been trained as a carpenter, Michael immediately went to work for Franklin Devendorf who had purchased much of the land in Carmel and was subdividing and selling parcels.  Devendorf needed homes to be built for these lots, he chose Murphy to build many of them. 
Murphy using his own designs and doing most of the building himself, constructed quality homes.  As his reputation grew, more and more people wanted Murphy homes.  In 1914 he opened his own contracting business and lumber and building supply store.   

Over 300 buildings are attributed to Michael J. Murphy, most notably The Highlands Inn, the Carmel Art Association, The Holiday House, the Harrison Memorial Library, The Pine Inn,
 The Sea View Inn,
The First Murphy House,
and Bowhay House (the last two homes we will see on the House and Garden Tour).  He also worked with Robinson Jeffers on the Tor House.  It is estimated that about 80% of the homes in Carmel were designed or constructed by Mr. Murphy by the 1930’s.

Mr. Murphy retired in 1941 turning his business over to his son Frank.  M. J. Murphy, Inc is now operated by his two grandsons out of Carmel Valley.
The First Murphy House
Block 54/Lincoln & 6th

The Murphy House was the first home constructed by Michael J. Murphy. He built this when he was 17 years old, in 1902, for his mother and sister.

Mr. Murphy was not a proponent of any particular style, but his earlier homes were a mixture of Late Victorian (Queen Anne bay windows) and Craftsman Bungalow (horizontal, prairie layout) style.
His first home was an 820 square foot cottage.  Over the years it was remodeled, moved, and ended up in the middle of the commercial district on Mission between Fifth and Sixth used as a storage unit.

In 1990 the cottage was purchased by 

developers who had planned on tearing it down.

 The citizens of Carmel formed 
the First Murphy Foundation 
in order to save the cottage from demolition. 

The foundation raised $16,000, had the house moved to its current location on Lincoln and Sixth and declared the building historical.

The Bowhay House
Block FF/ Lot 20, 22
Camino Real Between 4th and Ocean Avenue
Originally owned by Prof. Karl Rendtorff a professor of Germanic language at Stanford University, and his wife Emma. This property was purchased in 1913 for $130.
Michael J. Murphy, having established himself as a master-builder, was retained by Prof. Rendtorff to build his summer home. 
In the early years of the 19th century, the first two blocks of Camino Real off Ocean Avenue were once known as “Professors Row.”  There were no trees below Camino Real in the early days of Carmel, so these houses had uninterrupted views of Carmel Bay and beyond.  Most of the professors along the row were from Stanford University.  The Rendtorff/Bowhay residence is one of the few remaining “Professors Row” homes.  Currently this 3 bedroom, 2 full and 1 1/2 bathroom, 2371 square foot home is for sale for $2,375,000.
Mr. Murphy originally built this home around 1915 for the Rendtorrf’s.  It is considered a Craftsman style home, but it has been updated over the years.  The garage shown above was an addition. 
This is a one-and-one-half story wood framed Craftsman with wood single and horizontal shiplap wood siding as the exterior wall cladding. 
Enter via mud room,
 to the dining,
and master.
Gertrude, daughter of Prof. Karl and Mrs. Rendtorff lived in the family home after the passing of her parents. 
She became Dean of Girls at the Monterey High School and was voted, Woman of the Year by the peninsula Quota Club in 1965.  She loved to entertain in the gardens (current jungle) of the Rendtorff home,  
off the back patio.
Next up, Frank Lloyd Wright House

on Carmel Point, a Little House in the forest,
and a Cornerstone cottage.

Black and White photographs courtesy of the Harrison Memorial Library Collection

Two color photographs of the moving of Murpy House courtesy of Henry Meade Williams Local History Department, Harrison Memorial Library.  

All other photography by L. A. Momboisse