The first meeting of the Society took place in January of 1987 after the Carmel Valley Sun publisher, Dick Heuer, ran an editorial which stated the need for a local history society. This generated many responses from local residents, culminating in a meeting organized by Mr. Heuer which was attended by 28 interested persons, including representatives from the Monterey County Historical Advisory Commission. During this meeting, each attendee described how they could contribute to the goals of the future historical society. Thereafter, the first meeting of the Carmel Valley Historical Society took place on February 10, 1987 in the Fellowship Hall at the Carmel Valley Community Chapel with 25 people attending.
CVHS’ founding members were:
- Stew and Sandy Clough
- Ev Parker
- Marvin Pylate
- Marilyn Raynes
- Doyt Early
- Maxine Kent Callinan
- Julia Harvey
- Dan Callinan
- Dolores McGlochlin
- Elizabeth Barratt
- Julie Risdon
- Richard Barratt
- Fawn Nicholsen
- Frank Quilty
- Marion Weygers
- Susan Villucci
The founding collection committee acquired a significant collection of artifacts and memorabilia through the years. Since its inception, one of the Society’s primary goals has been the documenting of oral histories from old timers who knew the valley “as it used to be” – when farming and ranching were the primary way of life. Audio and video tapes capture a fading insight into historic Carmel Valley life. As many vintage homes and barns were being lost to “progress,” the Society actively proceeded to identify and photograph those sites connected with Carmel Valley’s early history. It also intended to pursue restoration recommendations as practicality and funding permitted.
In the quarter century since the founding of CVHS, many past board members, members, and volunteers have made CVHS what it is today. Of special mention is past Society president and noted local piano tuner Ellsworth Gregory whose passionate dedication to the Society and its history and artifacts are a CVHS cornerstone. Founding member and noted historian Elizabeth Barratt’s book “Images of America, Carmel Valley” (Arcadia Publishing, 2009) is a definitive writing on Carmel Valley’s history and its peoples. Proceeds from the book go to CVHS and other history-preserving resources.
The Society’s barn-like architecture building is located just north of the Carmel Valley Road on donated land on the southeast corner of the Carmel Valley Village’s Community Park.
The Society now has over 200 members; for more on the Board of Directors, click here.
Some of the Society’s noteworthy artifacts now include:
- A library of over 350 books, numerous pamphlets, newspapers, photo albums, and biographies relevant to Carmel Valley and Monterey County history – a special thank you to founding board member Stephanie Culbert for her considerable efforts over the years in this endeavor
- An antique rosewood square grand piano, the first in Monterey County and Carmel Valley – it was built in New York in the 1840s and shipped around South America’s Cape Horn, eventually gracing the Hatton family living room in Carmel Valley for many years. Donated in 1991 by the William McAuly family, Hatton family descendants.
- James Ziegler’s photography collection – featuring local cowboys on working ranches of the 1970’s
- Berta Ranch artifacts – Leo Berta’s saddle & chaps, an old pear orchard wagon, and an official 1898 Land Grant map of Monterey County
- Carmel Valley local newspaper collections dating from the 1940’s – many donated by Lou Gardner and Marvin Pylate
- A collection of photographic negatives from past issues of the CV Outlook and CV News as well as photographs and files from the CV Sun – plus a collection of CV resident obituaries
- Joseph J. Hitchcock’s autobiography, “Memoirs of Carmel Valley and The Monterey Peninsula”
- Artist/photographer George Seideneck’s paintings and photographs from the 1940s
- Don Howard’s Indian Artifacts Collection
- Pasquinelli family’s Wine Vat and Grape Crusher
- Doyt Early’s block prints, watercolors, and memorabilia
- Alex Weygers art work, photography, and memorabilia
- Donations continue to come in and are processed by the Collections Committee each week.