Dedicated to the Future of Our Past
Carmel Valley Historical Society History
The Carmel Valley Historical Society has always been committed to the preservation of Carmel Valley’s uniquely rich California history; its early motto being “Dedicated to the Future of Our Past.”
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.
Rosie’s Cracker Barrel was the site of many early CVHS meetings
A collections committee was formed and had its first meeting at Rosie’s Cracker Barrel on March 9, 1987. Thereafter, it met at Rosie’s every Tuesday evening for many years. These early meetings were a delightfully memorable experience for its founding members.
CVHS soon incorporated and became a non-profit organization with a 501(C)(3) status. In 1991 a Board of Directors was formed and the Society became a member of the Conference of California Historical Societies and the Carmel Valley Chamber of Commerce.
CVHS’ founding members were:
- Stew and Sandy Clough
- Ev Parker
- Marvin Pylate
- Marilyn Raynes
- Dolores McGlochlin
- Elizabeth Barratt
- Julie Risdon
- Richard Barratt
- Doyt Early
- Maxine Kent Callinan
- Julia Harvey
- Dan Callinan
- Fawn Nicholsen
- Frank Quilty
- Marion Weygers
- Susan Villucci
Originating member Delores McGlochlin recalls the early days
Its founding members initially raised funds to purchase and remodel a building in the Village “for ongoing research, education, and display of our already substantial archives.” Stew Clough and Marvin Pylate organized and conducted many field trips. Chairman Clough held many interesting meetings and speeches at local clubs and schools, retirement homes, and libraries promoting the Society. A mobile museum concept was also considered to expand museum accessibility. Mr. Clough also spearheaded the Carmel Valley’s 1989 Centennial celebration which drew statewide attention and attracted many prominent people.
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.
Reversing its earlier plans to purchase an existing building (Cooper Ranch house, Bank of America), the Board eventually agreed to build a new building for its museum. Marj Ingram and Joseph Hertlein were the building’s architects in the 2007-2008 time period. With sufficient funds then available and after many years of dreaming and planning, construction on the Society’s new building broke ground in January 2009 and it was finally completed in early 2012. In June of 2012 the Society was granted its building use permit.
The Museum building was completed in 2012
The Society holds many fund raisers including Rummage Sales and annual Cowboy Shows, and participates in the yearly Carmel Valley Fiesta. Funds and services also came from many generous residents and businesses.
CVHS Limited Edition Centennial Belt Buckle
Founding member and local artist Julia Harvey designed the Society’s iconic logo and at its inception in 1987, its members accepted it as its official logo. It was then made into a limited edition buckle design for the 1889-1989 Carmel Valley Centennial by Carmel Valley silversmith Ken Ramoni and was produced in sterling silver by Diablo Mfg. Co. of Grass Valley. The original design for the buckle was created by Maurice and Julia Harvey.
In May 1990, Julia Harvey also proposed a motto for the Society which was accepted by the members: “Dedicated to the future of our past.” In 1997 the Carmel Valley History Society officially became the Carmel Valley Historical Society.
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.
CVHS Membership Mailing Project, 2014
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.
Visitors to the History Center lately have probably delighted in viewing the many historic signs hanging from its outside walls. Projects like this can be challenging but are rewarding when visitors give us positive feedback. Or not: some have pointedly asked: “What is that McDonald’s Coming Soon sign doing up there??”
30 minutes. Jeff Ohlson of the Carmel Valley Historical Society gives an overview of the history of Carmel Valley’s Cachagua Fire Department. This presentation takes you from its formative days of the mid-1970s to present. The presentation includes the history of the department’s founders and directors, its volunteer firefighters and their rigorous training, their fire vehicles, its legendary fundraising and community support, and major fire incidents.
We are happy to share with you the results of our latest endeavor – a Virtual Tour of the History Center!
Great news! All of the Historical Society’s old newsletters have now been added to the “Newsletter Archives” page (click on News -> Newsletter Archives).
A comprehensive history of the department recounts its early days to present. It includes many photos of volunteers in training or during actual emergencies.