A spirited political history has kept Carmel small

Steinbeck wrote it was a cruel paradox that the people who made Carmel such a livable place could no longer live there.

Perry Newberry, an editor and early Carmel mayor established Carmel’s legendary political indiviuality in 1916 when he ran with this media bite:

Believing that what 9,999 towns of 10,000 want is just what Carmel shouldn’t have, I am a candidate for trustee on the platform, DON’T BOOST. I am making a spirited campaign to win by asking those sho disagree with me to vote against me.

Don’t vote for Perry Newberry

If you hope to see Carmel become a city.

If you want its growth boosted.

If you desire its commercial success.

If street lamps on its corners mean happiness to you.

If concrete street pavements represent your civic ambitions.

If you think that a glass factory is of greater value than a sand dune, or a millionaire than an artist, or a mansion than a little brown cottage.

If you truly want Camel to become a boosting, hustling, wide awake lively metropolis.


Great residential battles were fought in Carmel. Successive waves of commercial growth threatened to obliterate the residential character of the village. With each threat came a reaction among the electorate to preserve the neighborhood, small town ambiance.

During the first movement a Magna Carta was adopted by the town folks that ordained residents needs should be the purpose of business, not tourism.

A major beach side resort development was defeated. Time after time, big developments were beated back by a conservation ethic. But, the challenge goes on.

Commercial developers put the appeal of Carmel as a place to shop in peril. Most of the residents don’t want large chain stores, hotels and tour buses. But business interests view the town’s artistic and woodsy charm as a gold mine for drawing wealthy shoppers. So, they push for more retail development. Another irony, a hoisting by their own petard, that hopefully won’t come to a dreadful conclusion.

Most Carmel residences are still modest cottages. But there is pressure to sell to speculators who want to build palaces for new rich people.

The dream gets stressed. Always the same irony.

Rich people see how quaint and filled with character Carmel is, so they try to buy up little adorable homes that constitute the charming character -so they can tear them down and build characterless monsters to suit their own uncharming image.

Back to Carmel-by-the-Sea

Pelican Network Front Page

Mary Austin in Carmel

Devendorf’s Carmel Dream

Gateway to Monterey Bay

Central Coast Map