Carmel Highlands, California

Coordinates: 36°30′15″N 121°55′54″W / 36.50417°N 121.93167°W / 36.50417; -121.93167
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Carmel Highlands, California
Carmel Highlands viewed from the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
Carmel Highlands, California is located in California
Carmel Highlands, California
Carmel Highlands, California
Location in California
Carmel Highlands, California is located in the United States
Carmel Highlands, California
Carmel Highlands, California
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 36°30′15″N 121°55′54″W / 36.50417°N 121.93167°W / 36.50417; -121.93167
CountryUnited States
CountyMonterey County
Elevation318 ft (97 m)
Time zonePST
 • Summer (DST)PDT
ZIP code
Area code831
GNIS feature ID1759219

Carmel Highlands is an unincorporated community in Monterey County, California, United States.[1] It is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) south of Carmel-by-the-Sea (better known as simply, "Carmel"),[3] at an elevation of 318 feet (97 m).[1] Carmel Highlands is just south of the Point Lobos State Reserve, and serves as the northern gateway of the Big Sur coastline along California State Route 1. Carmel Highlands was laid out in 1916 by developers Frank Hubbard Powers and James Franklin Devendorf and the Carmel Development Company.[3]


Illustration of Carmel Highlands by Jo Mora in 1926.

In 1906, the Carmel Development Company purchased two miles (3 km) of land from the local ranchers south of Point Lobos, where it developed the Carmel Highlands. In 1915, Frank Devendorf developed the Carmel Highlands as a residential community of creative people dedicated to the arts. Devendorf and his foreman, Frank DeAmaral developed the area with the Highlands Inn as a resort hotel at the center of the development. He planted pine trees and laid out the roads and building sites. His friend, marine artist William Frederic Ritschel, helped him plan sight lines for the hotel that had views north along the coast.[4][5] The building of the Big Sur Coast Highway in the 1930s opened the area and allowed tourists to discover the area. Point Lobos, which borders the Highlands on the north, became a State Park in 1933.[6]

The Carmel Highlands was important in the development of the regional art colony during the first half of the 20th century. Here many painters and sculptors found inspiration in the rugged scenery and established studio-homes, including: Ferdinand Burgdorff, Alice Comins, Theodore Criley, Arthur Hill Gilbert, Ralph Helm Johonnot, Ada Howe Kent, George J. Koch, Louise F. MacDougal, John O'Shea, Thomas S. Parkhurst, Ira Mallory Remsen, William Frederic Ritschel, Nora Havel Ritschel.[7]

Seaward, the Carmel Highlands home of D. L. James

In 1918, writer Daniel Lewis James's father, D. L. James Sr., (1880–1944), purchased property in Carmel Highlands and hired the firm Greene and Greene to build a stone house on a bluff overlooking the water. Greene supervised the construction of the granite house that took five years to complete. The house was later called "Seaward" and was a summer retreat for the family for 20 years.[8] In 2022 actor Brad Pitt purchased Seaward for $40M.[9]

The Farrar House, also known as the Far-A-Way or Copper Spine, located in Carmel Highlands, was designed by architect Mark Mills in collaboration with Philip and Betty Farrar. Mills, who apprenticed under Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West from 1944 to 1948, created a distinctive design that caught the attention of the architectural world. The Far-A-Way house was featured in the September 2009 issue of Architectural Digest, as a true work of art.[10][11]

Ansel Adams, and Edward Weston, whose studio home, Wildcat Hill, is preserved and occupied by his grandson, Kim Weston.[12]

The local Carmel literati frequently socialized in the Highlands, including Lincoln Steffens, Ella Winter, Robinson Jeffers, and Sinclair Lewis.[7]

The real estate in the Carmel Highlands is some of the most expensive in the United States.[citation needed] Many celebrities have homes and vacation homes in this area. The ZIP Code is 93923, and the community is inside area code 831.


At the county level, Carmel Highlands is represented on the Monterey County Board of Supervisors by Supervisor Mary Adams.[13] In the California State Legislature, Carmel Highlands is in the 17th Senate District, represented by Democrat John Laird, and in the 29th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Robert Rivas.[14]

In the United States House of Representatives, Carmel Highlands is in California's 19th congressional district, represented by Democrat Jimmy Panetta.[15]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Carmel Highlands". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  2. ^ "ZIP Code(tm) Lookup". United States Postal Service. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 881. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  4. ^ Gilliam, Harold; Gilliam, Ann (1992). Creating Carmel: The Enduring Vision. Salt Lake City. pp. 14, 80, 137. ISBN 9780879053970. Retrieved March 10, 2022. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ Dramov, Alissandra (2013). Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Early Years (1903-1913). Bloomington, IN. pp. 99–100, 208, 221. ISBN 9781491824146. Retrieved January 19, 2022. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  6. ^ "Carmel Highlands Association". Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  7. ^ a b Edwards, Robert W. (2012). Jennie V. Cannon: The Untold History of the Carmel and Berkeley Art Colonies, Vol. 1. Oakland, Calif.: East Bay Heritage Project. pp. 46, 60, 138. ISBN 9781467545679. Retrieved October 8, 2022..
  8. ^ Neal Hotelling (November 15, 2019). "A Kansas family gets a Greene house by the sea" (PDF). Carmel Pine Cone. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. pp. 26–27. Retrieved July 2, 2022.
  9. ^ Katherine Clark (July 25, 2022). "Brad Pitt Pays $40 Million for Circa-1918 Coastal California Home". Wall Street Journal. NY, NY. pp. N/A. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  10. ^ Gordon, Alastair (2009). "Maritime Modern". Architectural Digest. pp. 50–54. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  11. ^ Paul, Linda Leigh (2000). "Farrar House (The Copper Spine)". Cottages by the Sea, The Handmade Homes of Carmel, America's First Artist Community. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. pp. 198–199. ISBN 9780789304957. Retrieved April 5, 2023. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  12. ^ Willner, Paul (March 18, 2011). "Edward Weston's Wildcat Hill still in the family". SFGate. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  13. ^ "Monterey County Supervisorial District 5 Map (North District 5)" (PDF). County of Monterey. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 1, 2012. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  14. ^ "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved February 2, 2015.
  15. ^ "California's 20th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  16. ^ "The Wild History Behind Brad Pitt's New $40 Million Carmel Highlands Home". July 27, 2022. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  17. ^ Coile, Zachary; Gurnon, Emily; Hatfield, Larry D. (October 13, 1997). "John Denver dies in crash". SFGate. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  18. ^ "Oscar winner Joan Fontaine dies at 96 – lived in Carmel Highlands". Monterey Herald. December 15, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015.

External links[edit]