Friday, November 21, 2008
(Photo: Mission Ranch in 2008 courtesy of Conan C. Cotrell.)
Clint Eastwood saved the popular Mission Ranch from demolition in 1986, the same year he was elected mayor of Carmel, by buying the rustic structures and surrounding acreage to keep them from being replaced by a planned condo complex. The property was once part of the Carmel Mission, overseen by Father Junipero Serra and the Spanish priests after they moved from Monterey in 1771. Mexico gained independence from Spain and closed the missions in 1834, selling the lands around them to settlers moving into California. This scenic setting along the Carmel River passed through several owners before John Martin bought it in the 1850s, put cows in the pastures, and started a dairy business. The dairy was replaced in 1937 by a private tennis/swim club, which became an officers' club in World War II, and eventually a public bar/restaurant/resort and the most enduring nightspot in the area.