Monday, December 1, 2008
(Photo: Tree on Carmel Beach courtesy of Dublin Patty,all rights reserved.)
The New York Times once published a profile of Carmel that said it may be the only community in America that numbers its trees but not its houses. Quirky, perhaps, but it was a drive to protect the trees that led the colorful Bohemians of the artists' colony in 1916 to incorporate the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea. They wanted to make a law to keep people from cutting trees. The actual numbering of the trees hasn't been undertaken for decades, and houses in the original village have remained unnumbered. When state legislators proposed a law in 1953 that would have required all houses in California to be numbered, Carmel threatened to secede from the state. More recently, the US Postal Service told residents they would have to use building numbers to get door-to-door delivery. As a result, the city now pays a private messenger to carry mail to those who want home delivery – about 5 percent of the populace.