Wednesday, January 7, 2009

His honor, the Village Smithy

John Catlin was elected mayor of Carmel in 1932 on the condition that the office wouldn't interfere with his business as the village blacksmith. A former lawyer in San Francisco, Catlin gave up that career to move to Carmel and work as an artist and blacksmith. He opened his "Forge in the Forest" in 1923 at Junipero and 6th Avenue, where the Surf 'N Sand General Store is today. After Catlin was elected, any mayoring that was needed between council meetings had to be brought to his shop. The business name was moved a block away to 5th and Junipero Avenues in 1944, when another artist and blacksmith, Francis Whitaker, paid Hugh Comstock $1,200 to build a new "Forge in the Forest" there. Whitaker worked there as a blacksmith for the 13 years he was on the city council, then the building became an artist's studio and, in the 1970s, a restaurant and saloon.

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