The Monterey Peninsula Toy Box

Mary Austin's
Pacific Grove Report

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A Pacific Grove residential street scene

Above: A typical street scene in one of Pacific Grove's oldest neighborhoods.

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One of Carmel's original Bohemian's was a writer named Mary Austin. She was a close friend of George Sterling, and she was known for her unconventional ideas, ecccentric personality and hot temperment. Austin had a house on Monte Verde street. On her property she built a platform in the trees where she did her writing. From the platform she had a clear view of the ocean for inspiration. There she wrote a number of novels, short stories, plays (many produced at the Forest Theatre) and various articles. The following description of Pacific Grove is an excerpt from an article she wrote in 1914 for a British travel guide. It seems just as accurate today as it did then.

"...Pacific Grove, utterly modern, on the surf side of Punta de Pinos, a town which began, I believe, as a resort for the churchly minded - a very clean and well-kept and proper town, absolutely exempt, as the deeds are drawn to assure us, 'from anything having a tendency to lower the moral atmosphere,' a town where the lovely natural woods have given place to houses every fifty feet or so, all nicely soldered together with lines of bright scarlet and clashing magentas and rosy pinks of geraniums and pelargoniums in a kind of predetermined cheerfulness; in short, a town where nobody would think of living who wanted anything interesting to happen to him."