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April 12, 2017 / Linda Hartong


Carmel stone is used extensively in Carmel. You will see it in many historic buildings like Harrison Memorial Library.

carmel stone on Library

It is used in businesses such as Wittpenn’s Antiques

Wittpenn's Antiques


and in countless residences.

Gate House

Once cheap and easy to find, it is sedimentary shale with lovely creamy yellow, rust, orange, and pink and caramel iron oxide striations.

It is typically softer and more porous than other types of building stone and much more likely to degrade with time and exposure to the elements. The Carmel Mission was one of the earliest local structures made from it more than 200 years ago.The Mission has undergone extensive stonework renovation. As you can see this porous quality provides opportunities for small plants to grow in the rock, further eroding it.

carmel stone deterieration on the Mission

I read an article in The SF Gate about the stone and stonemason Michale Mahoney who learned to cut and build with Carmel Stone in the 1970s. Mahoney has been building with the stone since then. He is also a rock guitarist who studies manuals on Moorish arches and builds the chiseling hammers he uses to achieve his hand-hewn work. As a child, he was a bell ringer at the Mission where he watched Harry Downie do his work in restoring the Mission.
Below are some examples of Carmel Stone used in gates,



Conrad Home


carmel stone wall

entry paths and steps,

path, steps and entry 2


path and doorway surround

and facades


facade 3

This home on Scenic is a wonderful example.

house on Scenic


Leave a Comment
  1. Donna Kohler / Apr 12 2017 11:19 pm

    Very interesting to see uses of Carmel stone in different buildings.

  2. T. Winton / Apr 12 2017 11:50 pm

    Beautiful and informative. Thanks!

  3. Lisa Garber / Apr 13 2017 12:17 am

    So pleased that you are blogging again. You were missed.

  4. Ruby / Apr 13 2017 12:24 am

    Beautiful pictures and interesting to know about stonemason Michale Mahoney .

  5. Peggy / Apr 13 2017 12:34 am

    Interesting history on Carmel stone – which is beautiful. But, if the stone is so porous, do the homes in the area that are constructed with Carmel stone suffer from deterioration?

  6. Barbara Patterson / Apr 13 2017 1:00 am

    I just love Carmel and thought this story about the stone and the rock musician were both fun..


  7. Dan Smith / Apr 13 2017 1:00 am

    Thanks again for a “little trip” to Carmel. We have admired the stone facings and architectural designs in the buildings in Carmel; just ambling through the streets (sometimes getting lost) on cool days meeting people and soaking up the charm. We will be in Carmel again for the art festival. How about an article about the art on Carmel? I appreciate your blog and encourage you to continue.

  8. / Apr 13 2017 2:44 am

    So glad you are posting again!!!

  9. carmelcottage / Apr 13 2017 3:16 am

    Oh wow, what a wonderful end to a horrid week! “A little trip to Carmel” is right. What beautiful workmanship. I love the Mission, but did not know it was made of Carmel stone, so thank you. We have visited all but two California Missions in our travels. We visited Tor House once and was intrigued with the use of the different stones, some from the ocean I recall. Do you have a story and photos on that? I don’t recall one. Happy Easter everyone.

  10. Gayle & Dick Warrington / Apr 13 2017 3:35 am

    What a wonderful surprise in our inbox! Thank you for your remarkable photos and delightful history lessons. My husband and I are in our 80’s and sadly haven’t been able to visit Carmel for 2 years. We usually stayed at Doris Days fabulous fun dog friendly inn with our bichons over the years. We also enjoyed a complex with four cottages and a magical cottage garden over the years. (Would love to know their history.) I’m so grateful to read your posts and enjoy a mini vacation. How fortunate you are! Thanks for sharing. Dick & Gayle Warrington, and Rowdy.

    From: Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea To: Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 3:53 PM Subject: [New post] CARMEL STONE #yiv1749870492 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1749870492 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1749870492 a.yiv1749870492primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1749870492 a.yiv1749870492primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1749870492 a.yiv1749870492primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1749870492 a.yiv1749870492primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1749870492 | Linda Hartong posted: “Carmel stone is used extensively in Carmel. You will see it in many historic buildings like Harrison Memorial Library.It is used in businesses such as Wittpenn’s Antiques and in countless residences.Once cheap and easy to find, it is se” | |

  11. colinmclean1100 / Apr 13 2017 5:09 am

    This is a poorly written blog. The author needs an editor.

    • Linda Hartong / Apr 13 2017 4:41 pm

      Colin, I wonder how you found my blog. I see you started a blog and have not posted for a while.
      Because we are strangers to one another, I feel I need to tell you something about my situation.
      I blogged about Carmel for 3 years. And yes most of the posts were better written than this one.
      I stopped blogging because of some health issues and because our 47 year old daughter-mother of twin boys – was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer and died within 6 months. That was almost 2 years ago.
      I remembered all the positive energy I received before from blogging and so decided to try once again. Although not up to my former standards, readers have been kind and supportive.
      Sometimes at night when I can not sleep, I check my phone for messages. I could not go back to sleep after reading your remark. I wonder why you felt it necessary to comment.
      In the future , give a little thought before you make unkind comments on a blog.
      Remember just because we are strangers, your words can still wound me.

      • Michelle / Jan 28 2018 9:44 pm

        Linda, pay no attention to this old grump!! So happy to see you blogging again! When I’m not at my home in Carmel I love coming to ur blog to feel like I’m there! Thank you!

    • Rhonda / Apr 13 2017 5:53 pm

      Why in the world would you want to be a jackass, Colin? Because you most certainlya are a jackass with your silly, toxic words.
      (You might want to check the edit on this comment).

      Linda-thank you for your posts. We are so happy you’re back and God Bless your sweet family during such hard times.🦋🦋

  12. Katerina / Apr 13 2017 7:17 am

    Amazing photos, as always. I didn’t know about Carmel stone. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Roger Sanger / Apr 13 2017 3:57 pm


    Trying to send a recent post to “Sandy” on Fables She just bought Doll House next to us and she did a post for us and I replied but it seems to need “notification”. Can you send my reply as it is urgent. Thanks, Roger Sanger >

  14. Michael Smith / Apr 13 2017 5:32 pm

    Glad you’re back! Good article on the stones!

  15. Alex Summers / Apr 13 2017 10:22 pm

    Hello Ms Hartong! I’m so happy I found your blog! I can’t find your email address though, so I hope asking you here is all right:

    I am getting married in a few months and I’ve been looking for the right image to use for my wedding invitations. I found a photograph you took in 2008 of a cardinal feeding his mate ( and I was hoping to get your permission to use it. My fiance and I really love it.

    Please respond to me soon, and thank you so much.

    • Linda Hartong / Apr 14 2017 1:04 am

      Hi Alex,
      Glad you tracked me down. I would be delighted if you used this image on your wedding invitations. You will be the third couple to use it and I am honored each time.

  16. Trish Curlee / Apr 14 2017 2:17 am

    Thank you so much for your blog. I love it. Your photos are gorgeous. Carmel is a fairyland. I need to plan another trip.

  17. Kelly Kline / Apr 14 2017 3:48 am

    My Grandmothr’s home on Monte Verde was made of Carmel Stone. It is across from the playhouse. Beautiful stone, lovely memories!

  18. Susan / Apr 18 2017 12:59 am

    Another delightful post! Thank you so much for the lovely photos and information.

  19. Donna / Apr 28 2017 1:10 am

    Thank you for sharing the pictures and commentary on Carmel Stone. It seems to be similar to the stone we have used to build structures here in the Austin area. Ours is limestone and also erodes easily. They say there used to be an ocean over this part of Texas and the limestone has a variety of colors and even fossils embedded in it. Makes for interesting flooring! :-). Please ignore the critical poster…. I reread this blog and can’t even understand what he is talking about! I’m looking forward to a visit to Carmel this summer and will look forward to future posts from you!

  20. Victoria Soares / Aug 22 2017 3:35 am

    I sure miss your posts!

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