by Carole Hemingway | Submitted Photo
Lately, my mind has been drifting to places that touch my heart. From all my travels, the most beautiful place on earth for me is Pebble Beach, California. The first time I drove my 1991 Chevy Lumina along 17-mile Drive, even my car, ‘Harry’ (named after Clint Eastwood) was impressed as he hugged the rugged coastline, and my eyes opened wide seeing Carmel Bay opening her womb to the Pacific Ocean on the Southside of the Monterey Peninsula.
Pebble Beach was opened on February 22, 1919. It was developed by Samuel Findlay Brown Morse, an outspoken man who was a combination of the hardheaded New Englander and the empiric Westerner. Morse was born July 18, 1885 in Newton, Massachusetts and died on his beloved Pebble Beach personal property on May 10, 1969. Sam was an environmental conservationist, also known as the Duke of Del Monte. An African American man, he graduated from Phillips Andover Academy in 1903, and in 1907 from Yale. Shortly afterward, he became manager of a land development project in California, then spent five years at Crocker-Huffman Land and Water Company in Merced, California.
Sam was the great-grandson of the inventor of the telegraph and Morse code family. He may have been from a prominent Boston family, but when he moved to San Francisco, he became associated with the Crocker’s of the Crocker-Huffman Land and Water Co. and ended up managing it. His destiny, however, was a personal one, when he bought Pacific Improvement Co. land on the Monterey Peninsula by himself. The company that he founded was Del Monte Properties, and it became not only his personal, but very profitable baby. He took the precious land and transformed it into a valuable resort and private real estate enterprise.
He was the son of George Morse, a soldier in the American Civil War, who after his service of duty, became a lawyer in Massachusetts. Sam was a member of ‘Skull and Bones,’ whose research you will find turns up some interesting information. During Sam’s early years in California, he and his family visited Monterey for the first time and fell deeply in love with the area. He was not your average land developer, he saw an exquisite slice of heaven in the land he ended up purchasing. Though he was married three times, he had an instant devotion and loyalty to this land he called “Pebble Beach.” He had ardent, fixed affections for Pebble, and it became “the love of his life.”
I’m sure Sam was warm-hearted, outgoing with a sunny disposition; affectionate and fond of children. He was a born romantic and liked courtship to be full of drama and excitement, but he was mostly strongly loyal to Pebble Beach when it came to his priorities. He showed off his property every chance he got and who could blame him? He saw the ‘value of beauty;’ not to mention a good investment when he saw it!
Sam Morse created a fantasy world in Pebble Beach, then moved in, lock, stock, and barrel, perhaps in order to avoid the harsher realities of life. Pebble Beach is addictive in a good, positive way. He was the right guy to come along and preserve the land and nurture its beauty. His imagination created a kind of sexual intimacy with the beauty of the land that influenced his passions. He had, I feel, a private affair with the most beautiful place on the planet. I too, love Pebble Beach, and it’s my own dream to one day live there before I bite the dust, in the time I have left on God’s Green Earth.
This enchanting secret romance with Pebble Beach for Sam went on for over 50 years. 17-Mile Drive sends chills up and down my spine, tingling in places I didn’t even know I had and inspires my writing. Pebble Beach has a certain rapture like a marriage, you just know when it’s right and that it was ordained from the beginning of time. You have to be there to feel it and get its clarity. Thanks to Sam, Pebble Beach constitutes what it means in growing a soul with purpose.
Carole Hemingway is an internationally regarded author, speaker, astrologer, and historical researcher. She lives along the coast of Maine, where she is currently writing three books on Gettysburg. The first volume is expected to be released in November 2018.