Carmel Magazine

Spring-Summer 2019

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Page 123 of 267

The Duke of Del Monte 122 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 9 New Book Tells the Tale of Pebble Beach Developer S.F.B. Mor se B Y M I C H A E L C H AT F I E L D W hen it comes to Pebble Beach history, Charlie Osborne can borrow a page from the Farmers Insurance marketing book and legiti- mately claim it as his own: He knows a thing or two because he's seen a thing or two. And luckily for those who are fascinated with the rich and quirky history of California's Central Coast, he decided to tell the story of Samuel Finley Brown Morse in a new book entitled "Boss." Osborne—"Charley" to his friends—is uniquely qualified to pen the definitive biography of one of the Monterey Peninsula's most color- ful and influential figures. Morse was his maternal grandfather. Two years in the writing, "Boss" is full of fasci- nating anecdotes about the man known as "The Duke of Del Monte" that only a family member could col- late and relate. In his preface, Osborne explains the book's title: "His friends called him Sam and his employees called him Mr. Morse. People referred to him as S.F.B. and that is how he styl- ishly signed his paintings and documents. The family called him 'Boss.'" Osborne was raised in Pebble Beach, growing up adjacent to the first fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links. The Osborne family home today houses Casa Palmero, a luxurious spa that features elegant and exclusive guest accommo- dations. His mother was Sam's daughter Mary, and in 1954, Osborne's father Richard was named President of the Del Monte Properties Company, forerunner of today's Pebble Beach Company. It would be difficult to overstate the impact that Sam Morse had on his beloved Pebble Beach, and on the Monterey Peninsula in general. At the risk of flirting with hyper- bole, it can be said that life here as we know it would not exist without his guiding hand. One example: the construction of the San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River, complet- ed in 1920 (and demolished in 2015). The water supplied by that dam enabled the Peninsula to sup- port the development that ensued from that point on. There are many more examples of Morse's influ- ence detailed in Osborne's book. Sam Morse grew up in Massachusetts, born to a Civil War veteran father and an artist mother. He was a rough-and-tumble kind of guy, excelling at football at Yale, but also had inherited a talent for art that he indulged, espe- cially later in life. He arrived in Monterey when he was hired to manage the Pacific Improvement Company (PIC), a holding compa- ny formed in 1878 by legendary California busi- nessmen C. P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mark Morse single-handedly molded Pebble Beach into his own image of a playground for the well-to-do. Photo: Julian P. Graham courtesy of Loon Hill Studios

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