Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, Spring 2018

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Page 179 of 219

T his is the story of one of the most tranquil, elegant and gracious Monterey Peninsula resorts many have never heard of. Stonepine is set on 330 verdant, rolling, oak- studded acres behind an imposing-yet-discreet security gate just east of Carmel Valley Village. The jewel in this crown is the graceful, stately manor constructed in the 1920s by Henry Potter Russell and his wife Helen, a descendant of the Crocker railroad and banking family. In a nod to old California tradition, the Russells named the property the "Double H Ranch." Designed and built in 1927-29 in a manner similar to William Randolph Hearst's famous castle in San Simeon, the home contains many antique architectural elements repurposed from European structures, such as 19th century cherry paneling in the formal dining room. The Double H was not just a wealthy couple's retreat. The property was known as the finest thoroughbred racehorse breeding farm west of the Mississippi, producing several winners in the prestigious Triple Crown series. Incidentally, several Stonepine guest rooms are named after those horses, such as Lady Bolero, Majestic Prince and Countess Nashville. Henry Russell was a founder and first president of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association. Equestrian activities have always been a focus of the estate, and that tradition continues to this day. The property's history predates the Russell's tenure, however. It was part of the Rancho Tularcitos land grant given to Raphael Gomez in 1834. A building near Carmel Valley Road was the site of a one-room school- house dating to the 1890s. Later, a popular restaurant and bar called The Bucket (known as "The Bloody Bucket" because of frequent, alcohol- fueled Saturday night brawls) was sited on a cliff overlooking the Carmel River. A popular swimming hole just below the bar is known to genera- tions of local youth as the Bloody Bucket. 178 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 8 Chateau Noel is the crown jewel of Stonepine. When constructed in the 1920s as a retreat for Crocker Bank heiress Helen Crocker-Russell and husband Henry, the vast property was known as the Double H Ranch.

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