Early History

Prior to 1600: The area that includes Carmel Valley was originally inhabited by the Esselen Native Americans.

1602: Friar Sebastian Vizcaino was the first European to visit the region when he was commissioned to map the local coastal area. He named the local river Rio Carmelo.

1770: Gaspar de Portola and Father Junipero Serra arrived to establish the Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in Monterey. A year later, the mission was relocated closer to the Rio Carmelo in the area that is now Carmel-by-the-Sea.

New Colonization

1821: Mexico’s independence from Spain paved the way for new colonization of vacant land.

Early 1780s: Father Junipero Serra oversaw the completion of a project to set up irrigation in the area using water from Rio Carmelo. 

1794-1844: Although not approved by the U.S. Land Commission, Presidio commanders began making land grants to their retired soldiers. These grants included the 6,625 acre Laureles Ranch to Jose Boronda in 1839, encompassing the area that is now Holman Ranch.

1848: Carmel Valley became a part of the United States after California was ceded by Mexico in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. 

1905: The Pacific Improvement Company (PIC) drilled wells on Laureles Ranch, installing pumps capable of pumping up to 2 million gallons of water a day.

1928: San Francisco businessman Gordon Armsby purchased 600 acres of Laureles Ranch, including the area that would become Holman Ranch.

1946: Byington and Tirey Ford developed Carmel Valley Village, including a general store, drug store, liquor store, soda fountain, beauty shop, and barber shop. The village was built in Mexican village style within walking distance to the Airpark.

Modern Era

1940s-1990s: Multiple flood events were recorded, including major events causing extensive damage to Carmel Valley.

1984: The Carmel Valley Flood Plan ordinance was enacted.

1986: Restoration efforts of heavily damaged areas of Rio Carmelo begin.

1999:The Carmel River was named one of the 10 most endangered rivers in America – the only endangered river in California.

2002: The local airport was shut down, despite efforts by the Carmel Valley Historic Airpark Society (CVHAS) to protect it. It is now used as a park to fly remote controlled planes.

Current Day: Carmel Valley remains an unincorporated census-designated place (CDP) in Monterey County known for outdoor recreation, wine tasting, fine dining, art galleries, and antique shopping.