Stonepine Estate

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Discover Stonepine Estate, which was once owned by an heiress of the Crocker family fortune.

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Stonepine Estate, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2019, dates back to 1920.

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Located among the rolling hills of California’s Monterey Peninsula, Stonepine Estate was originally constructed by Helen Crocker Russell and her husband, Henry Porter Russell. Helen hailed from the renowned Crocker family, which had played an integral role developing California during its formative years. The Crockers specifically traced their linage to Charles Crocker, who had first ventured to the state amid the California Gold Rush. After spending some time operating a dry-goods store in Sacramento, Crocker joined a group of investors who desired to create the nation’s first transcontinental railway. Alongside Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, and Mark Hopkins, Crocker founded the Central Pacific Railroad in 1861 to achieve this goal. Their company quickly set about building new rail lines across the Great Plains that ultimately connected America’s eastern railroads to the ports lining San Francisco Bay. Crocker’s main contribution involved providing a source of labor through his construction firm, Charles Crocker & Co. Seizing upon the opportunity, Crocker decided to invest in another transcontinental railway that sought to link many of California’s coastal communities together for the first time. His involvement with the two projects had established him as one of the country’s leading railroad magnates by the late 1800s.

Helen Crocker Russell herself was the granddaughter of Charles Crocker through his third son, William Henry Crocker. A noted banker, William had worked to become the president of the family’s Crocker National Bank by the turn of the twentieth century. Both Helen and her husband traveled frequently throughout the United States, often staying at a remote, private residence in Pebble Beach to escape the rigors of city life. The two yearned to create a similar environment for themselves back on the West Coast and decided to build a secluded ranch on the outskirts of a village known as Carmel Valley. Built to resemble a beautiful Mediterranean estate, the couple christened their new home as the “Double H Ranch” when it debuted in 1920. While the Double H Ranch would remain within the Russell family over the next several decades, their descendants continuously auctioned away portions of the compound to interested buyers. Gordon and Noel Hentschel eventually purchased the ranch itself in 1983, transforming it into a luxurious country resort that they called the “Stonepine Estate.” The destination has since become one of California’s most preeminent holiday retreats, attracting the likes of Hollywood celebrities, international business leaders, and distinguished heads-of-state. A member of Historic Hotels of America since 2019, the Stonepine Estate is truly a wonderful historic destination.

  • About the Location +

    Stonepine Estate resides in the quaint village of Carmel Valley, often referred to locally as “Carmel.” This quaint community is set within the rolling verdant mountains that border the neighboring Monterey Peninsula. The peninsula itself possesses a rich history that dates back centuries. Indeed, the first known people to inhabit the region were various tribes of Native Americans, including the Ohlone and the Esselen. But in the 18th century, the first European settlers—the Spanish—inhabited the area. An expedition led by Catholic priest Junípero Serra and soldier Gaspar de Portolà specifically landed on the peninsula during the 1770s. Intent on defending California from Russian colonial settlement, Portolà developed a quaint military outpost at the mouth of the Carmel River called the “El Presidio Real de San Carlos de Monterrey.” Serra subsequently constructed an accompanying mission complex next to Portolà’s fort when its construction finally concluded after several months. Named the “Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Río Carmelo,” it was Serra’s second facility within a greater system of missions that he created all over California. Both the presidio and the mission emerged as the central point of Spanish influence in the Monterey Peninsula, even becoming the capital for California’s northern territories by the end of the century. A town known as “Monterey” gradually materialized around the two sites, too, which rapidly turned into a bustling city and seaport during California’s colonial period. Trade into Monterey continued unabetted for generations, even after California was absorbed into Mexico after the latter won its independence from Spain. In fact, the new national Mexican government declared Monterey to be California’s official port of entry in 1827. Local officials subsequently opened a Custom House downtown, which presided over all of the maritime commerce conducted within the community. (The Custom House is actually regarded as the most historic municipal structure still standing in California today.)

    The Monterey Peninsula—and the rest of California—eventually became a part of the United States following the Mexican-American War of the late 1840s. (The peninsula had actually experienced some fighting, with American forces defeating the Mexican Army at the Battle of Monterey in 1846.) Over time, the area gradually shifted away from its status as a major seaport, although some maritime industries—like commercial fishing—remained strong for many years thereafter. Instead, the peninsula developed a reputation as a popular vacation retreat due to its tranquil environment and lush scenery. A few enterprising hoteliers decided to capitalize upon this interest and created a number of hostelries throughout the area. One of the first to debut was the Hotel Del Monte in 1880. Constructed along the Pacific coastline, it was the celebrated forerunner to today’s Pebble Beach Company and its selection of famous golf courses. (One course, the Pebble Beach Golf Links, regularly hosts annual PGA tournaments and is internationally renowned for its design.) In some cases, the region’s tourist population decided to stay for lengthier periods of time. Among the individuals to turn their trips into longer residences were countless intellectuals, who founded colonies across the peninsula. Monterey entertained one of the largest, which featured such prominent individuals like Xavier Martinez, Arthur F. Mathews, Armin Hansen. John Steinbeck was later affiliated with the collective, who visited the town often while residing in a cottage his family owned in nearby Pacific Grove. Another impressive community formed within the neighboring city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, whose residents included George Sterling, Ambrose Bierce, and William Keith. (Later associates were renowned writers Upton Sinclair and Sinclair Lewis.) The area’s famous artistic legacy still continues to attract many diverse thinkers today, as well as countless cultural heritage travelers.


  • About the Architecture +

    Today, Stonepine Estate stands as a brilliant example of Mediterranean Revival style architecture. Mediterranean Revival architecture itself is a gorgeous structural aesthetic. Popular among American architects at the height of the Roaring Twenties, its main characteristic was its intrinsic eclecticism. (Mediterranean Revival style would remain popular among certain architects for some time thereafter, too.) While most Revivalist styles typically mimicked one or two earlier architectural forms, Mediterranean Revival-style took its inspiration from several, including Italian Renaissance, Spanish Colonial, and French Beaux-Arts. The amalgamation of so many unique design principles into one singular form was born out of a desire to create exotic buildings that closely resembled the different kinds of historic palaces scattered throughout the Mediterranean basin. As the modern hospitality industry exploded in Florida and California in the 1920s and early 1930s, American architects—as well as the hoteliers who served as their clients—hoped such an appearance would epitomize the tropical atmosphere of their respective states. But they also wished that the new style would significantly impress the throngs of tourists that had started to south and west as a means of escaping the harsh winters of the Northeast. As such, Mediterranean Revival-style architecture was originally used to create luxurious hotels and resorts, although some affluent Americans began using the form to construct their own personal homes. Architects August Gieger and Addison Mizner were the two most prominent professionals to popularize the style in Florida, while the likes of Bertram Goodhue and Sumner Spaulding used it frequently in California. Mediterranean Revival-style typically relied on a regular, rectangular floorplan that featured grandiose, symmetrical façades. Stucco exterior walls and red-tile roofs were perhaps the greatest structural elements. Yet, American architects also incorporated wrought iron balconies into the overall design, as well as numerous keystones and arched windows with grilles.


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