AKA: Nowell, Nelson, Weekend Residence, Carmel, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons (WBE), Architects (firm); Theodore C. Bernardi (architect); Thomas Dolliver Church (landscape architect); Donn Emmons (architect); Ross Trewhitt (contractor); William Wilson Wurster (architect)

Dates: constructed 1946-1947

2 stories

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Scenic Drive and 11th Avenue
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93923

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The Nowell House in Carmel was located on Scenic Drive near 11th Avenue.


This weekend residence was the first that the San Francisco architectural firm of Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons (WBE) produced for Nelson T. and Marguerite Nowell of Stockton, CA. It was given the WBE job #4654, the 54th commission to enter the office in 1946, a busy year for the firm. Carmel-by-the-Sea does not have exact street numbering. The house was located on the east side of Scenic Road, south of the intersection with 10th Avenue and just north of 11th. (Some city directory listings placed it on the west side of San Antonio Road, five houses south of 10th Avenue.)

In 1952, Nowell commissioned WBE to design his main house in Stockton for a site at 1807 West Lincoln Road. William W. Wurster (1895-1973) and Donn Emmons (1910-1997) both contributed to the design of this notable weekend retreat.

Building History

Nowell used this vacation house from its completion in 1947 until his death in 1973. (He was listed as living at this address in R.L. Polk's Monterey City Directory of 1973, [p. 339].) He appears to have taken up full-time residence in Carmel-by-the-Sea, c. 1965. He married his first wife, Marguerite T. Nowell, c. 1925, but divorced her in the mid-1960s. He married Elizabeth C. Robinson on 02/15/1969 in Monterey, CA.

Thomas D. Church (1902-1978) executed the landscape design for the Nowell House in Carmel, and Ross Trewhitt (1919-1979) was the contractor.

The dwelling won an Award of Merit from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), in 1949.

Building Notes

In 1945, Nelson Taplin Nowell (1901-1973) worked as an executive--the Superintendent--of the Thornton Cannery Company in Stockton. (See "Thornton Cannery to Start 'Grass Monday," Lodi News-Sentinel, 04/12/1945, p. 1.) By 1960, (if not earlier), he owned the cannery. (See Monterey City Directory, 1960, p. 460.) Nelson and Marguerite Nowell resided permanently at 2325 Dwight Way in Stockton, CA in 1945. (See Stockton City Directory, 1945-1946, p. 291.)

Born in Honolulu, HI, Nowell was a graduate of Stanford University, who matriculated there between 1921 and 1926. He traveled often between Honolulu, TH, and San Francisco between 1916 and 1930. Between c. 1930 and 1936, he managed a "private estate," probably a large farming operation, on Tennant Drive in Burnett, CA, (now a neighborhood in San Jose) according to the US Census of that year. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: Burnett, Santa Clara, California; Roll: 217; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 592.0; FHL microfilm: 2339952, accessed 06/17/2016.) In 1937, he moved back to Palo Alto, where he worked as a broker for the real estate firm of Hare, Brewer and Kelley; he did this until 1943, when he moved to Stockton, CA, presumably to take on management of the Thornton Cannery Company. He was listed in the 1953 Palo Alto City Directory (p. 244) as President of Atherton Properties, although it indicated, probably erroneously, that he resided in Sacramento. Nowell retired from the cannery about 1965, when he moved permanently to Carmel-by-the-Sea.

PCAD id: 636