November Thankful Contest Day #10 - Poet Robinson Jeffers' Tor House

Carmel-by-the-Sea has so many facets to it, one of the most enduring is its artists and the often funky houses that they built. Many came here after the 1906 San Francisco fire, and their bohemian lifestyle was legend. Others followed including Robinson Jeffers, renowned American poet known for his work about the Central California coast,

He and wife Una first built Tor House, the place where much of his work was written. He later built the large 4-story stone Hawk Tower, similar to ones he had seen in Ireland. He never actually completed this romantic Gothic tower himself before his death in 1962, and was completed by his eldest son. It remained a family residence, until it was turned over to the Tor House Foundation formed by Ansel Adams (another world renowed artist), for historic preservation.

The story goes that a hawk appeared one day early on during the construction, and then did not reappear again until the tower was finished. Hence the name "Hawk Tower."

Hawk Tower became a gift to his wife Una where, in her special room at the top of the tower, she kept many treasures from her travels. It seems there is a secret passage, much to the delight of the younger generation.

I am so thankful that these homes have been preserved.

If you would like to get more information on this incredible house and tower, click on

Below: Photo I took today of Tor House and Hawk Tower while along along the ocean.

Robinson Jeffers Tor House and Hawk Tower Carmel-by-the-Sea


Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Broker/Owner/REALTOR 


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Disclaimer: Hella Rothwell does not guarantee nor is in any way responsible for the accuracy of the information provided herein, and provides said information without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied.

Comment balloon 5 commentsHella Mitschke Rothwell • November 10 2012 05:31PM


That looks like a very interesting place.  I wonder how high the tower is?

Posted by Christine OShea (Christine E O'Shea Real Estate Broker) over 6 years ago

Christine: It's supposed to be 4 stories. It doesn't look so big from the angle I took it at, but it's very impressive from close-up.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 6 years ago

It would be a shame to have these historic buildings perserved Hella.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 6 years ago

Not sure of what the view is from the town, but it must be great. It sure does look like a treasure.

Thank you ofr sharing your post with all of us.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) over 6 years ago
Dear Ms. Rothwell,

Thanks for writing about Tor House. It's great to have visitors share their experiences with others.

I did want to clarify some of the information you mentioned in your piece, especially the fact that Jeffers did, indeed, finish the tower himself, and in only four years. He worked on it from 1920 to '24. And, according to the story I've heard, the hawk visited him every day he worked. Una's room is on the second story of the tower.

It is true that Jeffers' son, Donan, helped him build the extension to the house now known as the East Wing.

Ansel Adams may well have been one of the founding members of the Tor House Foundation, but there were several others as well, including California State Senator Frederick Farr and several local artists, writers, and community leaders.

Thanks, again, for writing about Tor House.

Deborah Sharp, Trustee of RJ Tor House Foundation
Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 6 years ago