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Civic leader Sales dies
Had dogged determination to preserve history
Herald Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 09/19/2008 01:37:25 AM PDT

Enid Sales, longtime activist in the cause of historic preservation on the Monterey Peninsula, died Wednesday at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She was 85. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, she was a graduate of Reed College in Oregon and served for 10 years as head of the rehabilitation department of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. One of her accomplishments during that time, according to longtime friend Susan Paboojian of Carmel, was organizing the moving of 12 Victorian houses in San Francisco in a single night by shutting down the transit system and traffic lights, and completing the task in time for the morning commute.

She also operated a vineyard in Calistoga for 10 years, and in 1962 became the first woman to hold a state general contractor's license after the state set certification requirements for licensing, Paboojian said. Sales had visited Carmel off and on since 1933 and moved to the city in 1986. In 1991, Sales was named Citizen of the Year by the Carmel Residents Association for her efforts at civic betterment and historic preservation. Sales' late husband, Grover Sales, was a well-known jazz musician and a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, Paboojian said. "She was a giant in the world of historic preservation," said former Carmel City Councilwoman Barbara Livingston, "a champion in protecting our heritage; a very strong woman who knew how to get things done." "

Enid brought to Carmel a focus on its historic background that has many players in it," Carmel Mayor Sue McCloud said. Sales was the first chairwoman of the city's Historic Resources Board and undertook an analysis of what is historic in the city, McCloud said. A testament to those efforts is the City Council's adoption of the most recent update of the context statement for judging the historic worth of buildings. "It was the logical culmination of what she started," McCloud said. Linda Anderson of the Carmel Residents Association and chairwoman of the city's first Sunset Center renovation task force, credited Sales' dogged efforts for saving Carmel's Sunset Center.
"The first feasibility study said we needed to tear the building down and start over," she said. "Enid just fought and fought and fought."

"We were pretty frustrated with her — she was a person who just wouldn't go away. Ultimately, she prevailed. I think Carmel is the better for that. The remodel really came out well, and she's partially responsible for that. I don't know who's going to take up the fight to preserve some of our history." Sales was active in saving the "First Murphy" cottage in Carmel from demolition, built by Thomas J. Murphy in 1902 and a prototype that defined the "Carmel cottage." The building was moved to Lincoln Street and Sixth Avenue where it is maintained by the Carmel Heritage Society.

She was also active in efforts to preserve the Flanders Mansion in Carmel, and in finding an alternative to a freeway through Hatton Canyon. One of her last projects was a battle to save the George Marsh Building at 700 Camino El Estero in Monterey. Owner Jerry Janssen, whose Orientations Asian art store now occupies the building, said Sales "was the driving force" in preventing the building from being torn down. "Hers was the only name that stood out," he said, when he looked at the building as a site for his San Francisco-based business. "She seems to have been the only voice that was serious about saving the building. A lot of people give lip service to preservation. The building was on its way to destruction, and she was the lady who saved it." He bought it and renovated it, Jannsen said, but it was Sales' steadfast efforts that saved it. "She wasn't going to let the building come down. Her voice was certainly the loudest and most prominent in saving that structure and others. It's a great loss, certainly to the preservation of Monterey and Carmel. She was a tenacious lady who knew what needed to be done and did it. She'd roll up her sleeves and get in and do it, not just talk about it."

Sales is survived by a sister-in-law, Barbara Thompson of San Francisco.
Funeral arrangements were pending at the Paul Mortuary in Pacific Grove.

Kevin Howe can be reached at 646-4416 or

Reprinted from the Monterey County Herald