On a quiet street of quaint beach houses and mismatched cottages, you’ll suddenly find yourself confronted by the incongruous sight of two seemingly enormous boats – most definitely in dry dock since they’re situated two blocks back from the beach.
In fact they’ve never been to sea: despite their 19 portholes, mariner’s wheels and quirky starboard list, the SS Encinitas and SS Moonlight have only ever been homes for landlubbers… built by architect Miles Kellogg in the late 1920’s using timber salvaged from the local bathhouse and a hotel that failed to survive Prohibition’s dry years, the 1888 Moonlight Beach Dance Parlor.
These boathouses exemplify what has come to be known as early California “courtyard architecture” as well as the kind of vernacular design associated with Historic Highway 101. Each house is 15 feet tall by 20 feet long and boasts an area of around 1100 square feet.
The Encinitas Preservation Association, largely formed from the Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association (DEMA) and Encinitas Historical Society, purchased the houses in 2008 and currently rent both out as private dwellings. But once that income has paid off the loan, the plan is to turn them into a small museum for the enjoyment of all.
The Boathouses are part of our Guided Downtown Walking Tour , which starts at 10:00 a.m. every third Saturday from September to July. Or take a look yourself: you’ll find them docked and perfectly preserved at 726 and 732 Third Street.
For more details on how you can help maintain these historic landmarks, contact the Encinitas Preservation Association at 818 S Cost Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024 or call 760 943 1950 for more information.