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Encinitas Preservation in the Press | Encinitas Preservation Association
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Encinitas Preservation in the Press


More than 1,000 people walked planks; $4,900 raised

By BARBARA HENRY – Staff Writer | Monday, March 30, 2009 2:02 PM

ENCINITAS —- Talk about a successful maiden voyage. More than 1,000 people walked the planks of the S.S. Moonlight boat house during a recent open house.

”Cash, just in terms of that day, we took $4,900,” said Peder Norby, who helped organize the fundraiser earlier this month for the Encinitas Preservation Association.

Add to that other donations that have come in since the March 21 event, and the association is at least $6,000 richer than it was before it agreed to open the historic structure to the public, Norby said Monday as he reviewed the finances.

The open house was billed as a once-in-a lifetime event to see the inside of an intriguing structure that many people have admired from the outside.

The S.S. Moonlight and its sister “ship” the S.S. Encinitas sit along a hillside above Third Street looking as if they’ve recently been pulled ashore for repair work.

The much-photographed structures aren’t real boats — they’re apartments that have been built to look like boats.

Miles Kellogg, an architect whose father was a sea captain, built his ship-shaped structures in the late 1920s using old timber from the Moonlight Beach dance house. That once-famous local night spot failed to survive the dry years of Prohibition.

The historical association bought the two boat houses and a four-unit apartment complex behind them last year. Plans call for one of the homes to eventually become a museum, but historical society members say they plan to continue renting both of them to tenants while they pay off the $1.55 million purchase price.

A tenant moved out late last year, and association members decided to open the house for a one-day tour this month. They had just finished making repairs and hadn’t yet rented it to a new tenant.

The turnout for the tours amazed association members, Norby said.

They know they had at least 1,000 people walk through the boat that day. They had trouble keeping track because so many people took advantage of the “family” discount price of $20 per group, he said.

Kathy Furgerson and her husband George came with their sons, their sons’ wives and their five grandchildren.

”I just wanted for my grandchildren to experience (the boat house),” Kathy Furgerson said Monday as she described how much they enjoyed the tour. “Who knows what tomorrow’s going to bring, and it was a fun day for all of us.”

She came away believing the boat house would be a great place to live, but only for a little while. Eventually, it would feel a little cramped, she said.

The place hasn’t rented yet, though they’ve heard from several potential tenants, Norby said. The place, which contains two bedrooms and 1-1/2 baths, rents for $1,950 a month.

The association has no immediate plans to open the boat again for tours, though it could be a stop on a walking tour of Encinitas next year, Norby said.

For now, members are putting together a memorial brick campaign. They’ve sold the first round of bricks and expect to install them in late April, Norby said.

After that, they’ll embark on a project to renovate the small apartment complex behind the two boat houses, he added.



Saturday’s event to be one of a kind

By BARBARA HENRY – Staff Writer | Monday, March 16, 2009 5:32 PM

ENCINITAS —- People who have long wondered whether the city’s beloved “boat” houses look as nautical on the inside as they do on the outside will have a chance to find out Saturday.

For one day only, and for perhaps for the first time in the city’s history, one of the two “boats” is open for public tours.

”This is a one-time opportunity,” said Peder Norby, who is helping organize Saturday’s open house event for the Encinitas Preservation Association. “This is something that probably won’t happen again for many, many years.”

Tours, which will occur from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., cost $10 per person or $20 for a family.

People won’t be able to walk around the entire upper deck of the “S.S. Moonlight” during Saturday’s open house because of safety issues. But they will be allowed to poke into the pantry, peer out a porthole window installed inside a shower and generally experience the feeling of living in a structure where none of the walls are at right angles and the floor seems to list to one side.

For decades, pedestrians and passing motorists have stopped to gawk at the buildings and snap photographs. From the front, the blue-and-white structures look like they’ve simply been hauled out on dry land for a short spell. In reality, they were never sea-worthy. They’re not even real boats —- they’re rental apartments built to look like boats.

The buildings are prime examples of what’s called vernacular architecture, local historians say. That architectural category includes sweet shops shaped like giant ice cream cones and Mexican fast food places in the shape of a taco.

The boathouses also have another claim to fame: They are among the earliest and best examples of recycled architecture, historical society members have said.

Miles Kellogg, an architect whose father was a sea captain, built his ship-shaped structures in the late 1920s using old timber from the Moonlight Beach dance house. That once-famous local night spot failed to survive the dry years of Prohibition.

Various renters have lived aboard the boats over the years. The historical society purchased them last year and plans to eventually turn one into a small museum, but first it has to pay down part of its purchase debt using the rental income, society President Paul Ecke said.

The society is hosting its tours Saturday because one of the ships — the Moonlight —- is temporarily vacant. The last bunch of renters moved out in late December, and the society is renovating the structure before re-renting it, Ecke said.

Leaky roof issues have plagued the boat building for years, and portions of the wood have rotted out, society members said. Sun Coast Restoration contractor John Knowles is handling the project, replacing each decaying board with a new matching piece. It’s tough work, because nothing inside the boat is flat or level, Norby said during a tour with Knowles last week.

”It’s hilarious,” Knowles added.

During the open house, people will be able to view these repairs, but the new carpeting may not be in yet, Norby said.

He has two requests for Saturday’s visitors. First, don’t park on Third Street near the boat houses. Use the nearby Coaster station parking lot or the parking at Moonlight Beach, he said. And, second, don’t disturb the occupants in the other boat house. It isn’t part of the tour.

Landlubbers who fall in love with the apartment might still have a chance to move aboard because the society hasn’t yet selected the new occupants. Renters must have a tolerance for lower-than average ceilings and a plumbing system that’s a little on the antique side. They’ll also have to put up with frequent stares from curious passers-by.

On the plus side, the beach is within walking distance, plus the “boat” features two decks, a sunlight-flooded upstairs office with windows on three sides, two bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths.

Price — $1,950 a month. Contact (760) 436-7171.

S.S. Moonlight tours

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday

Cost: $10 per person, or $20 per family

Parking: Moonlight Beach public lot or the Coaster train station in downtown Encinitas.




Escrow closed Friday

By BARBARA HENRY – Staff Writer | Friday, May 2, 2008 4:20 PM PDT

ENCINITAS —- The city’s much-loved “boat houses” entered a safe harbor Friday when escrow closed and the Encinitas Preservation Association became their new owner.

”This gives the community an opportunity to have them forever and we felt that was … well worth the effort,” association vice president Doug Long said Friday afternoon as he discussed the $1.55 million land purchase, which took more than a year to arrange.

To passersby on Third Street, the big white-and-blue boats look like they’ve been pulled up on shore for a little repair work and will soon set out to sea again. But these “boats” have never been in the water. In fact, they’re only partial boats — the front half truly looks like a boat, the back looks more like an apartment.

Miles Kellogg, an architect whose father had been a sea captain, built the mock vessels and the four-unit apartment complex behind them in the late 1920s, association board member Peder Norby said.

They’re worthy of historic preservation on two grounds, said Norby, who is credited with spearheading the effort to save the structures.

First, he said, they’re among the best examples in the nation of early 1900s vernacular architecture — a category that includes everything from sweet shops shaped like ice cream cones to fast food stands that look like giant tacos.

Second, they also may be one of the “earliest and best examples of recycled architecture on the West Coast,” he said.

Kellogg built the boat houses using old timber from the Moonlight Beach dance house, Norby said. That once-famous night spot was torn down 1927.

Each of the mock “boats” contains two regular-sized bedrooms, a bunkbed-like room, a kitchen and a bathroom. The current occupants pay less than $2,000 a month in rent, Norby said. Living conditions have been described as unusual — the ceilings are much lower than a standard apartment and the walls are at odd angles.

”A lot of people get kind of tired of it after a while,” said Mark Whitley, one of the building’s most recent owners.

Whitley and his business partner John Deters purchased the boat houses and the adjacent four-unit apartment complex in 2001 after the aging structures sat on the market for many months. He mostly bought them because his dad loved them and pushed him to save them —- Whitley said he didn’t realize how many other people liked them until after he started repairing them.

School children stopped to thank him and people brought out-of-town guests by to stare at the boat houses, he said. Several times a day he’d find folks taking snapshots from the sidewalk of the “icons of Encinitas,” he added.

After making some repairs, Whitley offered to sell the structures to the historic preservationists. But it took well over a year to arrange the deal, and sometimes it looked like it might never happen, he said.

In the end, the purchase deal involved money from multiple sources — the city of Encinitas kicked in about $200,000 in low-income housing money, the developers of The Lofts condominiums contributed about $650,000 and the heritage association took out a loan from California Community Bank for the remainder.

”(Norby) really was the one that steered it … through very stormy seas,” Whitley said.

Plans call for four-unit apartment complex behind the boats to remain as low-income housing, while at least one of the boats may eventually become a museum, Norby said. That won’t happen immediately — they’ve got to pay off the bank loan first through fund-raising efforts, he said.

They’re selling memorial bricks for $250 and they’re planning a boat house “christening” party at 5:30 p.m. May 19 at the old Encinitas school house a block away.



By: ADAM KAYE – Staff Writer

Deal would preserve structures, gain low-cost housing

ENCINITAS — With contributions from the city and a developer, the landmark “boat houses” will remain as a fixture on Third Street.

The Encinitas City Council voted 5-0 Wednesday to accept a developer’s contribution of $631,538 toward the $1.6 million purchase of the two boat-shaped houses, as well as an adjoining four-unit apartment building on the same lot.

The vote also releases $209,666 from the city’s affordable housing fund to help buy the property and refurbish the apartments, which would add to the city’s state-mandated inventory of low-cost housing.

”I really support what is an innovative approach to preserving the boat houses through a public-private effort,” said Councilwoman Teresa Barth.

The private contribution would come from the developers of The Lofts at Moonlight Beach, a residential and commercial project under construction on North Coast Highway 101 at B Street. The project includes 18 condominiums.

The developer agreed to pay the equivalent of $35,088 per unit — the low-cost housing fee Encinitas charges developers of large projects — toward the boat house purchase.

Evan Stone, manager of The Lofts, sweetened his offer Wednesday.

He said The Lofts would immediately pay $25,000 to the Encinitas Preservation Foundation, a newly formed group that is buying the 80-year-old, boat-shaped houses to preserve them.

”We can write the check now,” Stone said.

Beyond that, he said, his company would match contributions to the foundation of up to $1,000 from buyers of The Lofts’ 18 residential and 15 commercial units.

The council rejected offers from two other developers.

John DeWald, whose Pacific Station project would bring 47 residential units to South Coast Highway 101 at F Street, made a $15,319-per-unit offer.

To meet city requirements, he must pay the $35,000-per-unit fee or set aside four units for low-income households. The fee, DeWald said, would nearly equal the sale price of one of the units.

”We’re still interested in trying to find a way to contribute,” DeWald told the council.

Cyrus Raoufpur of Pacific Canyon LLC, a company proposing 10 homes on Sage Canyon Drive, proposed a $125,000 contribution, about one-third of the required fee.

”I respectfully request your help in acceptance of my offer of $125,000 in cash, payable immediately, for preservation and improvement of the boat houses,” Raoufpur told the council. The council declined.

Peder Norby, the city’s Highway 101 coordinator and a leader of the preservation foundation, said a 60-day escrow on the boat house property would open immediately.

He said the Encinitas Preservation Foundation is securing its status as a tax-exempt, nonprofit foundation. In the meantime, private contributions will be processed through the nonprofit Encinitas Historical Society.

The boat houses themselves will be rented at market rates to finance the property purchase. Eventually, at least one of them will be made accessible to the public, possibly as a museum, Norby said.

About 80 years ago, a boat builder from the Great Lakes area of Michigan salvaged timbers from the Moonlight Beach Dance Pavilion to build the structures bearing the names S.S. Moonlight and S.S. Encinitas.

The boards were too short for a standard building, so Miles Kellogg drew upon his ship-building experience to construct the boatlike houses.

– Contact staff writer Adam Kaye at (760) 901-4074 orakaye@nctimes.com

May 1st 2008
Press Release

For immediate release and distribution 

From: Tom Cozens
President, Encinitas Preservation Association. 

Encinitas Boathouses Preserved Forever 

The Encinitas Preservation Association (DBA) is proud to announce that we have closed escrow and are now the owners of the Encinitas Boathouses. We hold the Boathouses for the benefit of all citizens in the public trust of preservation forever. 

This acquisition of the $1.55 million Encinitas Boathouses was a year long journey, as unique as the Boathouses themselves. Each of the founding board members of the Encinitas Preservation Association has brought immeasurable skill as well as personal and professional contributions to this effort. The partnering of two great organizations, Downtown Encinitas Main Street Association (DEMA) and the Encinitas Historical Society, as well as dedicated members of the Encinitas community at large has culminated in one of the most imaginative, creative and important preservation accomplishments in the State of California. 

I want to acknowledge the indomitable spirit over the past 18 months of Peder Norby who brought us all together in this great endeavor. I truly believe that each and every citizen, today and in the future, will benefit by the retention and preservation of this irreplaceable, Nationally important landmark. Their creative design and resourceful construction are constant reminders of the unique spirit of the five communities that proudly share the name Encinitas. 

The Director of the National Trust Main Street Center, Doug Loescher offered this comment on the effort: “As a Main Street revitalization leader of both the State of California as well as the nation, Encinitas has once again demonstrated that by embracing preservation as a tool for economic development, a coalition of community stakeholders can overcome great obstacles to build sustainable community resources, such as the Encinitas Boathouses. In partnership with local government and a developer, the Main Street organization is helping to do more than preserve a nationally important landmark; they are demonstrating how complex projects such as this can achieve affordable housing and other goals as well. This project can serve as a model for future development, both in Encinitas and around the country.” 

“The DEMA board of directors is very proud to be part of this preservation effort to keep the whimsical creations of builder Miles Kellogg moored in their original location for generations to come,” said Dody Tucker, Executive Director of DEMA. 

Several key community partners played critical roles in purchasing the Encinitas Boathouses. 

The prior owners of the Boathouses, John Deters and Mark Whitley approached DEMA with a desire to offer the sale of the Boathouses to a preservation effort, instead of putting them on the open market. We thank them for that gift of an opportunity. 

The Lofts at Moonlight Beach provided over $650,000 in funding to help purchase the Boathouses including affordable housing fees and a $25,000 charitable donation. Richard Lee Sax, the President of Distinctive Projects Company, Inc. manager of The Lofts at Moonlight Beach LLC said : “The Lofts is thrilled that its development of its critical gateway property at the entry of Moonlight Beach and the entry to downtown Encinitas is coupled with the historical preservation of another essential element of the unique nature of our City. We’ve taken seriously our obligations to our community as we develop our property, and we are so pleased that we’ve had the additional benefit of saving the past for future generations.” 

The City of Encinitas provided over $200,000 in affordable housing funding to help purchase and preserve the Encinitas Boathouses. Mayor Jerome Stocks said: “The Encinitas Boathouses are an iconic Encinitas landmark., and the entire City Council are thrilled to have helped in their preservation.” 

California Community Bank, the official bank of the Encinitas Boathouses, newly located in the heart of downtown Encinitas, provided a community loan to assist in the purchase of the boathouses. California Community Bank CEO Larry Hartwig commented, “We are delighted to be able to assist with this high profile community project, and particularly at the time Don Taylor is about to open our new Encinitas Branch.” 

The Encinitas Preservation Association now embarks on a fundraising voyage that will culminate in the opening of the Boathouses to the public, in a manor compatible with the surrounding residential neighborhood. “The Boathouses represent the history and eclectic charm of the City of Encinitas ,” Supervisor Pam Slater-Price said. “They really are an icon of a simpler time. Every effort has been made by the city to save them for posterity, and rightfully so. To me, a small on site museum is the logical next step. I’d like to see the boathouses made a part of a coastal beaches walking tour of Encinitas.” 

We invite the citizens of Encinitas and North County to join us in a special once in a lifetime “Boathouse Christening” on May 19th at 5:30pm. The location is the 1883 Encinitas Schoolhouse (1/3rd of a block north of the Boathouses) where we will gather and celebrate. We will then walk to the Boathouse for a community picture. 

Please join us to celebrate our unique heritage, a National Treasure, and your Encinitas Boathouses.

Tom Cozens



By Angela Lau

October 11, 2007

With imagination, creativity, and recycled lumber from the 1888 Moonlight Beach Dance Halland Bathhouse that was dismantled in 1925, Miles Minor Kellogg, in honor of his forefathers builtthe now famous Encinitas Boat Houses. Now, the most famous and photographed houses inEncinitas.A local Newspaper, the Coast Dispatch, lampooned his boat house project as folly in ascathing 1928 editorial. Mr. Kellogg responded with a tongue lashing, “To the people of thisdistrict… the building of these boats helped the building up of Encinitas as much as any editorthat has come to town.” -from the Encinitas Progress, late 1920s.

Mr. Kellogg had no idea of how right he was. In a culture of generic mass market housingofferings, the Boat Houses stand apart–a testament to the unique creation of a talented man, theyexpress the creativity and imagination needed to build a dwelling with recycled lumber andsupplies.The Encinitas Boat Houses are an icon of Encinitas, and a cornerstone of the culture that isdowntown Encinitas. Equally important, the Encinitas Boat Houses are a National treasure thatexemplify early California courtyard architecture, early building with recycled materials, andvernacular architecture associated with Historic U.S. Hwy 101.

The Encinitas Boat Houses havebeen deemed eligible for the National Historic Registry.The Boat Houses are currently privately owned. “The owners of the Boat Housesapproached DEMA last year and expressed a desire to sell the property to a HistoricPreservation Foundation. I am thankful that they did so, and for their preservationstewardship of the property for the past several years,” said Dody Tucker, DEMAExecutive Director.Owners John Deters and Mark Whitley have been exploring preservation options for years,and believe that by working with DEMA and the Encinitas Preservation Foundation theirdreams of public access to the Boathouses will finally be realized.”We went right to work and started seeing if we could make this happen. We immediatelydiscovered our natural partner in the Encinitas Historical Society which owns and operates the1883 Encinitas School house just a third of a block away.

Together, and with members outside the two organizations we have formed the Encinitas Preservation Foundation. Our goal will be toassemble funds to purchase the Boat Houses and preserve them in a Preservation Foundation forfuture generations,” said Peder Norby, Hwy 101 Coordinator.”Preservation of Encinitas history is important to the community,” said Supervisor PamSlater-Price. “As a former mayor of Encinitas I am fond of the boat houses. But I alsothink they are cultural heritage and a tourist draw which is important to the downtownshops and restaurants.”The first order of business is the purchase and preservation of these irreplaceablestructures, and then the Encinitas Preservation Foundation will look to the Encinitas HistoricalSociety to one day have them open for the pubic to view and experience firsthand.”The Encinitas Historical Society is pleased and excited to be participating with the HistoricPreservation Foundation to maintain and operate these historic structures” said RosannDrielsma, Encinitas Historical Society President.

The Encinitas Preservation Foundation will be working with the City, County and State as wellas fundraising in the effort to purchase the property. On October 10th the Encinitas City Councilwill discuss the opportunities to partner in this effort.”This is a unique moment in time for Encinitas, a combination of actions and factors has made itpossible for the Boat Houses, that we all cherish, to be purchased and preserved forever. Wehave identified the funding sources and the path to make this possible. Hopefully, with the helpand generosity of the public and our civic leaders we can make this goal a reality for all ofEncinitas to take part in the preservation of the Boat Houses” Doug Long, President of DEMA.

City will help buy historic houses

$1.55 million sought for boat dwellings




By Mia Taylor,
Union-Tribune Staff Writer

San Diego Union-Tribune

May 19, 2004

ENCINITAS — Fifteen years of work improving the city’s downtown streetscape and economic vitality have earned national recognition.

On Monday, Encinitas’ downtown received the “Great American MainStreet” award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The award recognizes exceptional accomplishments revitalizing downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

Each year, the efforts of five cities are honored by the National Trust. This year, two communities in California were among those selected. Paso Robles also is a winner.

“We’re all so proud,” Encinitas Mayor Maggie Houlihan said yesterday, after returning from the awards ceremony in Albuquerque, N.M. “This was truly a labor of love, vision and creativity.”

The city began planning downtown improvements in 1988, said David DeCordova, the city’s project manager. Construction efforts began in 1998, he said.

Over the years, the area has been transformed from a stagnant, run-down city center where business after business was packing up and closing to a thriving hub of activity with many restaurants, cafes and shops.

About $6 million was invested in revitalization, DeCordova said.

Some of the more visible improvements are upgraded sidewalks, antique-style lighting, custom tree grates and colorful tile mosaics in the sidewalks at street corners.

Several arts and cultural programs also have been initiated in the downtown area.

Houlihan said much of the credit for the award goes to the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association, a booster group for downtown businesses that was formed in 1988.

“DEMA and their executive director helped crystallize and articulate the vision,” Houlihan said.

Fifty communities across the nation have received the award since it was created in 1995. Pasadena, San Luis Obispo and Coronado have won in past years.

The award comes with a $2,500 cash prize and signs the city can display declaring it a “Great American MainStreet City.”

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