Encinitas, CA — Boat Houses

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Boathouses are houses for boats, houseboats are boats for living in. It is unusual but not eccentric to live in a boat, unless the boat is made of plaster and plywood and built solidly on dry land. S.S. Encinitas and S.S Moon Light are neither boathouses, or houseboats; they are houses built in the shape of boats, moored on Third St. between F and G in Encinitas, CA, with the blue Pacific beating on the beach behind the hill like a bad child, heard but not seen. The closest they come to water is when it rains.

Miles Minor Kellogg was undoubtedly one of Encinitas‘ most noted recyclers, certainly within that period when he lived here in the 1920’s and 1930’s. He was a versatile builder with a talent for taking scrap material and incorporating it into new structures. When the third story of Mr. Hammond’s 1883 hotel became infested with bats in the late 1910’s, Mr. Kellogg, who owned the building at the time, removed the top floor and used the wood to build a small silent movie theater next door at the northeast corner of 101 and E Street. Mr. Kellogg was a builder, inventor and businessman who picked up additional materials at a bargain in this case, wood from the bathhouse at Moonlight beach in 1925. Since the building had a low ceiling, the wood wasn’t long enough to use in an ordinary house. Mr. Kellogg had a lingering interest in the sea, so the idea came to him to use the material for boat houses.

His ultimate recycling triumph was the boathouses on the west side of Third Street between F and G. What a stir they created back in the late twenties. The editor of the local paper poked fun of Mr. Kellogg’s creation and Mr. Kellogg retaliated with a major tongue-lashing! But then his imagination soared and he thought back to earlier days when he had worked on bats at Lake Michigan and the idea came to him to build boat houses. His young son, Miles Justin Kellogg, helped every day after school until they were completed. In 1928 the boat houses could be seen from Highway 101 and people passing through town began to turn west for a better look at the structures. Down through the years the boathouses probably have been the most photographed buildings downtown and are a unique symbol of our surfing, beach, and Hwy 101 culture.

[Larry E Gundersen, 07/11/2005]

Two boat shaped apartments, sitting side by side, that face away from the ocean. When my kids were little I told them these boats were washed ashore by an enormous wave, and that they just decided to make them apartments rather than try to get them back to the water.

[Steve McDonald, 04/05/2005]

You mean that story about the wave isn’t true? Did you verify with the man who lives in your TV set? The two boats sit a block from the ocean, a few blocks north of Swami Beach and the temple-like Center for Self Realization.

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