The dual Boathouses were designed and built in 1929 with pieces of wood salvaged from two historic buildings that were demolished in 1928 – The Moonlight Beach Dance Parlor (at Moonlight Beach Dance Pavilion with a dance hall and bathhouse,) and the third floor of Encinitas Hotel. The unusually short wood slats provided extra challenges for boat builder Miles Kellogg, a maritime engineer from Michigan. His father was a sea captain, and Miles, himself, was inspired by the ocean setting in Encinitas. Having grown up near the Great Lakes, the resourceful and creative guy didn’t leave a set of architectural plans (and didn’t work from plans, according to references) when he built the mock vessels.
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.
Both houses are 15 feet tall and 20 feet long with a total space of 2,190 square feet. Each home has ship-like features such as plaster hulls with 19 portholes, two decks, large flat-roofed pilothouses (these are the bedrooms), a galley, dining and living rooms and a bathroom below deck.
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.
Thanks to the Encinitas Preservation Association who helped round up $1.55 million for the land purchase, Encinitas Boathouses have been preserved for the benefit of all to be held in a public trust of preservation forever.