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Boat house preservation efforts set sail

ENCINITAS — A famed tourist attraction became more accessible March 21, as visitors were treated to tours of one of the historic boat houses.
The boat houses moored along Third Street cemented their place in the city’s future as City Council agreed to support the purchase of the property by a historical foundation last year.
In a unanimous vote, the council appropriated $10,000 to hire consultants to research the acquisition of the two apartments as well as the four adjoining rental units located behind the boat houses.
In conjunction with the newly formed Encinitas Preservation Foundation, a partnership between the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association and the Encinitas Historical Society, council members said the city would work toward preserving the 80-year-old boat houses, located at 726 and 732 Third St. “I cannot imagine an Encinitas without those boat houses,” Peder Norby said.
Norby, the city’s Highway 101 corridor coordinator and a director of the foundation, said the community “dodged a bullet” when the boat houses were sold to private owners who were committed to preserving the architectural integrity several years ago.
Built in 1928 by Miles Kellogg with recycled lumber from the Moonlight Beach Dance Pavilion, the boat houses have become unique architectural landmarks in a city that is becoming increasingly homogeneous. “The boat houses are an excellent example of vernacular architecture and early California courtyard architecture,” Mayor Maggie Houlihan said. “They represent our history, they speak to the eclectic nature of our community.”
Norby said the foundation has approached county and state agencies seeking resources for the preservation effort. “We are attempting to place the boat houses on the national registry of historic places,” he said. Eventually, the foundation envisions opening at least one of the boat houses to the public Norby said.
As a test run, the foundation opened one of the vacant units to the public for an open house. The sneak peek came at a cost of $10 per person, much to the chagrin of some passersby. “Maybe I’m just not that curious, but I wouldn’t pay anything to see the inside of an old boat-shaped apartment,” Paul Jenks said.
Others were more supportive of the effort. “The money goes to pay to keep this (boat house) from becoming another mixed-use development,” Sarah Walker said as she stopped to take a picture. “I think it adds some character to the town and that’s a good thing,” she said.
Renovations on the quirky two-bedroom, 1.5-bath apartment will continue in preparation for new renters. When told of the $1,950 a month rental price, Jenks said it was a good deal. “It’s close to the beach and downtown, what else could you ask for?”