The Coast News Group
The Boathouses include SS Encinitas and SS Moonlight which are being considered for the National Register of Historic Places.

Encinitas Boat Houses to be voted for National Historic Places

The Encinitas residences SS Encinitas and SS Moonlight, known as the Boathouses, will be considered at an Aug. 1 meeting by the California State Historical Resources Commission to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It helps to ensure that The Boathouses will be there in perpetuity for every resident and visitor to Encinitas to enjoy,” said Tom Cozens, Encinitas Preservation Association president, of the upcoming classification. 

The pair of boat houses are on 3rd Street, near Highway 101 in downtown Encinitas, and sit blocks from the ocean. But they have never taken to the sea since their inception in the 1920s. 

Miles Minor Kellogg was a jack-of-all-trades who constructed the houses during the early years of the 20th century using timber salvaged from an Encinitas bathhouse and a defunct hotel called the Moonlight Beach Dance Parlor.

The residences purposely imitate the characteristics and size of boats in what was known as the Roaring ‘20s. Kellogg built the houses to honor his sea captain father, but the boats were not intended to be actual vessels. 

Encinitas Historical Association President Carolyn Cope said The Boathouses have already been approved to become a National Historic Place. 

“(It) is pretty much a formality,” she said. “The date is set for Oct. 12 for the dedication.” 

After the historic site inauguration takes place, a reception will be held at another historic Encinitas landmark — The 1883 Schoolhouse.

It has been a multiyear process to get The Boathouses approved as a National Historic Place. 

“We’ve been working on this for six years,” Cope said.

The boats and four apartment units on the lot were purchased by the Encinitas Preservation Association in 2008 and are currently rented out as private homes. 

The Encinitas Preservation Association used funds from the city of Encinitas and from the developer of The Lofts at Moonlight Beach to put toward the down payment on the lot. 

“The back four units… are now part of affordable housing to the city of Encinitas,” Cozens said.

Dana Washburn is a 12-year resident in the SS Encinitas and said she appreciates the care that the Encinitas Preservation Association provides to her home. 

“I think that it’s great that they’re preserving them,” she said. “I just enjoy the time that I get to spend here.” 

The Boathouses exemplify early California “courtyard architecture” and each dwelling is 20 feet long by 15 feet tall and 1,100 square feet inside.

The boats offer standard amenities such as bathrooms, bedrooms and a kitchen, but also are equipped with mariner’s wheels, 19 portholes and a bow which doubles as a patio

“It really is like living in a boat,” Washburn said. 

Today, the homes are described as significant examples of “Fantasy-themed programmatic residential architecture,” according to the California State Historical Resources Commission. This means they are residential architecture structures intended to resemble something other than a traditional building.

Explorers can see The Boathouses anytime on 3rd Street or with a guided walking tour alongside the Encinitas Historical Society during every third Saturday between September and July. 

In the future, Cozens hopes to convert one of the current residences into a public space. 

“We are hoping at some point, if we pay down our loan enough, we can make one of them open for tours on a somewhat regular basis,” he said.

Photo Caption: The Boathouses being considered by the National Register of Historic Places are the SS Encinitas and the SS Moonlight. Photo by Jacob Aere