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Boathouses Ahoy! A celebration of historic recognition for two beloved landmarks

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Four of the builder’s descendants, who came here for the dedication, posed with the commemorative plaque: Miles J. Kellogg, Stacy Alexander Karp, Rachel Brupbacher and her mother, Nancy Brupbacher.
(Photo by Maurice Hewitt)

The pair of boathouses at 726 and 732 Third Street in Encinitas have never seen the sea, but they’ve been catching the eyes of passersby for over 90 years. Built in 1927-28 by Miles Minor Kellogg and his son, Miles Justus Kellogg, they were constructed with boards salvaged from the 1888 Moonlight Beach Dance Pavilion, which didn’t survive Prohibition.

Now, after years of persistence by the Encinitas Preservation Association (EPA), formed in 2008 by Encinitas Historical Society and 101 MainStreet Association, the Boathouses have finally been granted official recognition. On Aug. 1, they were added to The National Register of Historic Places, and on the morning of Oct. 12, their block was closed to traffic, and over 200 people gathered in the street for a dedication ceremony. About half of them were red-and-black-clad members of E Clampus Vitus (ECV), a fraternal organization committed to preserving California history that co-sponsored the event.

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Dedication Ceremony MC Tom Cozens, EPA president, with Mayor Catherine Blakespear
(Photo by Maurice Hewitt)

In an interview beforehand, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear talked about the Boathouses: “I see them as functional art,” she said. “They’re residences, but they’re also art pieces, from a time in the 1920s when people felt a real sense of freedom, before the crash. I think it’s great that we still have them because local people worked hard to preserve them. These examples from our past give a richness to the fabric of our environment.”

The mayor also spoke at the dedication, calling it “a great success story” and praising all the volunteers for their “grass-roots activism.” Other speakers included State Assembly-member Tasha Boerner Horvath and Corrine Busta, representing County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar—all three presented congratulatory proclamations. Tom Cozens, president of the EPA, MC’d the event, and Rachel Brupbacher, great-great granddaughter of the builder, added some Kellogg family history.

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E Clampus Vitus stalwarts Robert Ramos (“Noble Grand Humbug”), Tomas Gonzales (“Gold Dust Receiver”), and Bill Martin (“Vitter”)
(Photo by Maurice Hewitt)

Finally, Sean Englert, EPA’s vice-president, honored by Cozens for “getting us across the finish line,” unveiled the commemorative plaque provided by the ECV, of which he is also a member. The ECV men in the crowd gave a rousing cheer. “This is the 110th dedication of a historic building we’ve participated in,” said Noble Grand Humbug Robert Ramos. But it’s the first one on the Register of Historic Places!”

Afterwards, everyone was invited to line up for an inside look at the S.S. Moonlight—less impressive than the exterior, but interesting anyway. The event concluded with a reception at the 1883 Schoolhouse on F Street, the oldest building in Encinitas.

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The Boathouses, aka The Arks, circa 1930
(Courtesy Encinitas Historical Society)

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About the Boathouses

The two-story Boathouses, made of wood and stucco, were always meant for landlubbers; one of them has had the same tenant for the past 12 years. They originally had masts, bowsprits and decorative anchors, which were removed over the years. Their names—S.S. Moonlight and S.S. Encinitas—were added in 1980.

Behind them are four unprepossessing apartment units that were included in the Boathouses’ $1,550,000 purchase price when the EPA bought them in 2008. In fact, without the apartments, permanently designated as affordable housing, the deal could not have gone through, since half the money came from funds for affordable housing, provided by the City of Encinitas, which also made the down payment, using developers’ fees from The Lofts at Moonlight Beach. Rental income goes toward paying off the mortgage; one of the Boathouses may someday become a museum.

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EPA VP Sean Englert with his son Gunnar and “Ex-Noble Grand Humbug” Al Makinson
(Photo by Maurice Hewitt)

About the builder, Miles Minor Kellogg (1870-1933)

Originally from Michigan, Miles Minor Kellogg never made it past third grade but he learned early on how to make do. He became a builder, contractor and inventor, using recycled materials whenever he could. He married at 21, fathered 10 children, moved his family to Minnesota and then Colorado, and finally wound up in Encinitas around 1915. He built many commercial and residential buildings, and used his memories of sailing and working on boats on Lake Michigan to design and build the Boathouses, with the after-school help of his son, Miles Justus Kellogg. He finally sold them around 1932, in the height of the Depression, and moved with his wife to Potrero, not far from the Mexican border. He died there in December, 1933, but his Boathouses live on.

Want to know more about the Boathouses? See the 39-page draft of the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, which took volunteers six years to complete. Go to bit.ly/2BkTddi

EPA VP Sean Englert estimates that about $750,000 is needed for full restoration of the Boathouses. If you’re interested in making a donation or buying a commemorative brick or T-shirt, contact Sean at 760-230-6025.


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