SANTA MONICA—On Wednesday, May 3, Santa Monica’s last remaining shotgun house will receive a Preservation Award from the Los Angeles Conservancy, in recognition of its historical significance and perseverance. According to the conservancy’s website, the award will be presented at the organization’s 36th annual awards luncheon at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The Santa Monica Shotgun House was built around 1899, as one of the hundreds of structures that served as vacation cottages near the beach. The house was originally located two blocks from the Santa Fe railroad depot in Ocean Park.
The style of the “shotgun” homes was believed to have originated from the Caribbean and was popular in the rural South in the nineteenth century. During the Civil War, these houses were used as field housing and shelter for people of limited means. The name is thought to have derived from the arrangement of the rooms—three or four rooms in a row, with aligned doorways. A shot from a shotgun fired through the front door could travel straight through the house without hitting any walls.
According to the Santa Monica Conservancy website, the Shotgun House has three small rooms, with a covered front porch and gabled roof with Queen-Anne style diamond-shaped shingles. Over the years, many surrounding homes were destroyed or altered to suit tenants’ changing needs. The Shotgun House, which had been a rental home for decades, was threatened with demolition in 1998. Though community members worked to have it landmarked, a new owner began demolition in 2002.
The Church in Ocean Park, the Ocean Park Community Organization, and other community members purchased the house and raised funds to restore it. Since then, the house has been moved three times, with its present location being only a block and a half away from its original location on 2712 Second Street.
In 2007, the city of Santa Monica took ownership of the house and accepted the Santa Monica Conservancy’s proposal to adapt it for use as their Preservation Resource Center. The house was rehabilitated while maintaining many of its original qualities and became the Conservancy’s headquarters. In early 2017, the house received LEED™ Gold certification, after it was remodeled for contemporary use.
Visitors are welcome to attend the workshops and lectures held at the Shotgun House. It is open to the public on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and by appointment.