The Mushroom House

After about a year long break I have decided to try and resurrect my blog. I’m not sure why I stopped writing, but I certainly didn’t stop taking pictures. The demise of my Foto Friday series probably coincided with the creation of my Instagram account, and I didn’t really take the time to put up any new material here.

Well, here goes nothing.

Believe it or not, this past Saturday I was sitting around my apartment trying to think of what to do for the day. Sick of the monotony of searching and applying for jobs, and still recovering from my workouts earlier in the week, I was left with an open slate of a sunny and 73-degree afternoon.

If you have seen any of my posts before, you may know that I have an interest in abandoned or derelict buildings and structures. Not only do I get a rush out of exploring them and imagining what they used to be like, but I also think they make great subjects for photography.

Which brings me back to Saturday afternoon. A quick Google search later, I had a list of places in “hidden San Diego” that I might be interested in exploring, and on the top of my list was an oceanside building often referred to as “The Mushroom House”.


According to the maps, this place is situated between public beach entrances at Scripps Pier and Blacks Beach, so I decided to head North from the Pier. After about a ten-minute walk through rocks (and rising tide!) I turned the corner to see what you see, this spaceship looking house built as close to the water as possible.


Here it is from the other side. This house is actually called “The Pavilion” and it was designed by a famous San Diego architect named Dale Naegle as a guesthouse for Sam Bell, heir to General Mills. Constructed in 1968, this house was supposed to be able to withstand earthquakes but based on the stains on the retaining wall they forgot about the threat of rising ocean levels.



Judging by the signage and locks on the gates this house is still privately owned, although walking around it appears like it hasn’t been in use for a long time. Too bad, it would be a heck of an Airbnb rental. Off to the left in the picture above is the only direct access to the house, a 300ft long elevator that was almost certainly a first of its kind.

I walked around the back to get a better view of the place, including looking straight up the narrowest funicular I have ever seen. Talk about a claustrophobic ride, my shoulders barely fit between the tracks here.


And here is the view from the top of the surrounding wall in the back, underneath the fungus cap. Whoever stayed here definitely had an unobstructed panoramic view of the ocean below. Construction regulations aside, I can’t imagine what a place like this would cost these days. I also want to spend a weekend there.

Special thanks to Mafalda for the encouragement to start writing again (and also for the polarizer to make that last picture possible).

Thanks for reading, hopefully more to come soon.



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