The Rest is History
It comes as no surprise that Encinitas is a community brimming with a rich culture and past. From historic downtown to Moonlight Beach to the boat houses on Third St., 92024 has a variety of unique links to a time since passed. Among these is the schoolhouse built in 1883, now home to the Encinitas Historical Society (EHS). The Encinitas Historical Society, a local nonprofit organization, sees the value in the community’s historic features and strives to preserve them for the benefit of future generations. We chat with EHS President Carolyn Cope to learn more about how the organization offers a glimpse into 92024’s humble yet unique beginnings.
Q&A with Encinitas Historical Society President Carolyn Cope
When was the Encinitas Historical Society founded, and by whom?
The Encinitas Historical Society was founded in 1980 by Julie Shoup and others for the purpose of preserving the history of Encinitas and its historic buildings.
What is the mission of the organization?
In addition to maintaining our historic 1883 Schoolhouse, we are an educational institution dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich cultural past of Encinitas.
How has the organization changed or developed since it was founded?
Our initial goal was to save the schoolhouse from demolition and move it from its location at Fourth and H St., where it served as a private residence for over half a century, to the playground area of the Pacific View Charter School site where it sits today. Fundraising and restoration of the schoolhouse took the next 17 years. In the meantime, we began collecting oral histories as well as historic photos and articles. Today, we are moving into the digital age and beginning work on scanning our photos and articles so they, along with our oral histories, will be accessible on our website.
At-A-Glance | Encinitas Historical Society President
Name: Carolyn Roy Cope
Community: Historic Encinitas
Education: Associate Degree – Palomar College
Family: Children – Rosannah (Cope) Hons, Morgan Cope, Joseph Cope
Hobbies and Interests: Community service, swimming at Moonlight Beach, making artistic creations with mosaics, reading, gardening
What kinds of programs are offered for the community?
First and foremost, we open the schoolhouse to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. Docents describe our early school days, our schoolhouse history, and our town’s changes and growth to visitors. We provide a local history program for third grade classes and area scout troops that visit. We also have a monthly Downtown Guided Walking Tour. We have had movie nights where we show Bessie Love movies. Ms. Love was a popular silent film actress who maintained a summer home on Fourth St. We also make the schoolhouse available to rent for community group meetings.
What do you think is one of the highlights of the Downtown Guided Walking Tour?
Naturally, we think the highlight of the downtown walking tour is our 1883 Schoolhouse. It is the oldest building still standing in Encinitas and, with its original floor, ceiling, and hand-made square nails, it just oozes history.
Can you tell us about the app that is now available during tours?
Otocast is available for free from the App Store on iTunes. It provides a platform for narrated audio guides wherever you are in the world and we have placed our downtown walking tour on it. Download Otocast to your smart phone, allow it to access your location, and the “Encinitas Historical Walking Tour” will take you on a self-guided tour of historic downtown Encinitas – complete with maps, photos, and written and audio description.
How does the EHS stay connected with the community?
We open the schoolhouse free to the public on Friday and Saturday afternoons. We have a website and are on Facebook and Twitter. This past summer we opened the schoolhouse from 5 to 7 p.m. during Encinitas Classic Car Night and gave free root beer floats to anyone that stopped in to visit. We always have a presence at the Encinitas Spring and Fall Street Fairs.
The Encinitas Historical Society is one of three entities that came together to form the Encinitas Preservation Association (EPA) for the purpose of purchasing the iconic boat houses on Third St. Along with Tom Cozens of the EPA, in the summertime we conduct two four-hour bus tours of over 50 historical points-of-interest within Encinitas. We are also represented in CINCH (Council Interpreting North County History). CINCH is a group of historical societies and organizations in North County where we exchange ideas and information in the interest of promoting San Diego County History.
“My wish for the community is that we always value and treasure our history and never stop recording it.”
How does the EHS fund its programs and projects?
We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) and we depend heavily on donations and membership fees, in addition to sales of local history materials. We have also been fortunate in the past to receive grants from both the City of Encinitas and the County of San Diego.
Do you have upcoming events that the community should know about?
We will be at the 2016 Spring Street Fair, which will take place April 23 and 24. We also will be holding periodic informational open houses for the public regarding Encinitas Arts, Culture, and Ecology Alliance (EACEA) plans for the Pacific View property as they develop.
Does the Encinitas Historical Society need volunteers? If so, how can people get involved?
We are always in need of volunteers, especially docents to hold the schoolhouse open for visitors. We provide the training. We have no paid staff and rely on volunteers to host our Downtown Guided Walking Tour and special group visitations to the schoolhouse, staff the schoolhouse on weekends, assist in the maintenance of our archives and photo collection, help out at fundraisers, and set up and staff a booth at the Spring and Fall Street Fairs. Anyone who would like to donate his or her time may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, stop by, or call the schoolhouse at 760-942-9066 during our open hours.
Besides volunteering, what other ways can community members contribute to your mission?
We are always in need of financial assistance. Also, it would be wonderful if community members with any special skills or knowledge (such as technology, carpentry or contracting skills, gardening, etc.) would be willing to share their talents.
When and where does the Encinitas Historical Society meet?
The board of directors meets in our historic 1883 Schoolhouse the second Tuesday of every month at 10 a.m.
Please give us a little bit of the history behind the 1883 Schoolhouse.
Twelve of our settlers in 1883 unanimously approved a school bond of $600 at six percent interest to build the schoolhouse. It was built by Edward G. Hammond, a cabinetmaker from England, and his son Ted. At the time, the schoolhouse faced east towards downtown and sat all by itself on a hill near the bluff where it could be seen easily from almost any location in town. In 1928, it was deemed obsolete by the school district and moved from the site to Fourth and H St. where it was converted into a home. It remained there until 1983 when it was saved from the wrecking ball and moved to its current site, which is approximately 100 feet south of its original location.
Can you give us some background on your board of directors?
Our board of directors is a blend of long-time residents, some who were born and raised in Encinitas, and recent newcomers from other cities and states. All bring special talents, a love for Encinitas, and the desire to preserve its history.
Why do you think this organization is an important part of the 92024 community?
We maintain the integrity of our historic schoolhouse and preserve photos, information, and documents for future generations. We work hand in hand with the San Dieguito Heritage Museum as well as other historical organizations in San Diego County to preserve and promote our respective history.
What do you most enjoy about working with the EHS?
I’ve made a lot of great friends and we all work well together for a common goal. I love greeting visitors to the schoolhouse. I simply enjoy being in historical buildings that are so rich in history!
What are the organization’s short-term and long-term goals?
Our short-term goal would be digitalizing our archives. Our long-term goal is for a smooth transition of our schoolhouse into the EACEA’s plans for the entire Pacific View school property.
If you could grant one wish for the Encinitas Historical Society or the community, what would that wish be?
My wish for the community is that we always value and treasure our history and never stop recording it. My hope is the Encinitas Historical Society never slows down in our quest to document and preserve our rich and colorful history.
Are there any fun facts about Encinitas’ history that 92024 Magazine readers may find interesting?
There are so many, but here are just a few:
Moonlight beach was a popular place for horse and buggy racing to Oceanside and back during low tide. With the advent of Prohibition, it became a landing site for midnight bootlegging.
The dance hall and bathhouse built in 1888 on Moonlight Beach were dismantled in 1925 and the lumber was used to build the boat houses on Third St.
Before the building of I-5 in the 1960s, there was very little east of the freeway other than open land.
Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know about the Encinitas Historical Society?
Our 1883 Schoolhouse is not a stuffy old building but is a fun place to be that is rich in our local history. Whether you are a native or newcomer to the area, there’s always something to learn for people of all ages. Come and experience it for yourself!
At-A-Glance | Encinitas Historical Society
Name: Encinitas Historical Society
President: Carolyn R. Cope
Address: 390 West F St., Encinitas, CA 92024
Facebook: Encinitas Historical Society and 1883 Schoolhouse