In 1928, the Powerhouse was built to replace the Stratford Inn’s original powerhouse. The huge boilers in the new building supplied hot water for the pool, the hotel and the hotel’s laundry. It also supplied heat for the hotel and its cottages.
In July 1955, after the Hotel was sold during the Bankruptcy sale, only the Del Mar plunge and the Powerhouse remained unsold. It was not until 1958 that the powerhouse found an owner and was turned into a nightclub. The Powerhouse Roaring 20s, featured waitresses dressed as flappers and waiters and bartenders in derbies and vests. The night club opened October 1958 and then closed in 1962.
The Powerhouse which had been unoccupied after the Roaring 20s nightclub failed was rented in September 1965 by the Universal Water Corporation. It became a desalination plant to try to find an economic means for converting salt water to drinking water. The building underwent a complete renovation on the inside.
In 1983, the Powerhouse and the surrounding park areas were purchased by the City and a 17 year effort culminated in the creation of the Powerhouse Community Center. The 2000 Orchid Award winning design for Historic Preservation led the San Diego Architectural Foundation to say:
A gem of a project. Hats off to the restoration committee for taking the plunge and providing the power to this restoration effort. This structure evokes the quirky and nostalgic past of this coastal community. This is a functional community space with restrooms, an outdoor theatre and beach showers where everyone can rinse off the Del Mar sand, wiggle their toes in glee, and soak in its historic glow.
The Powerhouse includes cool, trellis-covered verandas with perfectly framed views of palms and surf that invites the visitor to sit, relax and absorb the beauty of Del Mar