Powerhouse History

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 its cottages, and the hotel’s laundry.

Powerhouse Roaring 20s

In July 1955, after the hotel was sold during a bankruptcy sale, only the Del Mar Plunge and the Powerhouse remained. Three years later, the Powerhouse found a new owner and was transformed into a nightclub. The Powerhouse Roaring 20s featured waitresses dressed as flappers, and waiters and bartenders in derbies and vests. The nightclub remained in operation from October 1958 to 1962.

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Desalination Water Plant

Following the closure of the Roaring 20s night club, the Powerhouse was once again revamped. In September 1965,  the Universal Water Corporation took control of the space, turning it into desalination plant where methods for the conversion of salt water to drinking water were tested. 

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. 

City Acquisition & Restoration - "Orchid on the Coast"

In 1983, the Powerhouse and the surrounding park areas were purchased by the City of Del Mar and a 17-year effort culminated in the creation of the Powerhouse Community Center. The intent to establish a functional community building in keeping with the natural beauty of Del Mar and its coastline was achieved. Cascading stone staircases, trellis-covered verandas, and entrancingly-framed views awarded the Powerhouse the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchid Award for Design in the year 2000. 

The Powerhouse continues to allure residents and visitors alike to sit under the palms, feel the ocean breeze, and take in a most picturesque view.

Please visit the Friends of the Powerhouse and Del Mar Historical Society websites for more information on the history of the Powerhouse and Del Mar.