Beach Cottage Museum


The Manhattan Beach Historical Society Beach Cottage is a typical beach cottage that was originally near the beach and was moved by the city of Manhattan Beach to Polliwog Park in 1987/88.  It features board and batten walls (no studs and plaster) with an overlay of external shingles and is painted with a rust-red heavy bodied stain, as it was originally.  The roof is conventional and has lower eaves on the south side to minimize sand from pilling up on the windward side. It was built in 1905 for $600 on a lot that cost $140.  It was originally located at 205 Fifteenth Street (where Manhattan Ave. forms a T-intersection with Fifteenth Street).

A Typical Beach Cottage in 1902

Most of the early structures were beach cottages.  In the early 1900s, families would come from Los Angeles and Pasadena on the trolley that ran on a double track along the beach (see the Trolley webpage). Most of the builders of the beach cottages wanted a place that they could stay near the beach on the weekends and during the summer. By the time of the city’s incorporation in 1912, there were 500-600 full-time residents, mainly in the Sand Section.

In 1902, another beach cottage, the Fred W. Horner residence, was built on a lot purchased for $180, located at 712 Manhattan Ave. (it was torn down for new construction  in 1987).  The photo shows the absence of paved streets and utilities in the early 1900s.  Until the Sand Section streets were paved in 1915-1917, the only transportation was by trolley.  There was no electricity, gas, or indoor plumbing and the only water was from a primitive well/water tower/distribution pipe system.  The pipes lay on top of the sand and broke frequently.  The city provided modern utilities and street lighting throughout the Sand Section from about 1915 to 1917.