Set in Stone

Scroll down to read the incredible story behind this iconic stone house.

Front view
Rear view
Corner view (R)
Corner view (L)
Front stone path
Interior fireplace
Exterior wall

The Story

A powerful Pacific storm inundated the coast of San Diego in the 1920’s. Mission Beach was flooded and many of the cottages washed away.

The ocean surge eroded the beach — not even one grain of sand remained. There was nothing left but planks of wood, pebbles and stones from here to La Jolla.

One of the locals decided to rebuild. Every day he hitched up a wagon and went to La Jolla to collect stones. No one knows how many trips he made, how many stones he gathered or how he was able to lift them onto his wagon.

Over time the young man built the stone house pictured above, but that wasn’t the end of the story. You see, he was also a world-class surfer. To revitalize the community he sponsored the first-ever Mission Beach surfing contest.

His would not be the last stone house in Mission Beach. Residents learned that wood structures along the coast were no match for devastating storm surge.

Oh, you can probably guess who won the surfing contest. Many locals don’t know that part of the story, but the stone house remains as a testament of the industrious young man who brought Mission Beach back to life so many years ago.

In the words of Paul Harvey, “Now you know the rest of the story”.

Copyright © In Pics and Words

9 thoughts on “Set in Stone

    1. Cost and geology. Wood is cheaper and San Diego is located in an arid, earthquake zone. It gets very hot inside the stone house — imagine a brick oven. Insulation and water vapor permeability can be problematic. Stone mortar can crack and crumble during an earthquake so you wouldn’t want to be buried under a ton of stones when the ground starts shaking.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s like throwing dice, really — earthquake or storm, but the coast is a desirable place to live so people continue to move here even though portions of Mission Beach flood every winter, and the isthmus is located between two fault lines.

          Liked by 2 people

  1. Great story and wonderful house. Enjoyed the photos too, David, especially the close-ups of the rocks, so many different types of rocks…matches the story behind the building of the house.



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