Preservation Resource Center

The PRC will be open for free, in-person tours on Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14 from noon to 2 p.m. The next virtual tours are schedule for Sunday, April 21 at noon.

No reservations are required to visit the Preservation Resource Center. Click here to register for the virtual tour or scroll down for more information.

Explore the last intact shotgun house in Santa Monica, which now serves as an award-winning Preservation Resource Center for our community, located at 2520 2nd Street in Santa Monica, CA 90405.

Built in 1897, the little house features three original rooms where you can explore Santa Monica history and learn about preservation. Look behind the walls and the floor to reveal vintage materials, and see if you can find the one original window in the Shotgun House. Young guests will also enjoy the miniature model house decorated with Victorian-era furnishings that were popular when our shotgun house was first built!

 The front and side elevations of the restored shotgun house with surrounding native plant garden and front sign reading, preservation resource center at the shotgun house.

Photo: Stephen Schafer

Our friendly and knowledgeable docents will share information about what life was like in the early 1900s, how the house was saved and rehabilitated, and answer any questions you may have.

Walk-ups are welcome and reservations are not required.

Live Virtual Tour
Sunday, April 21 at noon.

Click here to register.

Can’t make the in-person tour? Take a virtual step inside our shotgun house with docent and architect Mario Fonda-Bonardi! Learn about life, history and architecture in Santa Monica in the early 1900s on this free virtual tour. Discover the journey of this incredible little house, which was saved from demolition and moved on wheels three times before being adapted into our modern-day Center.

A screenshot of the virtual tour showing a view of the interior with a thumbnail image of tour guide Mario Fonda-Bonardi at the top right and a row of small thumbnails views across the bottom.

Docent and architect Mario Fonda-Bonardi leads a private tour of the shotgun house.

Register online today! During the 45 minute tour, you’ll get a chance to take a walk through history, hear stories about early Santa Monica and ask questions. The tour is free and will be held via Zoom.

Click here to register.

Self-Guided Virtual Tour

Tips for Navigating

  • Click the “360” icons to rotate your exterior view of the house.
  • Click the “Walking Person” icon to enter the house.
  • Press the “Play” button in the bottom left to start a guided tour.
  • Click on the orange dots to access more information about a feature.

The 3D scan of the house was created by Lucas Preti of Coral Climb Productions, a boutique company based in Santa Monica with expertise in documentaries, virtual reality and augmented reality.

About our Preservation Resource Center

Our Preservation Resource Center serves as an education resource for the community and visitors of all ages. Take a virtual tour by clicking the photo above or visit us in person! Discover practical, user-friendly information about historic resources in Santa Monica as well as the methods and benefits of preservation. At the Center, we offer free docent-led tours of the Shotgun House and assistance to homeowners and others with landmark applications and various preservation concerns.

Our award-winning Shotgun House is the last intact shotgun house in Santa Monica. It serves as a model for adaptive reuse and showcases an important piece of Santa Monica’s history. This little house has achieved remarkable things! Since opening in 2016, it has welcomed and educated thousands of visitors, earned LEED Gold certification for its green building strategies, and has received several awards:

Among the Center’s sustainable features is the  Shotgun House Coastal Garden, which is completely organic, filled with drought-resistant native plants, and cleanses storm water and dry weather runoff.

History of the Shotgun House

The Shotgun House was built in 1897 at 2712 Second Street in Ocean Park. In the 1890s Ocean Park was being subdivided and settled and was growing fast as a resort area. In Ocean Park’s first phase of development, shotgun houses were built or brought in by rail to serve as vacation cottages near the beach. This house was originally located just two blocks from the Santa Fe railroad depot in Ocean Park and within easy reach of the area’s tourist attractions. As such it is linked with one of Santa Monica’s oldest and most important industries: tourism.

The shotgun house appears in a black and white photo from 2000 looking dilapidated and sitting on an unkempt lot.

The Shotgun House at 2712 Second Street in 2000. Photo: Tom Zimmerman

Architectural historians believe this type of house was first seen in the Caribbean (resulting from a blend of African and European influences). By the early nineteenth century this modest type of structure had become ubiquitous in the rural South and was particularly common as dwellings for African-Americans.

Inexpensive to build, easy to transport and adaptable to diverse purposes, the shotgun style spread across the country during the nineteenth century. Shotgun houses found use during the Civil War as field housing, sprung up in mining towns across the West, sheltered railroad workers laying tracks across the nation, and offered economical shelter for people of limited means in many communities. In Santa Monica and other resort areas, shotgun homes were also useful as vacation cottages.

Our Shotgun House is a good example of the form with three small rooms lined up in a row. (See shotgun houses across the U.S.) Like most shotgun houses, this board-and-batten structure features a covered front porch and a gabled roof. Ornamentation is minimal but the diamond-shaped shingles on the front gable provide a hint of Queen Anne styling. (Originally the house also included some Victorian scrolled brackets on the porch posts.) Though presently enclosed, several sash windows on both sides of the house once provided light and ventilation.

The historic shotgun house travels down Pico Boulevard on the back of a flatbed truck on the way to its new home.

The Shotgun House moving in 2014.

The shotgun house is remarkable for its sheer tenacity. Because many shotgun houses were flimsily built, many did not stand up well to the passage of time. By the mid-twentieth century a number of Santa Monica’s shotgun houses had been deemed unsafe and bulldozed. Many other shotgun houses that were not decrepit were destroyed due to development pressure over the last century. Yet, against all odds, our Shotgun House persisted, and was occupied as a residence until 1996. Facing destruction in 2002, it was moved from its original site and became the focus of efforts by community members and the City of Santa Monica to restore and relocate it.

Over the next sixteen years, the house became the property of the City, and was relocated two more times before a permanent location was found in the parking lot across from Norman Place and the Ocean Park Library in 2014.

Under the guardianship of the Santa Monica Conservancy, an adaptive reuse plan was developed, a lease was negotiated, and funds were raised to sensitively rehabilitate and transform the little shotgun house into a Preservation Resource Center. In January 2016, the Resource Center celebrated its grand opening. (Read about the grand opening in the LA Times.)

Four individuals smile and clap on the porch of shotgun house including a man with giant scissors who has just cut through a thick red ribbon tied across the entrance.

Grand opening of the Preservation Resource Center in 2016.