by Kristi Hawthorne, from Oceanside Living Magazine
As Oceanside has developed over the years, we have acquired an eclectic array of structures which have been built over different time periods and that represent a variety of architecture styles. However, with time and neglect, once impressive buildings can lose their luster or when left vacant turn to eyesores. The general consensus may lean toward demolition but when a building can be repurposed, our downtown can maintain its history and character.
LTH & Kitchen
In the mid 1930’s, Paul and Rose Higley opened a small grocery store at 308 South Hill Street, (now Coast Highway). They operated the market for several years until they sold it in the early 1940s to Britton Ruebush, who renamed it fittingly, the Ruebush Market. One of the employees by the name of Jack Vaughan purchased the market in 1950, and like his predecessor, renamed it yet again as Vaughan’s Market. Jack Vaughan was a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton and when he was discharged settled in Oceanside. He and his wife Patricia had twin children whom they named Jack and Jill. Jack and Jill eventually took over the family business which featured fresh meat and locally grown produce.
The market finally closed after serving the surrounding neighborhood for decades. The building was showing its age and at one time was considered as a new location for a chain convenience store. Plans fell through and the former market continued to deteriorate. In 2013, Gabe Hogan purchased the building. He visualized and brought to fruition one of Oceanside’s most popular places to dine and drink: The Local Tap House and Kitchen or LTH. Along with Chef Daniel Pudnik who creates an ever changing menu to the delight of patrons, it offers 32 craft beers and ciders, many of which are brewed in San Diego County. The building has been renovated to include outdoor bar seating and roll up windows (all the rage). Repurposed items provide an industrial look to the restaurant’s furnishings and décor and include barn fencing, and a 1976 semi-truck bed for the bar and counter. The concrete floor was uncovered and polished and you’ll still find an original scale from its market days hanging from the exposed rafters. Gabe is proud of this diamond in the rough that he has “discovered” and remade into a highly successful and popular fixture in Oceanside’s upcoming food and bar scene.
Masters Kitchen and Cocktail
Leonard C. Masters came to Oceanside in the late 1920’s and opened an automotive parts store, originally located in what is part of the Dolphin Hotel building at 129 South Hill Street
(now Coast Highway). Masters Automotive Supply grew into a successful business and in 1946 Leonard Masters built a new building and relocated to 208 South Coast Highway. The business was sold to a local group of businessmen who continued to operate as Masters Automotive. The building was sold to the Jubela family in 1970.
This large and rather non-descript commercial building stood vacant for years until just recently when son, Ryan Jubela, began to imagine the parts warehouse as an ideal location for a new dining experience. He designed a layout with the idea of having “the outdoors while indoors” and live plants help to create that feeling. His brother Adam, an architect, joined the project and went about transforming the vast storeroom. After the drop ceiling was removed, they discovered the original “boat” ceiling which was in near pristine condition. The walls were covered in plaster which took three days to chisel away to expose the original brick. The industrial feel was incorporated into the scheme and styling yet provides an atmosphere that is open and airy. Ryan designed the unique bar that includes a wall of “caged rock”. Each rock was hand placed behind a wire fence.
Keeping the original name seemed appropriate and Masters Kitchen and Cocktail conveys Ryan’s vision of sophistication in a lush and trendy setting. He is excited about the direction Oceanside is going and is proud to be a unique and distinctive dining experience, and part of its history.
The Bank of Italy building is a great example of a repurposed building. In fact it has many purposes or lives in its 88 year history. Built in 1928, on the northeast corner of Mission and Coast Highway, it was once a beautifully detailed building and a welcome addition to our growing downtown business district. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Morgan, Walls, and Clements, a renowned firm established by Julia Morgan. Later renamed Bank of America, it survived the Great Depression when the local bank did not.
As Oceanside grew in population, Bank of America sought to expand and in 1950 built a new bank building on the northeast corner of Second (now Mission Avenue) and Ditmar street. The original building was vacated and sold to Isadore A. Teacher. The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce began a campaign for local businesses to modernize and update their buildings to be more attractive to the public. Shortly after the bank building was purchased by Teacher, it was completely remodeled and it is more than probable that the bank building was greatly modified during his ownership, the interior largely stripped and the outer façade modified and the awning added. The Oceanside Blade Tribune reported that it was now “one of the most modern structures in Oceanside.”
Teacher leased the bank building to Joseph B. Schwartz, a pharmacist who opened the Oceanside Pharmacy in December of 1950. John “Bushy” Graham operated the pharmacy’s lunch and soda counter. Claude V. and Ouida Ruth Johnson acquired the building in 1964. Johnson had opened a sporting goods store at 210 North Hill Street (now Coast Highway) and continued to lease the former bank building to the Oceanside Pharmacy. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Dutch Jewelers occupied the storefront while A&W Root Beer occupied the bank building.
Johnson moved his sporting goods business to 202 North Hill Street (now Coast Highway) in 1979. His wife, Ruth, continued to run the sporting goods store for over 20 years. The property was sold in 2014 and this year was reincarnated to become a very popular local eatery: Swami’s. Little remains of the stately bank building, which had been all but gutted decades ago. The new restaurant, designed by Adam Jubela, incorporates the original brick work with exposed ceiling rafters. Reimagined, this building is transformed from a vacant eyesore to an eye-catching corner café.