Friday, July 19, 2024

2024 GEM Award Finalist: 874 A Avenue

The flat-roofed, Spanish-style home on 874 A Avenue, has seen many families come and go over the past 102 years. Among them are many officers from both the Navy and the Marines.

Robert Barrows contracted J.R. Allen to build the house in 1922 for a cost of $6,000. Less than two years later, in January 1925, Barrows moved to Beverly Hills and sold the house to Lt. Col. Russell Davis. Two years later, in 1927, Davis sold the house to Lt. Cmdr. Harry Rusk and his wife, Margaret. During his Navy career, Rusk was commander of the USS Rigel, the USS Nevada, and the USS Arizona. 

By the early 1940s, Col. John Stillman was the owner of the property. The next noted owner was Maj. Russell Davis Jr.  in the mid 1970s. It is believed that he was the son of Lt. Col. Russell Davis, who owned the home in the 1920s. The younger Davis would have been about 10 years old when his parents initially bought the home. 

Davis junior’s son was also in the Marines. Maj. Brent Eden Davis was missing in action after his plane was shot down in North Vietnam in March 1966. The Department of Defense declared him “killed in action” in 1975.

The officers who owned the home were frequently deployed for many months or temporarily stationed somewhere else. During extended absences, the home was often rented out to other military families.

The current owners bought the house in 2021 and undertook an extensive remodel inside and out. The yard was relandscaped and the stucco wall around the perimeter expanded the backyard entertaining area. New energy-efficient windows were added throughout the home, and the exterior got a fresh look with light cream-colored paint and black trim replacing the light, mint-green walls and blue trim.

The interior renovations, by Ferratt and Sons, include a complete kitchen and bathroom remodel. New oak wood flooring replaced the old floors because the planks were warped and couldn’t be sanded down.

“If I saw something that was uniquely old, we kept it,” the owner said. Among those items were window latches and toggle light switches. The home also had a very small room with an adjacent bathroom, which was most likely the maid’s room. That room had access to the basement and a hidden access, an extremely narrow hallway, that led to the kitchen. The owners turned the tiny room and the hallway into a closet and storage area.

The owner describes the house as a “modern pueblo.” “It’s very homey and very charming inside and out,” the owner said.

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In honor of the 10th Anniversary of the GEM Awards, the Coronado Historical Association is pleased to announce that there is a prodigious group of ten finalists for this year’s award, the largest group of finalists in the awards history. This year’s finalists include historic properties at: 1026 Flora Avenue, 1045 Loma Avenue, 1135 Loma Ave, 1315/1319 5th Street, 275 J Avenue, 350 D Avenue, 519 Ocean Boulevard, 520 J Avenue, 870 H Avenue, and 874 A Avenue. 

Established in 2013, the GEM Awards have become a tradition in recognizing homeowners who retain and maintain Coronado’s unique character. By choosing renovation over replacement, homeowners are celebrated for their unwavering commitment to preserving the island’s architectural history and fostering connections to the past. These awards serve as a public acknowledgment of their dedication to the past. This year’s Awards Ceremony, where the winners will be announced, will be held on Wednesday, April 3rd at 5:30 pm at the City’s Nautilus Room. Tickets can be purchased on CHA’s website or by calling 619-435-7242.

To delve into the remarkable preservation efforts undertaken by the nominees, CHA is spotlighting the history of each home.



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