The evolution of Powerhouse Park is a quintessential story of "Olde" Del Mar that is little known today. Powerhouse Park is located very close to the center of Del Mar and is the perfect place to begin a relaxing evening or a fun filled day at the beach. Powerhouse Park lends it's name to it's original function as a powerhouse which provided power and hot water to the Stratford Inn facilities in 1928. In July of 1955, the hotel was sold and turned into a nightclub by the new owner and was in business from 1958-1962. In September of 1965, three years after the nightclub closed down, it was rented by the Universal Water Corporation and became a desalination plant. It was not until 1983, that Powerhouse became a park. In 1983, the Powerhouse and the surrounding areas were purchased by the city of Del Mar. After 17 years of land restoration's and improvements, Powerhouse Park was recognized as a "Gem of a project" by the San Diego Architectural Foundation. Adding: "This structure evokes the quirky and nostalgic past of this coastal community. This is a functional community space with restrooms, an outdoor theatre and beach showers where everyone can rinse off the Del Mar sand, wiggle their toes in glee, and soak in its historic glow." The Board of the Powerhouse Community Park states, “We are happy to have contributed to – and to continue to support – this inclusive community asset. The facilities are in daily use for the enjoyment of all and well-utilized by people of all ages and interests for diverse activities and special events.” On my last trip to Powerhouse Park, I decided to bring my dog along because dogs are allowed on the beach from Labor Day to June 15th. I parked two streets North of the Park on a residential street and proceeded to walk from where the picture below was taken. On this particularly clear day, I chose to travel North along the beach for 15 blocks to Del Dog Beach. Once you reach dog beach, you have the option of wading through a not so shallow inlet (depending on the tide) or crossing over the bridge. While watching my dog swim in the ocean for the first time, I got the chance to talk to locals about Powerhouse Park's history and found that very few of them knew of the parks history. Afterward, I made my way back down the beach to Powerhouse Park, got a bite to eat at the locally famous sandwich shop Board & Brew and enjoyed fresh ocean air at one of Southern California's most beautiful public parks.
To this day, Powerhouse Park draws locals and vacationers to the grassy bluff to enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the Del Mar coastline. The Powerhouse Community Center was repurposed and today serves as a sought after location for weddings and other special events. The price to rent the building is $550/HR or $4,500/Day and can accommodate up to 120 people.
Powerhouse Park lies just North of the Amtrak railroad tracks and includes public restrooms, water fountains, a playground and two concrete walkways to provide access to handicapped visitors. During summer, visitors can rent paddle boards and surfboards from the seasonal rental shop right across the street from the park in the paid parking lot.