Following a competitive request for proposals aimed at nonprofit organizations, the Santa Monica City Council has voted unanimously to award the Santa Monica Conservancy a 20-year lease of the historic Shotgun House for use as a preservation resource center.
The house will eventually be moved out of storage and to its permanent site at Second Street and Norman Place. Mayor Herb Katz remarked on the ideal location – not far from where it was originally built and close to a cluster of other historic buildings that reflect different eras of the city’s history. The Shotgun House was built in the 1890s and is believed to be the last intact one of its kind in Santa Monica.
While the Santa Monica Conservancy will pay a nominal annual rental fee, the Conservancy will be responsible for raising the funds to rehabilitate the house and maintain it. The rehabilitation costs are estimated to be approximately $250,000. “We will immediately begin a major fundraising campaign to fund the rehabilitation costs and identify potential donors who can provide building materials and professional services,” notes Mario Fonda-Bonardi, a local architect with the firm of Fonda-Bonardi and Hohman and a key member of the Conservancy’s Shotgun Committee.
The Preservation Resource Center will serve as an educational and resource center. It will offer a permanent exhibit about the role of shotgun houses in Santa Monica history and throughout the United States. A video will be available showing the various stages of the rehabilitation, not only as a historic record but also to be used as an educational tool to demonstrate rehabilitation techniques. The Center will be open for school visits, especially for elementary school students who study their community as a requirement of their school curriculum. Workshops will also be available to residents, including owners of historic properties, to teach them how to adapt historic structures to contemporary lifestyles and codes while still retaining historic integrity. Docent-led tours will start from the shotgun house and a written self-guided tour brochure will also be made available.
Finally, staff at the Preservation Resource Center will provide support and technical assistance by helping to find answers to preservation questions and will maintain a database of suppliers, consultants, architects, artisans, and others with experience in preservation work.