Egyptian Court Apartments
3772 Park Boulevard, Hillcrest
Egyptian Court on Park Boulevard has no Jacuzzi, no swimming pool, no tennis courts, and no meet-your-neighbors barbecues. But its 12 apartments have hardwood floors and horsetail ferns, papyrus plants line its entrance, and there's a goldfish pond in its shady courtyard. The small Hillcrest complex was built by contractor Paul Carl in 1926, in response to the Egyptian craze sparked by the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1926. In 1940 it was bought by an eccentric husband-and-wife team, the Pickneys. The building's architectural oddities extend, however, beyond Egyptian moldings and reliefs. San Diego natives still whisper that goatish Mr. Pickney installed his mistress at the Egyptian Court, in a specially designed apartment he had constructed above the one he shared with his wife. There are some who even whisper that a few of the apartments are haunted. Ghosts? Mistresses? Not many of the city's apartment buildings are old or charming enough to have generated any gossip or folklore. Which is why turnover at the Egyptian Court is low. "We get the occasional vacancy," says Jim Nichols, the developer who bought the building in 1988 and won awards for restoring its King Tut-inspired details. "But tenants don't like to leave. The units aren't particularly big, but the place has a weird kind of class."