Del Mar Powerhouse, Powerhouse Park
1658 Coast Boulevard, Del Mar
Back in the 1930s it provided steam and hot water for the horsey crowd at the Del Mar Hotel. Then, when the hotel went, the beachside Del Mar Powerhouse became a desalinization plant, a nightspot, and finally an empty shell for 20 years. Demolition seemed in the cards. Then in the '70s the City of Del Mar purchased the land. Twenty more years on, they gutted the powerhouse, strengthened its smokestack, and in December 1999, reopened it as a community center. It's a place to go rest your legs a while, to cool down, to leave Grandma while the kids hit the waves. "I'm really proud of that building," says city planner Bob Scott, who shepherded this project along. "It's free for people to have fun with, to get married in, to hold meetings at. And they are. I'm so pleased, sometimes I like to just sit there and giggle a little bit."