Steve Schoenherr / South Bay Compass
The house that stands today at the corner of Oaklawn and D Street in Chula Vista is unique in the South Bay. It was built by Lorne Dunseith during World War II and looks like a boat. In fact, it is a boat.
Dunseith had moved to San Diego in 1934 and lived in a trailer court on National Avenue until he was ready to build a house. However, he had trouble getting building materials during the war until he heard about the tuna boat “Lusitania” that was being stripped down to the keel for renovation. He bought the old top of the tuna boat and had it transported to his lot in Chula Vista for $120.
He put the main deck on a cement foundation and added a second story that had the same appearance as the lower deck. He kept some of the original portholes, converted others to normal windows, but kept the brass fittings for use inside the house. He made a staircase out of the wooden rails taken from the outside top deck. The wheelhouse was removed from the top of the boat deck and became a separate building next to the house.
Despite grumblings from some neighbors, his do-it-yourself project passed building inspection and he moved in with his wife Nell in 1950. [Read more…]