Solana Beach History
The oldest surviving residence in Solana Beach, the Stevens House in La Colonia Park (See photo to the right), houses the Solana Beach Heritage Museum. Built in 1887 overlooking the San Dieguito estuary on a site near the present La Vida Del Mar, the house was slated for demolition in the late 1980s. However, the house subsequently was donated to the City of Solana Beach who moved it to its present location in La Colonia Park.
Operating on a lease from the City of Solana Beach, the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society opened the house to the public in 1994 as the Solana Beach Heritage Museum.
History of the Stevens House
The Stevens House was originally located on the ten-acre Molly Glen Ranch Ranch on the south slopes of Solana Beach. The Ranch was located on the current site of the Del Mar Downs development, and the house was built in late 1887. In 1891, the Ranch was bought by Susan Stevens, daughter of James and Susannah Stevens for whom Stevens Street and Stevens Creek were later named. The Stevenses were originally from New York, but later moved to Michigan and then North Dakota, where James West Stevens was a State Senator in the third legislature of that state (1892-1896). They came to California around early 1896, with their son Edwin following a year later. In 1898, Susan sold the ranch to her parents.
"Grandma Stevens," as Susannah was known, was a celebrity when she reached her 105th birthday. By the time she had turned 100, she had been interviewed and photographed by newspapers from Los Angeles and San Diego. She and James celebrated their 60th anniversary with a big party on the Del Mar beach in 1906. James died in 1907 and Susannah died a few days short of her 106th birthday in June 1927. Grandma Stevens lived in the Ranch house from 1892 until her death in 1927.
After Susannah's death, Edwin and his wife Jennie lived in the house until Ed's death in 1935. They speculated in real estate, at one time buying and developing the adjacent 120 acres now known as Eden Gardens, or La Colonia. The house itself changed hands at least twice after Jennie's death in 1940. The final owners found old 1890-era newspapers in the walls when they lived there.
Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society
The Stevens House
715 Valley Avenue, La Colonia Park
Solana Beach, California 92075
Open on the first and third Saturdays of each month
from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Appointments can be made for tours of groups of one or more by calling Curators Kathalyn and Jim Nelson at 858.259.7657.