The Preservation Resource Center. Photo: Stephen Schafer

Before the tiny house craze, there were shotgun houses, small narrow cottages that were once common in Santa Monica during the turn of the last century.

On May 3, the Los Angeles Conservancy will honor its Santa Monica counterpart with a Preservation Award for its effort to preserve and reuse one of Santa Monica’s historic shotgun houses, which now serves as the Santa Monica Conservancy’s first Preservation Resource Center.

The effort that saved and rehabilitated the house was singled out as a “fantastic example of grassroots advocacy and reuse for educational purposes” by Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy for the Los Angeles Conservancy, according to the Santa Monica Conservancy.

The Shotgun House is emblematic of a once-common type of structure in Santa Monica. The small, narrow cottage contains three rooms that each open into each other. One can pass from the front door out the back in a few long strides in a straight line.

The road to salvation for the simple structure was a winding one. Following a dispute about its landmark status, it was eventually spared demolition in 1998, only to find itself abandoned in a hangar at Santa Monica Airport. Eventually, the city took ownership of the landmark and saved it from obscurity.

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In 2007, the city identified the future home of the Shotgun House as the parking lot next to the Ocean Park library, where it now sits, open to the public.

“It is a testament to the perseverance and dedication shown by the community and very committed Conservancy volunteers in making this project a reality and hopefully, an inspiration for others to find creative and sustainable ways to use our historic structures,” Santa Monica Conservancy President Carol Lemlein said.

According to the Santa Monica Conservancy, this is the third award the organization has received for its rehabilitation of the Shotgun House. The California Preservation Foundation and the Office of the Governor have both recognized the Santa Monica Conservancy for its work preserving the seaside cottage.

According to the Santa Monica Conservancy, the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Preservation Awards are selected by an independent jury of distinguished architects, preservation professionals, and business and community leaders. This year 22 applications were received and eight were selected for awards.

The Santa Monica Conservancy will be recognized by the Los Angeles Conservancy with a Preservation Award at its 36th Annual Preservation Award luncheon at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on May 3.

For more information about the Santa Monica Conservancy or the Shotgun House, visit smconservancy.org.