1894: The first beach cottages were constructed along a formerly barren hillside above the La Jolla Cove. Outstanding among them was this house, built as a weekend retreat by Dr. Joseph Rodes, a San Diego physician, who purchased the prime oceanfront site for $165. The architecture is typical of early California bungalows, with single wall construction and vertical tongue-and-groove siding of pure heart redwood with cedar shingles. A hip roof and a wraparound veranda take advantage of sea breezes.
1900: After Dr. Rodes’ death in 1896, the house was taken over by two sisters, Olivia Mudgett and Nellie Mills, La Jolla’s first real estate agents. At the turn of the century, it was a four-hour trip from San Diego to La Jolla, so weekend cottages were very appealing. Mrs. Mills rented out several beach cottages, including this one, which she named The Brockton Villa, in honor of her New England heritage in Brockton, Massachusetts. The diaries of her husband, Anson Mills, contain many references to the cottage such as…., “Today I painted at the Brockton….”
1920s: The unusual shell-inlaid fireplace was probably built in the 1920s, judging by the fire bricks and Portland cement used. These rare, oversized abalone shells are impossible to find today due to over-fishing.
1940s: For many years, the house was occupied by Moreland MacPike, known to many as the “Turtle Lady.” She is described as a very shy woman who had a performing turtle. Rumor has it that she and her piano-playing pet once entertained President Truman at the White House.
1968: Pannikin Copper, Coffee and Cookery opened at 1296 Prospect, specializing in freshly roasted coffee beans and copper cookware. Soon after opening, Cooper and Cookery gave way to tea and spice. Pannikin’s first coffee-roasting plant was located in a garage near the Cave Store just up the street from Brockton Villa. Today, Pannikin Coffee and Tea is acknowledged as being ahead of its time.
1990s: Pannikin obtained the lease to this historic but somewhat dilapidated property in order to renovate it and adapt it for use as a restaurant. Pannikin founder Bob Sinclair had a strong commitment to preserving the community’s architectural heritage, and has renovated and adapted other buildings for several of its locations. In 1993, Pannikin won the prestigious orchid award for preservation for its distinctive renovation of the Brockton Villa cottage. Megan (Lee) Heine, daughter of the Pannikin family, took ownership of the Brockton Villa Restaurant in 1994, and the remaining Pannikin coffee business was sold to outside interests.
2001: BV marked the 10th anniversary with 300,000 Coast Toasts sold! In 2005, Megan and husband Dave expanded their family of restaurants into the Bird Rock area with “Beaumont’s Neighborhood Eatery.” Beaumont’s features an extensive grill menu (dinner & weekend breakfast) a full bar and live music.
2006: The La Jolla Historical Society honored by the Brockton Villa at the 15 Year Anniversary celebration. Over in Bird Rock, Brockton’s sister restaurant, Beaumont’s Neighborhood Eatery, turns one! With live music, a full bar, nightly dinner and weekend breakfasts, Beaumont’s is sure to become another locals’ favorite!
Brockton Villa remains a significant reminder of the architectural past alive in our La Jolla community: simple and lovely, blessed by the sea, the sun and the sand. On behalf of everyone at the restaurant, we hope you enjoy your experience and come back to see us soon.
-Megan & Dave Heine