Fieldwork Finds - August 23

On August 23, the team noticed several buildings in Ocean Park, including the Shotgun House Chez Jay, and Horatio West Court (1919, Irving Gill; Landmark #10)!

Chez Jay: One of Santa Monica’s oldest theme restaurants, Chez Jay (1657 Ocean Avenue), was opened by Jay Fiondella in 1959 on the former site of the Dawn Motel. The nautical-themed restaurant reflected the interests of its owner, who loved boats, and was an adventure seeker and treasure hunter. Among his adventures; backing a salvage mission on the Andrea Doria, a liberty ship in Oman, gold mining, and reclaiming old war planes. Fiondella also made the newspaper when his beloved home-built ship fell from a transport trailer in Culver City and had to be destroyed before the hull ever touched water. Chez Jay was well-known as a staple eatery and drinking establishment for nearby RAND Corporation employees. The restaurant is associated with a significant amount of local folklore. One story that has been confirmed is that Alan Shepard smuggled one of Chez Jay’s signature peanuts to the moon!

Horatio West Court: In 1919, Horatio West Court, designed by pioneer modernist Irving Gill, was constructed in Ocean Park. Horatio West Court is one of the most architecturally significant commissions of Gill’s career. Located at 140 Hollister Avenue, the Modern-style apartments are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and are designated as City of Santa Monica Landmark #10.