Cottage #2 – The Shell Shack
Built in 1926 by Huntington Beach-based brothers-in-law Russell Paull and Lowell Bailey, Cottage #2, now affectionately known as “The Shell Shack”, was first created as a movie set during the golden age of film at Crystal Cove. It changed hands several times over the years, transferring ownership from the Paull and Bailey families to a group of four co-workers from Azusa Valley Savings Bank, who shared it as a vacation home. The owners eventually built Cottage #27 next door, selling Cottage #2 to Joseph Sheeder, who worked in Hollywood and first visited the Cove during a film shoot. It remained primarily unchanged until 1961, when tent campers Bob and Peggy Davick took over the lease.
The Shell Shack may be best known today as CCA Founder & Interim President Laura Davick’s childhood home. Laura, Bob and Peggy’s daughter, grew up in the one-room cottage, sharing a Murphy bed with her siblings until her father added on two bedrooms. Davick recalls, “Growing up in Cottage #2 was an amazing experience. Some of my favorite memories were sleeping on the porch, and riding my horse on the beach bareback and taking him into the ocean for a swim. I will never forget the morning that I tied him up in front of Cottage #2 and went in to have breakfast with my family. I heard this loud kicking sound and found my horse had kicked a hole on the side of my father’s homemade catamaran sailboat!”
Eventually, Bob, an engineer by trade, also decided to enclose the patio and add a deck and an office, made from a combination of standard construction materials and flotsam found on the beach. Later, Laura crafted rockwork on the front of the house using stones, shells and beach glass—a decorative fixture that remains to this day.
Because there wasn’t enough of the original to salvage, Cottage #2 was completely restored in late 2005. Through drawings and interviews with Laura, Cottage #2 became a faithful representation of its 1920s-era condition, with period-appropriate textiles and furnishings, two Murphy beds and a small kitchen. Of the restoration Davick says, “Growing up at Crystal Cove taught me how important it was to cherish these special places that I later learned were open spaces and public lands. This childhood experience touched me in a profound way. At age 40 I found my true purpose in life, to preserve Crystal Cove for others so they could experience it as I once had.”