Cottage #27 – The Dive Shack

A partnership is at the heart of the founding story of Cottage #27, now called The Dive Shack. Four women — Elsie Bantley, Margaret Orndorf, Ruth Hepner and Dorothy Sproul, all co-workers at Azusa Valley Savings Bank — pooled their money to build the cottage in the early 1930s. The original name for their cottage was created by combining the first letters of all their names into “Elmarudor.”  A prime location perched on the bluff gives the cottage incredible ocean views, with a winding brick staircase to the sand.

Today The Dive Shack’s name and interior furnishings reflect the ocean lifestyle of a later resident named Cinco Rowland who dove at Crystal Cove for 48 years, even before he and his wife Edie moved into Cottage #27 in 1978. Cinco’s diving gave him a few good stories, including one from 1984 where he was diving about 200 yards off shore when a helicopter dropped down to warn him he was surrounded by sharks! The sharks turned out to be leopard sharks, which Cinco knew wouldn’t harm him, but it was still a memorable diving adventure.

Around 1980, a wrecked cabin cruiser washed ashore at the north end of the beach. Rather than let the boat’s mahogany cabinets go to waste, Cinco salvaged them and installed them The Dive Shack kitchen, where they still are today.

With nautical artifacts, sloped ceilings, and a 1930s appeal, visiting The Dive Shack is like taking a step back in time. Except for the salvaged cabinets, it’s maintained much of the original decor, such as net fencing on the front deck, and also receives plenty of light from a front wall of windows. There are ocean views from three large porches, and an original tiki bar on the back patio.

The cottage’s steep pitched roof provides a perfect space for a sleeping loft inside, and the landscaping around The Dive Shack makes it a favorite subject for plein air painters.

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