March 2, 2016

Transitions: Lost—Michels-Carey House

  • By: Katherine Flynn

In each Transitions section of Preservation magazine, we highlight places of local and national importance that have recently been restored, are currently threatened, have been saved from demolition or neglect, or have been lost. Here's one from Fall 2015.

This Colonial Revival saltbox structure on San Diego’s El Cajon Boulevard, originally built in 1926, hosted some of the city’s earliest LGBTQ activism. Thom Carey and Bernie Michels, who occupied an upstairs apartment from 1972 until 1976, laid the groundwork, with other community members, for San Diego’s LGBTQ Center for Social Services (now known as “The Center”). The still-operational organization was one of the country’s first providers of social and health services for LGBTQ citizens. The Michels-Carey house, which contained apartments and a skate shop until tenants received notices to vacate in January 2015, was slated to be considered for the National Register of Historic Places at an August meeting of the State Historic Preservation Resources Board. It was demolished by developer H.G. Fenton on May 29. While the legality of the company's demolition permit was initially contested, there was ultimately no penalty.

The lost Michels-Carey House in San Diego, California

photo by: Gregory May

Katherine Flynn is a former assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.

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