Carlsbad Real Estate History

Ocean House – Twin Inns

My Real Living Lifestyles real estate office is located in Carlsbad Village Faire at the corner of Carlsbad Village Drive and Carlsbad Boulebard, suite 223.    Looking out of my desk window, I look directly at the Ocean House.  Since it is such an intresting building, I decided to do a little research on its history and the following is what I found.  See article under photo. 

This beautiful building at the corner of what was Elm and old 101 is the anchor of all Carlsbad landmarks.  This beautiful old Victorian mansion that I gaze at out of my office window towards is now the home to offices and the Ocean House resturant.  It has a celebrated past and for decades was the hub of the entire Carlsbad real estate area activity. 

In 1883 John A. Frazier chose to settle in the Carlsbad home area, named it Frazier’s Station.  The German immigrant was not interested in being the city’s founding father, but rather saw the Carlsbad real estate area as an investment opportunity.  He dug a well for his water supply. Analysis of the deep (over 400 feet) well water showed it to be nearly identical to the water from the famous Sprudel Well Number 9, Karlsbad, Bohemia (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic).  To celebrate this fact, the name of the area was changed from Frazier’s Station to Carlsbad, California.

Promotion of the Carlsbad real estate area was begun by the California Southern Railway (Santa Fe), and by the Carlsbad Land and Water Company. A large hotel was erected near the well, and railway waiting rooms across the country featured posters of the new Carlsbad Spa and its miraculous waters.

In 1887, the president of the Carlsbad Land company, Gerhard Schutte, erected a large Carlsbad home nearby, and his business partner, D. D. Wadsworth, built a mirror image of the president’s house on the same block 200 feet to the north. The two Carlsbad homes, visible for miles across the coastal plain, became landmarks in the Carlsbad real estate area.  The Wadsworth house was torn down in 1950.  The 1890’s saw droughts and recession and many of the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Co. principals moved south to San Diego.

About the turn of the century the land boom was over. The original Carlsbad Hotel, a giant five-story wooden structure with a rooftop gazebo located further inland, had burned to the ground. Within a few years the Carlsbad Land and Water Company was reorganized. 

The Carlsbad homes were leased for commercial purposes, and were now renting rooms and serving meals.  They later became owned and operated by Mesdames Whiting and Reedy, who established many traditions such as the Blue Willow China, buffet and Sunday brunch family-style service, and the name “Twin Inns.” The Carlsbad area was still being promoted, but now by the South Coast Land Company as the Avocado Capitol of the World!

In 1918 Baron Long closed his famous Ship Cafe on the canal in Venice, California. His specialty chef, Eddie Kentner, drove south seeking a likely place to relocate. Attracted to the Twin Inns, he acquired the business on November 5, 1919.  He and his wife, Neva, took over the matching houses.  Travel between Los Angeles and San Diego North County by automobile was arduous in the 1920s.  The Twin Inns soon became a favorite stopping place for travelers, enhanced, perhaps, by Mr. Kentner’s willingness to prepare meals at all hours of the night for “victims” of the automobile technology of the ’20s. Prohibition drove many fun-seekers south, attracted to Baron Long’s newest venture, which he built south of the border, the Caliente Race Track and Gambling Spa in Tijuana.

The increased traffic made it necessary to enlarge the Twin Inns. The Rotunda Salon was added in 1922. In 1936 the lobby and front rooms were remodeled to provide more space. By 1950 the combination of increased business and local street widening projects had made parking a major problem. The old Wadsworth House was razed to provide parking in what is now the north lot. In February 1961, Art and D.D. Morgan, son-in-law Eddie Kentner, Sr., took over the management of the family restaurant. They were succeeded in November 1969, by Bonnie and Eddie Kentner, Jr. In April 1984 the Kentner family sold the historic Twin Inns building and all its land. The new owners changed the name from the Twin Inns to Neimans upon completion of an extensive restoration in 1985, which included a stage and live entertainment.

The new and present owner acquired Neimans in 2004. Another extensive renovation was completed in November with a decor uplift to Southern California tropical and beach influenced. The elegant old Victorian mansion is now called Ocean House, and is ready to offer a second hundred years of fine dining and service to San Diego’s North County.  There have always been rumors that the Twin Inns (Ocean House) was a haunted mansion with aits trap-door tower and secret room.  I think I will keep my window locked.

To see Carlsbad homes or other San Diego North County real estate, contact Gary Harmon, your Real Living Lifestyles Realtor.


  1. […] is the second in my series about Carlsbad real estate history.  If you missed it, the first was Twin Inns – Ocean House.  Behind Carlsbad Village Faire to the east is the original Carlsbad train station.  I see it […]