Why are two of Encinitas' most famous houses shaped like boats? How old are some of the trees downtown? What's the story of that old school near the Pacific View site?
Questions like these are answered in a new walking tour of historic downtown Encinitas.
Diane Czajkowski and Rhonda Oesterle founded the Walk the City Tours in mid-March after Oesterle began researching buildings and became intrigued with the city's history.
Czajkowski said the goal of the tour is to get people more familiar with the history of Encinitas. The group also offers historical tours of Carlsbad.
"We would love for people to have a good feel for [the city's] past, where we've come from and some of the founders of our city, while also understanding about the merchants, businesses and what we have here in Encinitas that's unique from some of the other coastal towns," she said.
The 90-minute walking tour in Encinitas covers about 1.4 miles of downtown. Participants learn about nine historical buildings like the boat houses, Derby House and the 1883 Schoolhouse.
Walk the City Tours has hired tour guides with historical backgrounds who are familiar with Encinitas and Carlsbad, Czajkowski said.
David Jenson, a tour guide who lives in San Marcos, said he began researching Encinitas a few years ago when he and his fiance would visit the coastal city on the weekends.
Since then, he's combed through Encinitas Historical Society documents and photos, read books, studied maps of the city and watched video interviews with important subjects.
"I noticed just the very interesting juxtaposition of cultures and time periods in some of the architecture in Encinitas," recalled Jenson, who formerly worked in the film industry. "I started studying the city and piecing things together. Something I love is finding the stories behind things and kind of seeing why things are the way they are. Usually, there's a very worthwhile story there that helps you understand the context of things. That's really what Encinitas became. It's all these really cool stories of people who shaped the city."
Czajkowski said she has enjoyed learning about the city she has lived in for more than two decades.
She said she participated in similar tours by the Encinitas Historical Society when her children were in school.
"I've heard these stories many times, but they really started coming to life when I did the tours myself and had to do some of the research behind why the boat houses are what they are today," she said. "It's been a real joy to connect some of the buildings and some of the stories to my own community."
Admission for a tour ranges from $15 for children to $400 for a private excursion for up to 12 guests. For more information and to reserve a spot for an upcoming tour, visit www.walkthecitytours.com.