The Cardiff Mercantile Building

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California, Inc. CA DRE #01490977

 The Mercantile Building (Cardiff Mercantile Company) is one of the few historical buildings currently standing in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, known as simply Cardiff by most of its residents, about 25 miles north of San Diego.

Located at the corner of Chesterfield and San Elijo, just off the Coast Highway/Route 101, the building is the current home of Patagonia, an upscale beach, surf and active-wear store, on the first floor (in photo at left, on the left). Quant Economics is one of the upstairs tenants.

The building was originally built as a hotel by J. Frank Cullen, a Boston painter turned developer who is credited with founding the town in the early 1900s (est. 1910 - 1911).

"Old timers" refer to the building as the Cullen building, after the builder.

  The building also served as the town's general store and has housed different businesses, including the library, a real estate office, and a beach bag factory. Other structures built around the same time (a pier, Santa Fe train depot, the old Beacon's Inn) have all disappeared for a variety of reasons, including severe weather.

Here is an old photo of the Mercantile Building and the Santa Fe Depot (photo is from the Cardiff-by-the-Sea website.)

Posted by

Jeff Dowler, CRS
Certified Residential Specialist / Realtor®

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Comments (7)

Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA

Great building, Jeff and a nice picture of it (and the most dangerous intersection on the North County Coast).

Cardiff is a beautiful city and this building is the showpiece of Cardiff. 

Mar 19, 2007 03:58 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks, Brian. I have another photo that is more of a close-up that I need to find and upload. You are right - that is a tough spot, especailly when the trains are coming through and lots of tourists. I stay away when I can, at least at rush hour when it really gets ugly. :)


Mar 19, 2007 04:13 PM
Kaye Thomas
Real Estate West - Manhattan Beach, CA
e-PRO, Manhattan Beach CA
Jeff- I love this building and the older picture is terrific.  As we know there are not many older buildings in our little beach towns.. it's nice to see on preserved.
Mar 19, 2007 09:20 PM
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL
I also love the older picture.  What I think is interesting about this building is how the landscape around it has changed with a 7-eleven across the street and the ugly looking modern light posts - at least the building was conserved.
Mar 20, 2007 02:02 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks, Kaye. I am so used to historic buildings, having come from Boston, that not having them here is very odd to me, even after 2 years.

Ines - Thanks! I thought it was a nice contrast and I'm glad that it has been preserved for people to see the new and the old. It is remarkable how things have changed (and not always for the better - sometimes the new can be such a blight (I like when towns impose restrictions on what can be built and how, to preserve some continuity). I'm sure you see that in your area, too.



Mar 24, 2007 06:10 AM
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
Cullen Building vs Mercantile Building. Isn't it interesting how the "oldtimers" keep the old names - we do that here in St. Petersburg a lot, whether it's a bridge, an office building, etc.
Mar 26, 2007 11:52 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks, Sharon. It is always interesting to find out what the residents who have been around for awhile have to say about the area, etc. They so often know all the little details, gossip, political stuff, etc. that you don't often hear about. I love it when neighbors stop in at open houses and give you the lowdown on the area, etc.


Mar 26, 2007 03:00 PM