Theodore Bunker erected what has become known as The Bunker House in 1886. Located at 322 North Cleveland Street, near the pier, the two-story building is one of the first brick buildings in Oceanside and one of three brick buildings built in the 1880’s which are still standing in Oceanside today.
Over the years the building has had several owners and has transformed from a store and boarding house to a Town Hall, a dance hall, church, a boarding house for railroad workers, and a music store leasing jukeboxes. Beginning around WWII the building developed a seedy reputation as a house of illegal activity including prostitution.
In 1946 Audrey Wetta, a 36 year old married woman from Louisiana, was sentenced to a year in the county jail after her arrest for operating “a house of ill fame, and with prostitution.”
In 1962, a young woman from Ohio was arrested when she brought two 15 year old runaways to the Bunker House to exploit for prostitution in exchange for lodging, food, and clothing.
On September 26, 1976, owner Ralph Rogers was found murdered at the Traveler’s Hotel, stabbed multiple times, and strangled.
After that, the building was mostly vacant and decaying until rehabbed in the 1980s. Most recently it was occupied by the ApothequeRx company.
New owners reopened The Bunker House in October 2021 serving pastries and coffee in the morning and wine in the evening along with live entertainment on certain days of the week.