We Found Charlie’s Beach House From “Top Gun” After Its Move for Renovation.

The famous Top Gun House from the 1986 "Top Gun" sits awaiting renovation a block away from its original location in Oceanside, California. In the box, Charlie (actress Kelly McGillis), the brainy civilian subject matter expert from the original 1986 film. (Photo: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist and Paramount Pictures)

Famous “Top Gun” Set to Become Centerpiece of New Hotel in Oceanside, California.

A staple of southern California tourism is trying to find artifacts of the 1986 film classic “Top Gun”, soon to be reprised in an upcoming 2020 sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick”.

When we were in town to cover the 2019 MCAS Miramar Air show, we set out to locate the house used in “Top Gun” by the fetching astrophysicist and civilian instructor Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood, Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’s love interest in the film.

We discovered we aren’t alone.

If you type the words, “Top Gun House” into Google Maps you’ll be served a location at 102 North Pacific Street in Oceanside, California. The address is wrong now, but with the aid of friendly Californians who live in the bustling beach town of Oceanside, we were quickly put on the right path.

You remember brainy “Charlie” Blackwood as played by the lilting Kelly McGillis and her off-limits secret tryst with Maverick. Most of the “action” between the two took place between the sheets at this real beach house, formerly located at the 102 North Pacific Street address across from a popular surfing spot in Oceanside. The set was pure California, with the sun dipping into the Pacific in front of the house during the evening, soft sunset lighting and a laid-back vibe that framed the romantic tension between Maverick and Charlie.

The house was a minor landmark called the Graves House, built in 1882. After the blockbuster 1986 “Top Gun” the house became a kind of demi-shrine for fans of the movie. It shows up now on Google Earth as the “Top Gun House”. That is, until it disappeared from the listed address in April of 2019.

When we arrived at the location still served on Google Maps we were disheartened to see a massive, fenced off multi-story construction lot where Charlie’s Top Gun House had been. But no Top Gun House. In desperation, we asked local surfers and residents in the neighborhood if the Top Gun House still existed and where it was.

Jeannie, a resident of the fashionable and authentic beachfront surf community, told us, “Sure! I know where it is. It’s right over there across the street!”

And once Jeannie pointed it out, the house leapt out at us from underneath a new coat of blue paint and from behind a blue construction fence.

We weren’t alone in our scavenger hunt for the iconic film location. Immediately after discovering the new (temporary) location of Charlie’s house, group after group of other tourists wanting to see the (now) historic Top Gun House were walking up from the beach in front of the house, holding their smartphones with a quizzical look of confusion on their faces. Once we directed them to the new (temporary) location a few blocks away they set off in search of selfies with the famous building.

While the Top Gun House is in pretty bad condition as it awaits renovation in Oceanside, California, the area still has the lilting sunset-charm captured by director Tony Scott in the original 1986 film. (Photo: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist)

The Top Gun House, as it’s popularly called, was moved from the original 102 North Pacific Street address to allow crews to finish building the giant new hotel in its original location. Once completed, the Top Gun House, now temporarily stored on a lot about a city block east and south of the original location, will be moved back down to its original location. Some employees in the area told us the building will be restored to original paint and condition as a centerpiece for the upcoming new hotel.

The house looks rough now, with rotting wood, no insulation in the walls and a roof hanging in tatters at the edge of building. It’s in desperate need of renovation.

The house is in serious need of renovation since it is now 136 years old. (Photo: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist)

“They’re going to put some money into it.” One Oceanside resident told TheAviationist.com. It will cost way more than $2 million USD for the key renovations, fresh paint, new HVAC and to move it back down the hill to its original location and now as a centerpiece for resort goers.

Construction continues on the main portion of the project, the large hotel on North Pacific where the house was originally located. Meanwhile, the house sits a block east and south of its planned new location, in rough condition and awaiting renovation. No one we spoke to at the site knew when the project would be completed, but it seems like project managers would want the renovation and relocation of the Top Gun House ready in time for the June 26, 2020 release of “Top Gun: Maverick”.

Until the place is rebuilt and moved back closer to its original location, the Top Gun House sits forlorn, like a poorly aging starlet, as a decrepit artifact of the original movie.

About Tom Demerly
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.