Archive for the ‘houses’ Category

San Diego Historical Society cutting loose Marston House, Villa Montezuma

Villa Montezuma - photo courtesy of San Diego Historical Society

Villa Montezuma - photo courtesy of San Diego Historical Society

The San Diego Historical Society recently announced it can no longer maintain two historic properties, the Marston House and Villa Montezuma.

The Marston House, built in 1906 by city father George Marston, was closed to the public last Sunday, February 15. It’s especially ironic that the SDHS will no longer be maintaining it, as Marston helped found the society 81 years ago. The property is located at the edge of Balboa Park on Seventh Avenue.

Villa Montezuma, a Queen Anne gem built in 1887, has been closed for repairs since 2006. It’s located on K Street in Sherman Heights.

Both properties will be handed back to the city of San Diego. Given our city’s current financial state, it’s probable that another entity would be needed to raise funds, maintain the properties and reopen them to the public.


Ghosts of San Diego

Some guests just do not know when to check out...

Some guests just do not know when to check out...

When people think of San Diego, they usually think of beaches and surfers. But did you know our town has more than its share of ghosts? That, in fact, one historic building here is called “the most haunted house in America”? It’s true. For creepiness, I’d stack San Diego against Salem, Mass any day.

Here are the 3 places you’ll most likely feel the chills:

  • Hotel Del Coronado room #3327
    In 1892, a beautiful young woman checked in to this room, then shot herself on the beach a few days later. She was found to have checked in under a pseudonym, and had been a grifter abandoned by her equally shady husband. Sad, but not ghostly…until she started “visiting” occupants of the room, and even the hotel’s gift shop! Witnesses describe seeing a woman in a black lace high-necked dress. Perhaps this is a story invented to keep this room booked. If so, it works – the room is very difficult to reserve for all the ghosthunters. For more on this ghost, read Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado by Chris Donovan.
  • The Whaley House
    Constructed in 1856, the Whaley House is one of the oldest houses still standing in San Diego, and at various times was a courthouse, general store, granary and a family home in what is now called Old Town San Diego. In its courthouse days, it was the site of several hangings, and when the Whaleys lived here, it witnessed the suicide of their daughter Violet, who was despondent over a humiliating divorce. Witnesses have since┬áreported seeing the ghost of Yankee Jim Robinson (a criminal hung on the property), Thomas Whaley, Violet Whaley, and even a fox terrier once owned by the family. Now a museum, the house is maintained by the Save Our Heritage Organization and is mentioned on several ghost-seeking TV shows as “the most haunted house in America.” For more on the Whaley House, visit its website.
  • Villa Montezuma
    This place creeped me out. I have never seen a ghost, and didn’t see one here. However,┬áI visited this house on two separate occasions 20 years apart, and felt the immediate need to GET OUT both times. Built in 1887, the house is a marvel of Victorian architecture, and was built for a celebrated author, spiritualist and musician of the time named Jesse Shepard. The interior is lavishly decorated with with carved wood paneling, stained glass windows and period furnishings. Jesse was said to have held seances here where he communed with the dead. My guess is he did this in an upstairs room, because that’s where I felt the overwhelming need to split. For more info on Villa Montezuma, visit its page the San Diego Historical Society’s website.

Do you know of other hauntings here in San Diego? Tell us about it!

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