Gaslamp’s Oldest and Most Haunted (???) Structure: The Davis-Horton House.

If you have ever taken a stroll around San Diego’s downtown area, you may have passed a quaint, unassuming little yellow house on the corner of 4th and Island Avenue. Nestled in the heart of the historic Gaslamp Quarter  sits downtown San Diego’s oldest surviving structure, The Davis-Horton House. Since the 1850’s, many people have resided in the house including Pre-Civil War Army soldiers, a German spy, hospital patients (when it functioned as a county hospital), and Alonzo Horton (as in Horton Plaza), the Father of “New Town” San Diego. Today, it serves as a museum and the headquarters of the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation, whose mission is to preserve the architecture, culture, and history of the Gaslamp quarter for future generations.

Visitors can choose between a self guided, or audio tour of the house to better acquaint themselves with it’s intriguing history and past residents. The history of the surrounding Gaslamp Quarter is equally as fascinating as it was once known as the “Stingaree” Red Light District and was the stomping ground for many colorful characters like a feisty bordello madam named Ida Bailey, and the legendary lawman, entrepreneur, and gambler, Wyatt Earp. It was also the site of San Diego’s historic Chinatown and Asian Pacific District. Walking tours of the Gaslamp meet weekly at the Davis-Horton House and cover the district’s historic hotspots and the stories behind them.

Currently, I spend a lot of time at the Davis-Horton House and in the surrounding area. In addition to typical tourist questions inquiring about directions or restaurant recommendations, the question I get asked a lot is, “So, is the house  haunted?”

There are three tours which give visitors the opportunity to find out for themselves: the haunted self-guided tour of the house, the “Ghosts of the Gaslamp” Walking Tour, and the once a month Paranormal Investigation. Having done all three, I can tell you that you will definitely learn a lot and have fun-  whether you believe in ghosts or not.

My answer to this question is always, “I think it could be.” I’ve had a few visitors tell me they definitely felt a spiritual energy in the house while on their tour. I have not had any encounters with the spirits that may reside in the house myself ( and I am so NOT disappointed in this fact by the way), but I do feel that there is a certain mysterious lingering energy that tends to be found in any older structure of historical significance.  I will say though that I do get a slight pang of trepidation when I have to be in the house alone for any amount of time especially in the morning and evening when it gets quiet, but all in all I feel very lucky that I get to be a steward of preserving this portion of my hometown’s history.

You can find more information on tours and events at the museum’s website by clicking here.

Autumn Aquarius Gaslamp Museum 8
The house still has it’s original staircase which greets you as you enter.
Autumn Aquarius Gaslamp Museum 3
Fine china on display in true Victorian fashion.
Autumn Aquarius Gaslamp Museum 5
Tools of the trade. The house was once used as a county hospital.
Autumn Aquarius Gaslamp Museum 7
Tools of George Deyo’s Moonshine Trade!

 

 

 

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Jamie is a writer with a passion for adventure, history, and more. When she’s not out exploring the world, Jamie is at home in sunny San Diego, CA chasing sunsets and carne asada fries, preoccupied with research, or invested in a good book and a cup of tea.

18 thoughts on “Gaslamp’s Oldest and Most Haunted (???) Structure: The Davis-Horton House.

    1. Hi Staci!

      The museum is actually located in downtown San Diego a few miles southwest of Old Town. Downtown was once known as “new town” actually! But I know exactly which restaurant you’re talking about in Old Town and, good news, I hear they are reopening!

  1. Hi Jamie, I think you will be safe as long you don’t see a Great Dane dog and a bunch of teenage investigators! But seriously I’d like to visit this house if I ever get to the USA, the history on it’s own would be worth looking into. Great post!

      1. Scooby Doo was based on the dog breed the Great Dane! The teenagers were of course Mystery Inc, Fred, Wilma, Daphne and Shaggy. The house just reminded me of the cartoon.

      2. Omg ! They have monthly investigations at the house that are popular with roudy teens…that’s what I was thinking of when you said “teenagers” 😂😂.

        I grew up watching Scooby Doo and I totally missed that! I’m embarrassed ! 😭😭😭

  2. This house sounds so cool! I’ve visited a lot of old houses when traveling, and while I’ve never felt a supernatural presence in one, they do often have the kind of atmosphere that makes me never want to be in one by myself!

  3. Very fascinating and informative blog. Nice to know that there is a museum in the Gaslamp area of downtown. Enjoyed reading a piece of history.

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