3. The Whaley House


The Whaley House is a two-story Greek Revival style brick residence in San Diego’s Old Town, was designed by Thomas Whaley and completed in 1857. The home, acclaimed as the “finest new brick block in Southern California” by the San Diego Herald, contained mahogany and rosewood furniture, damask drapes, and Brussels carpets. Whaley established his general store in this residence, and solicited cash customers only. The Whaleys moved to San Francisco but returned to San Diego in 1868. Whaley family members would live in the house for nearly a century.

From October 1868 to January 1869, the Tanner Troupe Theatre operated out of the front upstairs bedroom. The San Diego County Courthouse utilized the former granary in August 1869 and rented three upstairs rooms for records storage. After the establishment of New Town San Diego by Alonzo Horton in 1868, the town focus changed to present day downtown San Diego. During a March 1871 raid, courthouse documents were removed from the Whaley House and taken to Horton’s Hall on 6th and F in San Diego. After the County’s exit, Whaley connected the former granary and courtroom to the residence, changed windows and doors, and altered the front portico.

On October 31, 1956, the County of San Diego purchased the historic Whaley House, and undertook a major renovation of the property, which is still evident today. In September of 2000 Save Our Heritage Organization assumed the stewardship of the property for the County of San Diego and is in the progress of restoring the house to its original appearance.



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