History inside the William Heath Davis House.

Gaslamp Museum at the William Heath Davis House and Park, 1850. Home of the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation.
Gaslamp Museum at the William Heath Davis House and Park, 1850. Home of the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation.

These photos inside the historic William Heath Davis House Museum were taken a few months ago. I toured the fascinating house during the Fall Back Festival, which is held every year in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

Dated 1850, the William Heath Davis House, like a number of other structures in early San Diego, was built on the East Coast and shipped around Cape Horn. At the time San Diego simply didn’t have the resources and tools required to build a fine wooden house. Various rooms inside the museum show what life was like in New Town a century and a half ago. It was a much simpler time. The small museum now sits in the middle of a gigantic, bustling metropolis.

Please read the photo captions for more info, and click the signs to read them.

Photo of the William Heath Davis House Museum taken from across Island Avenue.
Photo of the William Heath Davis House Museum taken from across Island Avenue.
Tours of the historic house are available. A museum store contains fascinating gifts.
Tours of the historic house are available. A museum store contains fascinating gifts.
The William Heath Davis House is the oldest surviving structure from San Diego's New Town. It is a prefabricated salt-box style home, shipped from Portland, Maine around Cape Horn. Dated 1850.
The William Heath Davis House, built in 1850, is the oldest surviving structure from San Diego’s New Town. It is a prefabricated “salt-box” style home, shipped from Portland, Maine around Cape Horn.
The 1850 Davis-Horton House was used as a military barracks, county hospital, and was home to Alonzo Horton and several other families.
The 1850 Davis-Horton House was used as a military barracks, county hospital, and was home to New Town’s founder Alonzo Horton and several other families over the years.
Looking down the stairs from the second floor. A lady in Victorian attire welcomes visitors to the museum during the Fall Back Festival in November.
Looking down the stairs from the second floor. A lady in Victorian attire welcomes visitors to the museum during the Fall Back Festival in November.
A look at the first floor living room where family and guests would gather.
A look at the first floor living room where family and guests would gather.
A small piano, sheet music, teacup and candle. Entertainment in the olden days was simple.
A small piano, sheet music, teacup and candle. Entertainment in the olden days was simple.
The dining table is set for a grand meal in New Town San Diego.
The dining table is set for a grand meal in what was then a sparsely populated New Town San Diego.
An old sewing machine can be found by a window upstairs.
An old sewing machine can be found by a window upstairs.
The nursery, with crib and small bed.
The nursery, with crib, chest and small bed.
Three beds for the children have colorful quilts.
Three beds for the children have colorful quilts.
A desk in the study and a cabinet full of books.
A desk in the study, framed photos, and a cabinet full of books.  No internet back then!
An old-fashioned penny-farthing bicycle reminds visitors to the William Heath Davis House Museum of what life was like a century and a half ago in San Diego.
An old-fashioned penny-farthing bicycle reminds visitors to the William Heath Davis House Museum of what life was like a century and a half ago in San Diego.

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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