The history of downtown’s Victoria Square.

Have you ever wondered about those Victorian houses that stand together behind a fence near the corner of 2nd Avenue and Ash Street in downtown San Diego?

I walk by these colorful old houses frequently, but apart from seeing “Victoria Square” on a sign in front of one, for years I’ve known absolutely nothing about them. So I finally did a little research on the internet.

Victoria Square Vacation Homes is what they’re called now, but originally the houses together were known as Kiessig Corner. The handsome blue corner house, in the Italian Renaissance style, was built by Charles Keissig in 1894. Keissig was a Gold Rush-era immigrant from Germany who supposedly buried $20 gold pieces under the house in glass jars. The house directly adjacent to it on Ash Street was built in 1904-1906. A third, one-story house on Second Avenue (the yellow one you can see on the left in the next photo) was moved to the site from another location at about the same time. A fourth smaller building, which is difficult to see from the street, was originally a carriage house.

In 1976, the site was declared an historic property by the San Diego Historic Site Board, and the run-down romantic turn-of-the-century buildings were purchased by real estate development attorney Sandor Shapery. The houses were rehabilitated by Del Mar architect Paul Thoryk to be used commercially. Apparently years ago there was a restaurant in addition to offices, but my poor old brain cannot remember it. After 2008 the buildings were converted back to residential use.

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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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