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Kids Free in October

Kids Free in October

Kids are free from October 1-31st! To participate click HERE to get your “Kids Free October” Coupon.

Macabre Victorians: Funerals, Fancies, and Fetishes

Macabre Victorians: Funerals, Fancies, and Fetishes

October 10th, 2018 at 7pm.  Lectures are free for Members, $5 non-members.

Draw back the dark veil and take a glimpse into Victorian Macabre with GQHF Historian Sandee Wilhoit and GQHF Visitor Services Coordinator Jamie Laird as they delve into some of the bizarre superstitions, intricate customs, and fascinating practices of our Victorian ancestors surrounding mourning and death. What were the highly regarded customs of “dressing for success” for both the new widows, and the new corpses?  Did the Victorian obsession with “proper” mourning rituals influence the rise of Spiritualism, and what elements of Spiritualism still captivate our society today? What was the fascination behind “Post-Mortem Photography” and “Mummy Unwrapping Parties?” The answers await you at our next lecture!

History Talks! is a monthly lecture series presented by the Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House. Each month a local historian or specialist will delve into topics related to San Diego and the Davis-Horton House to bring a unique glimpse into the history of our city. Come hear history come alive!

 

The I.O.O.F. Building

The I.O.O.F. Building

            Very Fancy And Not Odd At All

I.O.O.F. Building

Independent Order of Odd Fellows

526 Market Street

1873-1882

Classical Revival

Architects: Payne and Lacey

 

 

What’s an odd fellow? I guess we have all known a few, but the odd fellows of the 1800s were a national fraternal order of gentlemen dedicated to “Friendship, Love, and Truth.” Their identifying symbol was a series of interlinking circles alluding to their motto, making them also known as the Triple Link Fraternity. They were both religiously and politically independent. Although the organization was active in England as far back as the 1700s,  the American branch was not organized until 1819 by Thomas Wildey in Baltimore, Maryland. During the period between 1862 – 1920, they were the largest of all fraternal organizations. By 1889, they had lodges in every American state. San Diego’s Lodge 153 boasted such prominent leaders as Alonzo Horton, John Young, John Gray, E. W. Tebbutt, Edward W. Bushyhead,, W.A. Begole and George Hazzard. The Masons were also active in early San Diego , as the San Diego chapter was founded in 1851. They were the first Masonic lodge founded in California, preceding Los Angeles by one year. To this end, the two organizations banded together to finance construction for a large building that could be used by both organizations. The Masonic Building Association was founded in 1872 with James Pierce as President. Mr. Pierce , a civic and political leader, was 1st Vice-president  of the Bank of San Diego (A.E. Horton , President), president of the Chamber of Commerce, and later a representative to the State Assembly.

 

It was estimated that the stylish classical revival edifice would cost $25,000. Withers and Meyer were contracted for the job of excavating for the foundation and cellar at 73 cents per square yard. The architectural firm of Payne and Lacey were selected to design the building. They had also designed the Horton House Hotel and the Horton Bank structure. However, due to shortage in capital and materials, the actual building was not begun until 9 years later. Finally, on March 7, 1882, the cornerstone was laid. A casket shaped box, as was the custom of the Odd Fellows, was placed in the northeast corner. It contained Masonic and I.O.O.F. documents, newspapers, coins, historical data, a piece of wood from Lebanon, and a piece of stone from Solomon’s Temple. To celebrate the occasion, a joint parade was held by both organizations, which started up D Street (now Broadway), down D Street to 6th Street and down 6th to H Street (now Market Street). The City Guard Brass Band played and the parade was followed by numerous speeches, and finally culminated with the laying of the casket. The master of ceremonies was W.W. Bowers, another prominent San Diego architect. At the conclusion of the festivities, Mr. Bowers announced that $16,000 more was needed to complete the structure, so George Hazzard, prominent business leader and the incorporator of the San Diego Water Company and the City Gas Company paid the difference, thus making him the largest stockholder in the building.

 

Upon completion of the project, controversy arose over the quality of some of the construction materials used. Although court action ensued, it was settled by arbitration. The brick came from San Francisco and the roof was built to be totally waterproof and fireproof.

 

This iconic structure was designed for street level commercial use, which would then provide financial support for the building. Originally, the building had a 100’ frontage on H Street, with a 63’ frontage on 6th Street, which provided space for 6 stores. The second floor had two large halls (56×30) with 3 anterooms, a library and a chess room. In 1905, the Masons added a 12.5’x85’ room for storage along the back of the north wall. This room had no basement. The basement in the original structure was 8,500 square feet with 8’ tall ceilings and 18” thick walls.

 

The first floor has a cast iron base and pilasters to support the structural columns. The second floor was finished in plaster over a 16-inch brick wall. The impressive exterior cornices are plaster over sheet metal and the balconies feature antique wrought iron railings. The unique and heavy arched windows required pipe columns to support the lintels along the roof line.

 

Throughout the years, the first floor has housed saloons, wholesale and retail liquor stores, gun shops, book stores, a seed store, dry goods stores, billiard parlors, barbers, tobacco stores, a laundry, shoe repair shops, restaurants, a chili con carne factory and the Wells Fargo Express Company. The Gas Company was one of the original inhabitants of the ground floor, and in 1885, John. C. Daley’s Masonic Building Book Store offered fancy linen paper and envelopes, gold pens, artist’s materials, as well as seals and wax for letters. Mr. Daley also took orders for “magnificent plates of game fishes of the U.S.” for $50 per set. These plates were designed to provide “adornment for parlor or library.” Additionally, at one time the Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO) had its offices there. In 1974, the San Diego Ballet used the second floor, with its elegant wood floors as their headquarters.

 

The Masons moved to their new hall at Fifth and Ash in 1910, but the Odd Fellows continued to use the building for many years. They now meet in a much smaller hall in North Park.

 

Throughout its colorful history the I.O.O.F. building has hosted many dignitaries, but perhaps one of the most notable was King Kalakaua of Hawaii. He arrived in 1890, as he was touring the mainland and there was talk of Hawaii becoming a state.  He sat by one of the magnificent arched windows and, unfortunately and literally, caught his death of a cold. By the time King Kalakaua reached San Francisco, the cold had developed into pneumonia and he passed away.  It must be noted, however, that the king was known as the “Merry Monarch,” because of his predilection for rich food and drink. He had developed nephritis (kidney disease), which was the underlying cause of his demise.

 

A very popular Asian-fusion restaurant now occupies the ground floor.

 

Sandee is the historian for the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. She can be reached at [email protected]

WCKD Village 2018

WCKD Village 2018

Immerse Yourself into a Twisted Halloween Festival Experience as
WCKD Village Comes to Life
Saturday, October 27th, 2018 – 6 pm to Midnight
***21+ Event***

East Village, San Diego, CA – Prepare to enter a realm of electrifying adventures as WCKD Village takes music festival to a whole new level with interactive elements, amazing talent across 4 stages and over-the-top themed areas to give you a Halloween experience like never before! On Saturday, October 27th, from 6 pm to Midnight, six blocks in the East Village will transform into San Diego’s largest Halloween Festival as the WCKD Village comes to life. Grab your crew, transform your look and take a journey into the unknown–where every which way you turn, something WCKD awaits…
Welcome to the world of WCKD, a festival where innocent dreams are twisted into an epic evening of nightmarish celebrations. Come play in the dark as towering sway pole clowns, stilt walkers and fire breathers greet our WCKD guests into The DEMENTED CIRCUS. Don’t let the devious clowns fool you, you’re the ringleader here–Grab a drink from The Sideshow Specialty Cocktail Bar from the gigantic Sailor Jerry Cocktail Shaker and immerse yourself into the sounds of music, life-sized games, a Haunted Hookah Hideaway lounge and more! You know what they say, “Entertain a clown and you become part of the circus.” Luckily, the Demented Circus fun has just begun. Join the mischief with neon mentality in The MADHOUSE, where Instagram-mable moments live in every direction. Complete your Halloween look at the complimentary neon body art bar before sharing your scare across the Costume Contest stage for a chance to win up to $5,000 in prizes!

Villages are typically thought of as small, quiet communal towns with a deep history – so what happens when things turn WCKD? Look no further than to feed your curiosity and watch the haunting tales of The VILLAGE CRYPT unfold. Party with the past as sinister sounds from the main stage bring seductive harlots, witches and other unimaginable creatures back to life. Dive a little deeper into The WCKD WOODLANDS and prepare for the thrill of bloodcurdling deep house beats. Surrounded in an ominous forest landscape, you never know what might be hiding in the WCKD Woodlands.
Costumes and masks can hide your face, but the tarot knows your true self… a night at WCKD Village is in your cards. Festival-goers will unlock all of the most exclusive WCKD offerings and access to the 4th stage of non-stop music in The DECK OF FATE VIP! For just $90 (through September 14th), immerse yourself into the world of tarot and let your Halloween fortune unfold with a complimentary 7 Deadly Drinks (4 drinks at any bar inside WCKD Village & 3 drinks at participating Gaslamp Quarter and East Village venues), Gypsy Lounges, a Spirit Circle of tarot card readers, fortune tellers and palm readers, custom VIP tarot card credential, charging station, upgraded restrooms, $1 off drinks at the VIP bar and more! General Admission tickets start at just $35 throughout September 14th, including Sinister sounds across 3 stages in The Demented Circus, The Village Crypt, Up close encounters with stilt walkers, fire breathers and unimaginable creatures, a Giant Sailor Jerry Cocktail Shaker, Epic immersive activations, Free photo booths, A Haunted Hookah Hideaway, Neon Body Art Bar, Trick or Tarot stations, Life-size interactive games, Exclusive WCKD drink specials at 25+ bars in the East Village & Gaslamp Quarter, No cover charge at 25+ bars in the East Village & Gaslamp Quarter and MORE! Premium Tickets start at $50 through September 14th, including all the WCKD benefits of GA plus Express Entry, 2 complimentary WCKD cocktails, Custom Premium tarot card credential, designated Premium restrooms and more! Close your eyes. Forget your name. Forget the world. Now, Get WCKD…
More WCKD news awaits: WCKD LINEUP REVEAL WILL BE ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH! For an exclusive first look and to purchase tickets, visit www.WCKDvillage.com.

San Diego’s Largest Music + Halloween Festival Announces 2018 Lineup
of Non-Stop WCKD Beats by Cheat Codes, Michael Calfan, Young Bombs, Sinden & MORE!
Saturday, October 27th, 2018 – 6 pm to Midnight
***21+ Event***

East Village, San Diego, CA – Prepare to enter a realm of electrifying adventures as WCKD Village takes music festival to a whole new level with all new interactive elements, amazing talent across 4 stages—The Village Crypt, WCKD Woodlands, The Demented Circus & The Deck of Fate VIP— and over-the-top themed areas to give you a Halloween experience like never before! On Saturday, October 27th, from 6 pm to Midnight, six blocks in the East Village will transform into San Diego’s largest Halloween Festival. Summoning over 10,000 revelers from across the U.S., no matter which way in the Village you wander, something WCKD awaits…

The Village Crypt Main Stage:

Welcome to the world of WCKD, a festival where innocent dreams are twisted into an epic evening of sinister celebrations. Party with the past as electrifying sounds from The Village Crypt main stage bring seductive harlots, witches and other unimaginable creatures back to life with performances by 2018 Headliner Cheat Codes, and opening acts by Young Bombs and FOMO! Los Angeles-based electronic dance trio, Cheat Codes, is best known for crafting radio-ready, house gems like “No Promises”, “Only You” and certified Platinum re-mixed single “Sex”! Also bringing an inception of incredible hits to the main stage is the go-to remix duo, Young Bombs, who have been commissioned by some of music’s most prolific and popular artists, such as Selena Gomez and Post Malone, to add a melodic twist to their original hits. Young Bombs have become masters at flipping pop’s biggest tracks into new, refreshing forms to rave to the grave to.

WCKD Woodlands Stage:

Surrounded in an ominous forest landscape and a Haunted Hookah Hideaway Lounge, party-goers can enjoy the thrill of spine-chilling deep house beats by Michael Calfan, Sinden and Erik Diaz. With millions of streams on hits like “Treasured Soul”, “Nobody Does It Better” and “Thorns”, Michael Calfan is one of the most sought-after DJs appearing at top music festivals around the world. DJ, Producer, Remixer and “label boss”, Sinden has been stealthily establishing himself as a leader of dance music as we know it. He has been partnering with Insomniac Records and topping off a year playing at top-rated music festivals EDC Vegas, Electric Forest, Life Is Beautiful and more.

Demented Circus Stage:

Enter if you dare and come play in the dark of the Demented Circus with open format beats by a collection of Southern California’s rising regulars: Cheyenne Giles, Murphi Kennedy, Will Hernandez, and DJ Byrd. Attendees are immersed in excitement with opportunities to grab a drink from the Specialty Cocktail Sideshow Bar, mingle in The Madhouse’s neon body art bar, or play life-sized games while experiencing up-close encounters with stilt walkers, fire breathers and unimaginable creatures.

The Deck of Fate VIP Stage:

A limited number of festival-goers will unlock all of the most exclusive WCKD offerings and access to the 4th stage of non-stop music in The Deck Of Fate VIP, featuring EDM and open format sounds by local San Diego DJs: Aidin, DJ Byrd and DJ C-Riz! For just $90 (through September 14th), immerse yourself into the world of tarot and let your Halloween fortune unfold with a complimentary 7 Deadly Drinks (four drinks at any bar inside WCKD Village & three drinks at participating Gaslamp Quarter and East Village venues), Gypsy Lounges, a Spirit Circle of tarot card readers, fortune tellers and palm readers, custom VIP tarot card credential, charging station, upgraded restrooms, $1 off drinks at the VIP bar and more!

CHEAT CODES | MICHAEL CALFAN
YOUNG BOMBS | SINDEN
CHEYENNE GILES | ERIK DIAZ | FOMO
MURPHI KENNEDY | WILL HERNANDEZ |
AIDIN | DJ BYRD| DJ C-RIZ
& More to Be Announced Soon!

Tickets: General Admission Tickets start at just $35 through September 14th, including access to sinister sounds across 3 stages, epic immersive activations, free photo booths, Trick or Tarot stations, exclusive WCKD drink specials and no cover charge at 25+ venues in the East Village & Gaslamp Quarter, and more. Premium Tickets start at $50 through September 14th, including all the WCKD benefits of GA plus express entry, two complimentary WCKD cocktails, custom premium tarot card credential, designated restrooms, and more. Close your eyes. Forget your name. Forget the world. Now, get WCKD…For more exclusive WCKD news and to purchase tickets, visit www.WCKDvillage.com.

The Granger Building

The Granger Building


1904

964 5th Avenue                                                     

Architectural Style: Romanesque

Architect: William Quayle                                       

 

Once again it is summertime in America’s finest city, and many San Diegans clamor to spend time outdoors enjoying the many attractions this fair city offers. Unique to San Diego is the world- famous San Diego Zoo, which got its start in the Gaslamp in the historic Granger Building.

When Ralph Granger arrived in San Diego in 1892, he was already a millionaire. He had grubstaked two German miners in Colorado, and they, in turn, repaid him by discovering the Last Chance Silver Mine. All three men made a fortune from the Last Chance. Granger, who had expanded his earnings into further mining interests, the cattle business and lumber holdings, disposed of all his holdings in 1891, and moved to San Diego. When he settled in, he built a home in Paradise Valley, which is now National City. Additionally, he built an impressive music hall, which housed one of the world’s finest collections of violins and a pipe organ. Unfortunately, Granger’s mansion burned down in 1906, but the music hall is still standing. It has deteriorated badly as it has not been used for over ten years, but plans have been made to restore it and continue to use it as a venue for weddings, parties and civic functions. The structure will also be moved to the Chula Vista Marina district, as the area where it now stands has also fallen into disrepair. Granger’s granddaughter-in-law, Oma, lived next door to the hall for many years and was very fond of the structure.

In 1904, Mr. Granger set his sights on the ever-expanding downtown San Diego area, and selected William Quayle, one of the city’s outstanding architects, to design an elaborate office building. The Romanesque style structure, built for $125,000, was steel framed and constructed of pressed bricks. It is five stories high and features embossed metal ceilings, gas lights and a manually operated elevator. The roofline, as was the custom, is an elaborately molded design supported by lentils, and the symmetrically spaced windows are twelve feet high. The third-floor windows are very decorative and offer an architectural focus as they are curved on the upper side and contrast with the rectangular windows on the other floors. The interior first floor, which was first occupied by the Merchant’s National Bank, features a recessed granite entrance, mosaic floors, marble front vaults and mahogany and onyx furnishings. Granger was the first vice- president of the bank, and U.S. Grant, Jr. was the initial director. In 1924, the bank became the Bank of Italy, the forerunner of the Bank of America. The Bank of America adopted its name in 1930.

Throughout its existence, the Granger Building has had a variety of well-known tenants, none more so than Dr. Harry Wegeforth. Wegeforth was born in Baltimore, one of seven children born to Conrad Wegefarth (original spelling) and his third wife. He additionally had six older half-brothers from his father’s previous marriages. As a child, Harry always had an interest in both animals and tightrope walking. Indeed, after watching circus performers he began practicing, and became so adept at his high wire skills that he went on tour with the circus. Much to his dismay, he was fetched home by his brother, Charles. 

He then followed his older brothers into the study of medicine. He earned a position with the Baltimore Health Department at the age of fifteen. Unfortunately, a year later, Harry contracted influenza, which later developed into tuberculosis. On the advice of one of his many brothers, he moved to Colorado for his respiratory health, and herded Texas longhorns, while completing his high school education. He returned to Baltimore, enrolled in Baltimore Medical College, earned his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1906, and completed his post-graduate training, specializing in surgery, at Johns Hopkins University. He then became the first surgeon of the Baltimore Northeastern Dispensary. Ever restless, he left Baltimore in 1908 and went in search of a place to open his medical practice. Harry selected the fair city of San Diego to settle in, and easily passed the California State Board of Medicine Examinations. He then borrowed $50 and set up his offices in the Granger Building. Dr. Wegeforth was appointed president of the City Board of Health in 1912, where he launched a drive to improve the quality of the city’s food by advocating for the purification of milk and foodstuffs and bacteria tests for food suppliers. In 1913, Harry married Granger’s daughter, Rachel, and also changed the spelling of his name. His brothers, Paul and Arthur, followed Harry to San Diego and joined his practice.

Drs. Paul and Harry Wegeforth served as surgeons during the second year of the Panama-California Exposition of 1915, and Harry also held a position on the Exposition’s Board of Directors. It was at this time, that he had the idea of starting a zoo with the exotic animals left after the closing of the Expo. He became inspired while he and Paul were driving down Sixth Avenue on their way back from performing surgery at Saint Joseph’s Hospital (later Mercy Hospital). Harry heard the roar of the lions from the Expo, and proposed the idea to Paul, who was very supportive. The two brothers, joined by Drs. Fred Baker and Joseph Chessman Thompson and naturalist, Frank Stephens, executed and filed the Articles of Incorporation and by-laws for the Zoological Society of San Diego on December 11, 1916. The fledgling zoo, now a world-wide zoological and botanical icon, originally consisted of lions, bears, ducks, lynxes, golden eagles, a badger, a grey fox, a coyote, a whip snake, a white goose, and groups of buffalo, deer and elk. The new zoo was facing financial problems by 1917, so Wegeforth organized a field and track meet between the Navy and Marine Corps to raise revenue to keep the zoo going. Ultimately, he came to an agreement with the City of San Diego in which they would own all the animals, equipment and property, but the Zoological Society would have exclusive jurisdiction over the care and management of the animals. Harry then resigned from the Board of Directors, and was replaced by Joseph Sefton, Jr. In January 1919, he resumed his position as president of the Zoological Society, after serving a short stint in the Army Medical Corps. Dr. Wegeforth then began a vigorous campaign to expand and re-design the zoo, networking, collecting and trading animals with other zoos. He kept the baby animals and some of his new acquisitions in the basement of the Granger Building, while their new quarters were being readied!

Other notable tenants of the Granger building were Benjamin Squire and Joseph Jessop and Sons. Squire established the Merchant’s Patrol and Fire Dispatch in the building and ran San Diego’s first private security patrol until 1940, when he retired. However, he came out of retirement to become the Granger Building’s infamous elevator operator, Uncle Ben. He finally retired from that job in 1955.

Joseph Jessop came to sunny San Diego from England for his health. He failed at farming, and in 1891, started to work in the watch repair business. J. Jessop and Sons were tenants of the Granger from 1922-1928. By 1960, the family was one of the five largest privately-owned jewelry retailers in the United States.

One last Granger tenant of note was C. Arnholt Smith, banker, business tycoon, owner of the Pacific Coast minor league Padres, and good friend of President Richard Nixon. After numerous successes and failures, Mr. Smith was convicted of exceeding legal limits on bad loans to his companies from the bank he founded, the United States National Bank of San Diego. He additionally owed the IRS $23 million in back taxes. He started his initial business in the Granger and kept his money in the safe in the basement. He served 8 months in a minimum security work furlough facility and was released early due to poor health. Mr. Smith passed away in 1996.

Other tenants have been prominent attorneys, dentists and business professionals. Today, the ground floor houses a pizza restaurant and the upper floors feature executive offices and suites.
Learn more about the history of the Gaslamp by taking a historical walking tour with the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation every Thursday at 1pm and Saturday at 11am.
Sandee Wilhoit is the historian for the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. She can be reached at [email protected]
Gaslamp Landmarks is published monthly in the Downtown News, pick up your copy the first Friday of the month to be the first to read the article!

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The Callan Hotel

The Callan Hotel

 San Diego’s First “Zoo”

1878

Three Story Brick Structure

502 Fifth Avenue

Architects: Stannard & Layman (1913):  Additional Two Stories

As the days get warmer and summer approaches many San Diegans begin to seek outdoor entertainment. There are the beaches, Old Town, water parks, and of course, the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The first “zookeeper” in San Diego, however, was a colorful businessman and barkeep in the downtown Gaslamp District. His name was Tillman Burns, or Till for short. Till first owned the Phoenix, a drinking establishment on 5th and K, but then decided to move further uptown to 5th and Island, where he set about opening the Acme, a most elegant saloon and billiards parlor.

The first building on this property was a wooden structure owned by William Llewelyn, who purchased the property from Alonzo Horton in 1869. He added a pump and well the following year for fire prevention. The well was of little help, as the building burned down in 1877.  Mr. Llewelyn then constructed a brick building on the site. This sturdy, but not architecturally significant edifice, had two storefronts, the larger one on the corner facing 5th Avenue. It was to this site that Till Burns and his menagerie arrived.

Till’s menagerie, which he began assembling at the Phoenix, consisted of tropical birds of every sort, numerous primates, an iguana, tarantula spiders, a porcupine and a rather ill-tempered bear named Bruin, which he chained outside. It was Till’s belief that these exotic creatures would tempt customers to come into his saloon. His saloon was described in the City Directory as containing reading rooms, an elegant bar, reception rooms, a billiard parlor and magnificent oil paintings. Additionally, there was a cabinet of curiosities from all over the world and newspapers from all the large Eastern cities. For those who were desirous of feminine company, colorfully dressed ladies drifted in and out of the back rooms, while the finest liquors were served freely at the bar. Unfortunately, Till was often cited in the newspapers for serving liquor without a license and keeping his bar open after midnight.

Things became really difficult for Till when his bear purportedly bit off most of Constable Wilbur’s nose. The lawman, whom many said was quite handsome, ran down the street to the doctor, who told him that anyone who was foolish enough to stick his face up to a bear deserved to get bitten.  With that, the doctor turned him away, as there was nothing he felt he could do. The local populace now demanded that Mr. Burns get rid of his zoo, so Till turned them loose at the edge of town.

Till Burns ran the Acme until his death in 1904, at which time his son, also named Till, took over. Till Jr. ran the saloon until 1909. The property continued to be run as a saloon until 1914 by Louis Strada and A. Costanzi, who purchased the building from William Llewelyn, and added the upper two stories. Strada and Costanzi also ran the adjoining storefront as a saloon and a speakeasy during Prohibition until 1926 .

As the Asian community was becoming more commercially active, the Nippon Company gained control of the larger storefront in 1914, and ultimately purchased the property in 1926. The Nippon Company, an import business, used the storefront as their sales outlet and headquarters. The upstairs was run as the Hotel Pacific. It provided furnished rooms and office space for a variety of businesses – all Japanese. The Japanese Association of San Diego County, additionally, had their offices at the Pacific.

In 1941, under the direction of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, all Japanese were sent to internment camps and the property was seized by the bank. The San Diego Federal Savings and Loan Company became owner and reopened the hotel in 1943 under the name of Hotel Callan, which it retains to this day.

During the early part of the Gaslamp restoration, a colorful and historically themed mural adorned the Island Avenue side of the building.  Created by Heidi Hardin, the mural featured an idyllic scene of El Monte Park in Lakeside at the turn of the last century.  The nine-foot tall figures, each representing a Gaslamp pioneer, appear as if they are getting their picture taken. Among the characters are Tom Hom, Wayne Donaldson, Dan Pearson, Kit Goldman, Mario Torero, also an accomplished artist, Larry Nichols, Ben Parish and the artist herself!  Ms. Hardin’s mural was the largest of the five commissioned by the Gaslamp Mural Project, who selected five artists from 71 applicants to adorn five sites in the Gaslamp. In completing her work, she recruited some of the local residents of the 5th Avenue Rescue Mission. A local Carl’s Junior donated 80 hamburgers, Hardin bought the French fries and anyone who wanted to paint was put to work. Now, an accomplished artist with her own gallery in San Francisco, Ms. Hardin credits her start as an artist to the mural project. Her latest endeavor is The Human Family/A Walk Through Paradise, which incorporates seven rooms and an elaborate stained glass dome as a focal point.

The Callan is currently a low-income single-room occupancy residence on the upper two stories, and a restaurant, Sab Lai Thai, on the street level. The Blarney Stone, a tavern, occupies the smaller adjoining storefront.
Learn more about the history of the Gaslamp by taking a historical walking tour with the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation every Thursday at 1pm and Saturday at 11am.
Sandee Wilhoit is the historian and lead tour guide for the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. She can be reached at [email protected]
Gaslamp Landmarks is published monthly in the Downtown News, pick up your copy the first Friday of the month to be the first to read the article!

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Backesto Building

Backesto Building

Back-esto in Time

 The Backesto Building

1873 &1887

Architects: Burgett and Osgood

 Architectural Style: Classical Revival

 

On December 23, 1867, Dr. John Pierre Backesto, bought himself a Christmas present – a large portion of Block 88 belonging to Alonzo Horton. The property was located on Fifth Avenue and H Street. (now Market St.), and also bordered parts of Fourth Avenue and G Street.  It was subdivided into lots D,E,F,G,H,I, J and K, and comprised an admirable portion of what was to become the heart of San Diego’s growing business district. Dr. Backesto, a physician from San Jose, secured his property for $300, and thus became one of San Diego’s first absentee landlords. He appointed his nephew, George W. Hazzard, as manager of the properties, as it was Hazzard who had introduced his uncle to San Diego.  Within two years, Backesto and Hazzard began to parcel out parts of the lots, including lot J, which was sold to Backesto’s brother, David H. Backesto.

Hazzard ultimately became quite influential in Republican party politics and business in the area.

In 1873, Dr. Backesto secured a loan from the Commercial Bank of San Diego and erected his first “fine brick building.”  However, in April of 1884, he hired G.T. Burgett ,a San Jose architect, to design a replacement for the remaining wooden structures on the property and to enlarge the original building. The wood from the wooden buildings was later used in the construction of the new Backesto brick building.  According to his instructions, it incorporated skylights in the upstairs rooms,  “good ventilating apparatus” and seven chimneys for heating.The building featured a series of pedimented window columns with cornices, which were repeated across the great length of the building, and served to give it a majestic appearance. The original structure also incorporated a balustrade along the top story, which was later removed. All foundation walls were of brick. The entire building had a frontage of 100 feet on Market Street, and 224 feet along Fifth.The first estimate for the project was in excess of $20,000, which of course ran over budget. Upon completion, it was said to be the finest mercantile structure in all of San Diego, and some said, in all of California.

The first tenants of this impressive structure included clothiers, milliners, jewelers, a liquor store, general merchandisers, a hardware store, real estate offices, a photographer’s studio, ship chandlers and steamship companies.  The upper floors housed 39 sleeping rooms.  Klauber and Levi, San Diego’s pioneer grocer and general merchandise firms occupied the building until 1886, and the famous San Diego Hardware opened in this building in 1892. In 1923, San Diego Hardware moved to a building further up Fifth Avenue.

Dr. Backesto died on March 17, 1890.  His estate, San Diego Realty, was valued at $715,600. The Backesto/Hazzard family retained control of this extensive property until 1930.

The Backesto Building was one of the first in the Gaslamp to be restored to its original splendor.  The upstairs rooms, now offices, retain the original flavor of the 1880s, while the first floor buildings are now largely restaurants.

The newest tenant of the Backesto block is American Junkie, which opened in late March.  This bar/restaurant features American bar food, a DJ and a lively atmosphere.
Learn more about the history of the Gaslamp by taking a historical walking tour with the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation every Thursday at 1pm and Saturday at 11am.
Sandee Wilhoit is the historian for the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. She can be reached at [email protected]
Gaslamp Landmarks is published monthly in the Downtown News, pick up your copy the first Friday of the month to be the first to read the article!

 

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San Diego’s Palace of the Arts: The Magnificent Villa Montezuma

San Diego’s Palace of the Arts: The Magnificent Villa Montezuma

September 12, 2018 at 7pm.  Lectures are free for Members, $5 non-members.

Gazing upon the Gaslamp Quarter from just atop the hill in the Sherman Heights Historic District sits the regal Villa Montezuma; the 1887 Palace of the Arts and home of mysterious, world-traveling Musician and Spiritualist Jesse Shepard. Join us for our next History Talks! Lecture as Historian Louise Torio, President of The Friends of the Villa Montezuma Inc., shares the fascinating history behind this Queen Anne-style Victorian house museum. Who exactly was Jesse Shepard, and why did he move to San Diego? Who was Francis Grierson and why was this his house too? Is the inside of the home just as strikingly beautiful as the outside? Find out the answers to these questions, as well as what the future holds for this historical treasure.

 

History Talks! is a monthly lecture series presented by the Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House. Each month a local historian or specialist will delve into topics related to San Diego and the Davis-Horton House to bring a unique glimpse into the history of our city. Come hear history come alive!

 

 

History Talks! The Japanese Americans in the Gaslamp

History Talks! The Japanese Americans in the Gaslamp

July 11th, 2018 at 7pm.  Lectures are free for Members, $5 non-members.

Join Lecturer Linda Canada, outreach coordinator of the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego, to learn about the influence of the Japanese Americans who lived and worked in the Gaslamp. A special guest will be Yukio Kawamoto whose parents operated the immigrant hotel once known as the Anchor located on the top floor of the Royal Pie Bakery on Fourth Avenue.

The boom years of the 1880s brought an influx of people seeking opportunity in San Diego. Among this wave of newcomers, were Japanese seeking a new life here.  Many were involved in the fishing and farming communities, and several families operated businesses catering to fellow Japanese. Prior to World War Two, Japanese were part of the burgeoning commercial community within the Gaslamp Quarter. Join us as we take a closer look into the stories and contributions of Japanese and Japanese Americans who helped shape the history of this vibrant and multi-cultural district.

History Talks! is a monthly lecture series presented by the Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House. Each month a local historian or specialist delves into topics related to San Diego and the Davis-Horton House to bring a unique glimpse into the history of our city. Come hear history come alive!

 

 

Fallback Festival

Fallback Festival

Travel back in time to enjoy our old west town! Pan for gold,  saddle up on pony rides, and enjoy live entertainment.

Your kiddos will go plum crazy as you take a step back in time at the 18th annual Fall Back Festival, a Children’s Historical Street Faire, on Sunday November 4, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.

The event proceeds will benefit the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation, to assist in the continued effort to preserve the history of the Gaslamp Quarter and San Diego for years to come.

The Fall Back Festival is FREE* to the public.

*some activities require a nominal fee.

Call the Museum for information: 619-233-4692.

For vendor opportunities, contact McFarlane promotions directly: 619-233-5008.

 

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GQHF Needs Fall Back Volunteers

 Help make this year’s event a success by supporting the festival as a volunteer in our children’s carnival, our information booth, or at our contest and entertainment stages!

If you or know of anyone you know would enjoy volunteering for GQHF and the street faire, please contact us at 619-233-4692 or via email, [email protected].