Author Archives: Gaslamp Foundation

John Coffin Jones, Jr

THE ONLY FATHER Wm. HEATH DAVIS EVER KNEW: JOHN COFFIN JONES, Jr. William Heath Davis’s natural father, William Heath Davis, Sr., died in 1822, the same year in which Davis, Jr. was born. In 1826 Davis’s mother, Hannah (who stopped using the Davis surname as a widow and resumed her maiden name of Holmes), became […]


William Heath Davis’s older brother, Robert, was three years William’s senior.  Robert was educated in private schools in the eastern United States and became the scholar that William was not.  Robert’s life and career were centered in the Sandwich Islands, and he became a driving force in the intellectual, judicial and political community of Honolulu. […]


Wm. HEATH DAVIS’S ENIGMATIC MOTHER, HANNAH HOLMES Hannah Holmes Davis Jones was born in 1800 to former Bostonian Oliver Holmes and Mahikalanihooulumokuikekai (last name unknown), a Polynesian princess with whom he had six children.  Hannah, Holmes’ eldest daughter, married William Heath Davis, Sr. in 1817 and became a widow just five years later.  Hannah’s father […]

Haunting Stories

  Take our newly updated Self-Guided tour: The Davis-Horton House, Haunting Stories! Just in time for Halloween.   Visitor and staff encounters with the paranormal abound both day and night; lights are known to turn on after hours, electronics batteries drain faster within its walls, footsteps creak in empty rooms, and rocking chairs are used […]

Don’t Leave Home Without It!

A Little History of the Purse! After a most successful afternoon of e-shopping for purses and handbags, a history of these necessities, and in some cases, obsessions, seems appropriate. Believe it or not, the real reason for needing a purse early on wasn’t for shopping, but for socializing. As calling on friends in the afternoon […]

A Million Gilded Treasures……

The Woolworth Building (1922) 945 Fifth Avenue Architectural Style: Roman Neo-Classic Architect: Cass Gilbert of New York City     Building Contractors: Allan Macdonald & Felix Kahn    Gone are the days when one could get something of value for five or ten cents, but many of us remember roaming up and down the brightly lighted aisles of […]

From Brothel to Boots

The Dalton Building (1911) 939 5th Avenue Architectural Style :Commercial/Art Noveau Architect : F.W. Stevenson (1930) Contractor: Schaniel Brothers & E.F. Byers (1930) The original three-story, reinforced concrete with brick facade structure built in 1911 was a far cry from the well preserved art nouveau edifice now gracing 5th Avenue. It was built as a […]

One of Many……

The Simmons Hotel (1906) The New York Hotel (1906) 520 – 544 6th Avenue Architectural Stye: Early 20th Century Commercial Architect: Edwin Blachman Principle Contractor: Mortz-Trepte During the early 20th century, many small hotels sprang into construction in answer to the foreseeable need for accommodations for tourists coming to the proposed Panama-California Exposition. The exposition […]