Gaslamp Museum Flood 2018


SAN DIEGO, CA – November 2, 2018 One of San Diego’s historical treasures, the Davis-Horton House at the Gaslamp Museum, has been hit by a flood. Saving and restoring it has been a real challenge for the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation (GQHF).

The GQHF is dedicated to preserving the architecture, culture and history of the Gaslamp Quarter, a 16 ½-block area designated as an historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. The Foundation operates from the oldest standing residence in the Gaslamp Quarter, the Davis-Horton House, a repository of artifacts, photos and archives that are preserved for residents and visitors from around the world to enjoy.

Floods, of course, are the bane of old houses. The latest flood was discovered on the morning of April 11, 2018, by Sandee Wilhoit, who unlocked the lower level door and stepped into a seriously wet problem. Sandee is the Historian, lead tour guide and a member of the Gaslamp Players. She immediately saw objects floating across the normally pristine floor and her next thought was, “Oh no! The exhibit artifacts!” Grabbing the two mannequins that were displaying vintage dresses, she fled up the stairs to wait for the help she called to arrive to the scene.

This is the most extensive flood this historic house has experienced. Restoration efforts included immediate removal of all items from the area to offsite storage. Fortunately, none of the collection was damaged, but the area involved was rendered unusable, and the Museum staff was left without offices, equipment and supplies. Enter the insurance adjuster, water damage renovation experts, contractors, and City of San Diego Facilities Dept. as the Museum building is owned by the City. Due to their quick work, mold did not get a foothold. Unfortunately, the basement repairs have taken over six months and costs have exceeded insurance coverage. According to Catalina Preskill, Executive Director at the time of the flood, “this event highlighted the need to protect our collections including costumes, maps, documents, newspapers and artifacts. These items belong to all San Diegans and we recognize our responsibility as custodians.”

For an aging historic building, there will always be a need for restoration and maintenance.   This can only be accomplished with the support of our community, members and the generosity of visitors from around the world. A Restoration & Repair Fund has been set up for just this purpose. Everyone will benefit – those who tour the Museum, or take a walking tour of the Gaslamp Quarter, or attend a lecture, or shop in the gift store, or attend a program in the park. If you would like to help, please visit