San Diego Historical Landmarks—#9: The Davis-Horton House (part 4)

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For previous posts on the Davis-Horton House, see
The Davis-Horton House, part 3
The Davis-Horton House, part 2
The Davis-Horton House.

Location of Heath-Davis House

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Davis-Horton House, built in 1850, is the oldest house in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. It’s also one of the oldest structures in all of San Diego.

Since the lumber resources in San Diego in 1850 were nonexistent, the house was purchased as a “pre-cut” house from a manufacturer in Portland, Maine, and shipped to San Diego around the Cape Horn of Africa. The “salt-box” style of the house was prevalent in New England at the time.

Many sources say that the house was purchased by the City of San Diego in the early 1970s, but for some reason we can’t get an exact year. The brochure from the Gaslamp Museum says that the house was sold in 1981 and donated to the City of San Diego.

The house was originally built at State & Market Streets. In 1873, when Anna Scheper bought the house, she had it moved to 11th & K Streets where it would be used as a hospital, eventually becoming known as the County Hospital. It was moved to its current location at 410 Island Avenue in 1984.

Davis-Horton House locations

Davis-Horton housePicture ca. 1873 at the 11th Street & K Street location

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

From 1867 to 1873, Alonzo Horton, one of San Diego’s early real estate developers, lived in the house, buying a 50% interest in the house in 1872. The house is the only remaining house where Alonzo Horton is known to have lived.

Sometime in the 1890s, the house was bought by Henry and Lina Lohmann, German immigrants. In 1901, they adopted a 6-year-old boy named George Deyo, and in 1936, they gave the house to George.

George Deyo took in a young boy named Edward Lanuza, as well as the boy’s grandmother. After Edward married, he raised his family in the home, living without electricity in order to preserve the house for history. How awesome. Someone actually thinking about history and how to save something for future generations.

Edward inherited the house when George Deyo died in 1977. After the house was sold 1981, the new owners donated it to the City of San Diego, although some sources say that the City of San Diego bought it.

Each room in the house represents a different time in the house’s history, including as a pre-Civil War military officers’ barracks and a hospital.

Now known as the Gaslamp Museum, it is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, and Sunday from noon to 3:30 PM.

I went on a Saturday and took lots of pictures…. but you knew that….

The kitchen exhibits objects covering a wide range of time in the history of the house, including a coal-burning stove and a gas stove, both in use until 1981.

Kitchen of the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Kitchen of the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Kitchen of the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The dining room is set for a family meal ca. 1885 with pressed glass goblets, spooners, and knife rests.

Dining Room of the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The staircases are original to the house, as is hardwood flooring throughout, best visible in the hallways. Look closely and you can see wooden, square-headed nails in the floor planks.

Staircase in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Square wooden nails in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The parlor represents the period from 1867-1873 when Alonzo Horton lived in the house. Hanging on the wall is the marriage certificate for Alonzo and Lydia. I thought it interesting that the marriage certificate indicates that Alonzo was 77 and Lydia was 47. I thought marriages between people of such a wide age difference was a fairly modern thing, post-World War II. Wonder what the gossip was like….

The parlor room in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Alonzo Horton marriage certificate

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The first residents of the Davis-Horton House were military officers. Two of the military officers known to have lived there became generals: John Bankhead MacGruder, who fought for the South during the Civil War, and Nathanial Lyon, who fought for the North.

The military room represents a military bedroom from the 1870s. Included in the room is an 1870s military uniform and U.S. Army honorable discharge papers for Private Pfeiffer dated 1866. Unfortunately, no one knows who Private Pfeiffer was or why his discharge papers were stored in the house and found in the possessions of Henry Lohmann and George Deyo.

I found it interesting that the discharge says that Private Pfeiffer actually is “Frederick E. Phifer” from Pennsylvania and was a “Bucher” when he enlisted in the Army. I can’t believe no one has found out more information about him.

The military room in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

U.S. Army discharge for Frederick E. Phifer in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The children’s room includes toys from the nineteenth century, including antique marbles and wooden checkers representing toys that children would have played with in those days. Sadly, I didn’t see an iPad, a DVD player, an MP3 player, or an XBox. Poor children from a century ago………..

The children's room in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Alonzo Horton’s Bedroom—Although it is not known which room Horton actually used as his bedroom, he is the only resident of the house who could have afforded the luxurious stone fireplace. The room has several of his belongings, including a beautiful pitcher and basin.

Alonzo Horton's bedroom in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Alonzo Horton's bedroom in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Alonzo Horton's bedroom in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The hospital room represents the period from 1873 to the early 1890s when the house served as the County Hospital. The owner, Anna Scheper, not only lived in the house but cared for up to 19 patients at one time in the house.

The hospital room in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

The hospital room in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Lohmann-Deyo study represents the period when George Deyo lived in the house. Artifacts in the room, all belonging to the Deyo and Lohmann families, include the desk, a Victrola, and a pharmaceutical scale for weighing gold. When the room was renovated as part of the museum, a cutaway wall was discovered which led to an alcove where a working whiskey still was found, as well as $5,000 in gold.

The Lohmann-Deyo study in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

The Lohmann-Deyo study in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

The Lohmann-Deyo study in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Replica of a whiskey still in the Davis-Horton House, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Victorian bathroom includes a claw-footed bathtub which is original to the house and in use until 1981. The pull-chain toilet is a replica of the original.

The Victorian bathroom in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Historical toilet

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice the walls and floors. In the 1860s, hygiene awareness increased due to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, becoming ill and dying of typhus. Bathrooms included glazed tiles on floors and walls, enameled sinks and bathtubs, and exposed pipes for easy cleaning.

In the stairway leading up from the basement to the interior of the house hangs an “ordinary bicycle” from the 1880s.

Ordinary bicycle from the 1880s in the historic Davis-Horton House in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I think I prefer my unordinary bicycle from the 2010s:

Russel Ray's bike

Russel Ray’s bike

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Anniversary? Birthday? Graduation? Marriage?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

Photographic Art logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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36 thoughts on “San Diego Historical Landmarks—#9: The Davis-Horton House (part 4)

  1. teagan geneviene

    I enjoyed seeing all the old furnishings, particularly the kitchen “appliances.” San Diego is a wonderful city. I certainly wouldn’t mind living there! Happy New Year to you and yours, Russel.

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  2. Serene View Photography by Heather-Joan Carls

    Hi, Ray. Happy New Year! The interior of the Gaslamp Museum bears a striking resemblance to out Bartlett House, which is the home of the Olean Historical Society. It is furnished mostly with the belongings of the former Barlett family plus donations of other turn of the century items. It is in a beautiful turn of the century three story Victorian home. In 2005, I was out walking and had just left the library and the historical society was across the street. So I just wandered in and asked if I might be able to walk around and take some pictures. They said yes and one of the older ladies there took me round and told me some history of the home and the Bartlett’s and then left me to walk round and take pictures. Mind you, I was just starting out taking pictures, but I ended up getting some nice ones all the same.
    I do love history and I did want to be a history teacher, but after all those years of getting up at dawn for school, I decided that I wasn’t to keen to spend the rest of my life doing that. There are other ways to pursue my love of history and also combine it with the pursuits of my other intererets.
    Thanks for this great post. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Ray. 🙂

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      1. Serene View Photography by Heather-Joan Carls

        I should. I have a to do list a mile long this week though.I go in for surgery on 13 January and I have a bunch of product reviews I have to get done by 12 January. I did do some quick research and I see there isn’t a whole lot out there. Yes, I think a post is in order and I am going to make make note of it in Evernote and do it soon too. Thanks for the idea!

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  3. hillbillyzen13

    I’ve enjoyed each installment of this series tremendously, but must admit to the tiniest bit of impatience to see the inside. This was *well* worth the wait, Russel. Once again, your photos and narrative are as close to actually being there as possible. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. orples

    I love all of those marvelous old antiques. The clawed foot bath tubs make wonderful horse troughs. And you haven’t lived until you have cooked on a wood burning stove in the summertime. Hot takes on a whole new definition, I assure you.

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    Reply
  5. Steve Schwartzman

    It’s hard to imagine having to have a house shipped from Maine around Cape Horn to San Diego. Even if timber wasn’t available in San Diego, I’d have thought some could have been shipped down the coast from further north in California, where trees are plentiful.

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