Heritage County Park & Victorian Village Explore a unique San Diego treasure of beautifully-preserved Victorian buildings with a rich history, photo opportunities, and authentic tea room.
Hours – Open daily from sunrise to sunset
Address – Entrance at the corner of Juan and Harney Streets
Phone – (619) 291-9784
Website – www.sdparks.org/content/sdparks/en/park-pages/Heritage.html
This 7.8-acre park is dedicated to the preservation of San Diego’s Victorian architecture. Expansion downtown after WWII threatened these structures with demolition on their original sites. Public and private funds paid for the acquisition, relocation, and restoration of these buildings.
Senlis Cottage (1896) A modest cottage built for Eugene Senlis, an employee of San Diego pioneer horticulturist Kate Sessions. This house, without the amenities of gas, electricity, water, or sewer, is an example of dwellings occupied in the 1880s by working-class people. Senlis Cottage is open daily for public viewing from 9am – 5pm.
Sherman-Gilbert House (1887) This house was built and first owned by John Sherman, cousin of General William Tecumseh Sherman. The “widow’s walk” and circular window are key elements of this structure, which moved to Heritage Park in the spring of 1971. From 1892 to 1965, sisters Bess and Gertrude Gilbert, patrons of art and music, brought internationally famous entertainers to receptions in their home. Among the artists were Yehudi Menuhin and Arthur Rubinstein.
Christian House (1889) This graceful residence was constructed by Harfield Timberlake Christian, founder of an early San Diego abstract company. It is built in a popular late Victorian design characterized by a variety of chimneys, shingles, a corner tower, and encircling veranda.
Bushyhead House (1887) Edward Wilkerson Bushyhead, early San Diego sheriff, chief of police, and San Diego Union newspaper owner, built this house as a rental. The Italianate style combines double doors with glass panels, tall protruding bay windows and a low-pitched roof. The Bushyhead House was moved to Heritage Park in summer of 1976. Bushyhead, who was part Cherokee Indian, marched in the “Trail of Tears” during the displacement of the Southeastern tribes in 1838-39.
McConaughy House (1887) This house is named for its original owner, John McConaughy, who founded the first scheduled passenger and freight service in San Diego County. His four-horse passenger stages and six-horse wagons operated between San Diego and Julian. Visit the Old Town Gift Emporium, specializing in Victorian porcelain dolls, inside the McConaughy House Thursday – Tuesday from 10am to 5pm.
Burton House (1893) Pediments and dentil cornices inspired by classic sources mark this house. Henry Guild Burton, retired Army physician, built it during a trend that by the turn of the century began to eliminate decoration.
Temple Beth Israel (1889) San Diego’s first synagogue, constructed by the Congregation Beth Israel, also became temporary quarters for many religious sects before establishing churches of their own. The structure reflects the church styles of the late 1800s. The first services were held September 25, 1889. PHG handles reservations for weddings, bar mitzvahs, receptions, and public meetings in this building. Temple Beth Israel is open daily for public viewing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an exception for private events.