Thomas Whaley Day: San Diego’s Tribute to Its Early Settler on His 200th Anniversary

This year marks a significant milestone in San Diego’s rich history. The Whaley House Museum in Old Town is set to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the city’s pioneer, Thomas Whaley.

Born in 1823 and passing away in 1890, Thomas Whaley was not just any settler. Originating from New York City, he ventured to California in the year 1849, and merely two years later, he was laying the foundations of his life in San Diego. His invaluable contributions are etched into the city’s fabric. The two-story Greek Revival brick house, constructed between 1856 and 1857, stands tall even today as a testament to his enduring legacy. Furthermore, it has gained notoriety as an emblematic spot for those intrigued by haunted tales of San Diego.

To commemorate this special anniversary, a plethora of events have been lined up by the Whaley House Museum. Trivia enthusiasts can look forward to participating in a contest hosted on the Whaley House’s social media platforms. The climax of the celebration is slated for Thursday, Oct. 5 – the exact date of Whaley’s birth. On this day, both the city and county of San Diego will recognize the significance of the pioneer by proclaiming it ‘Thomas Whaley Day‘. Those who are fortunate enough to share this birthday with the man himself will be treated to free admission for the Whaley House Day Tour, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Thomas Whaley was an early leader of San Diego’s business community and his home in Old Town is one of the most historic buildings in San Diego County,” said Victor Santana, operations manager at the museum. “We think it is important to honor Thomas Whaley and his contributions to San Diego’s history.”

But that’s not all. Museum officials have curated a special exhibit to mark this occasion. Open to the public until Nov. 5, this exhibit showcases some of Whaley’s personal items, graciously loaned by San Diego County. As a cherry on top, visitors can indulge in a delightful serving of cake and other refreshments on the Whaley House grounds, available from 1 to 2 p.m.

As we reflect upon the past, it becomes evident how integral figures like Thomas Whaley were in shaping the history and culture of regions like San Diego. This celebration is not just a tribute to one man but a nod to the entire era that he represents. If you find yourself in San Diego during this period, the Whaley House Museum awaits your presence to be part of this monumental occasion.

Hours – Daily, 10am–4:30pm

Phone – (619) 273-5824

Address – 2476 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110

Website  –