Victorian Elegance Revived: Exploring the McConaughy House

At the end of Heritage Park Row in Old Town San Diego stands the McConaughy House, a stunning Victorian-era residence that has borne witness to more than a century of history. With its decorative Eastlake brackets, distinctive low-pitched roof, and captivating bay window, this architectural treasure is a testament to the elegance of the late 19th century. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of the McConaughy House, its notable occupants, and its current incarnation as the Coral Tree Tea House.

The story of the McConaughy House begins in 1887 when it was built by John McConaughy, a man whose life journey spanned nearly eight decades. Born in 1809, John McConaughy ventured to San Diego in 1882, undoubtedly seeking new opportunities and adventures in the burgeoning city on the Pacific coast. Tragically, his time in San Diego was short-lived, as he passed away in 1889. However, his legacy lives on through the house he built, which continues to stand as a symbol of his vision and the era in which he lived.

Prior to his arrival in San Diego, John McConaughy had spent a considerable portion of his life in Northern California, where he managed a vast ranch. It is this background that perhaps inspired him to construct a home that embraced the architectural trends of the time, featuring the Eastlake style elements that give the McConaughy House its distinctive character.

In 1888, the Keating family became the proud owners of the McConaughy House. Fanny Keating, in particular, left an indelible mark on the house’s history. After the passing of her husband, who had been a prominent figure in the community, Fanny Keating decided to put the house to a noble use. She generously offered the home for temporary use as the Hospital of the Good Samaritan, a cherished charity that was close to her late husband’s heart. This act of philanthropy further solidified the McConaughy House’s place in San Diego’s history as a place of compassion and healing.

The McConaughy House’s journey through time took a significant turn in January 1981 when the house was relocated to a new home within a park. This relocation not only ensured the preservation of the historic structure but also brought it closer to the public eye. The house was subsequently designated as City of San Diego Historic Site #114 on November 5, 1976, cementing its status as a cherished piece of San Diego’s architectural heritage.

Coral Tree Tea House: A Step Back in Time

Today, the McConaughy House stands as a living relic of the past, offering visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the elegance and refinement of the Victorian era. Now home to the Coral Tree Tea House, this charming establishment is inspired by the grand estates of the Victorian era, and its picturesque setting is perfect for enjoying a leisurely afternoon tea.

The Coral Tree Tea House invites guests to savor not just the delightful flavors of its tea and treats but also the ambiance of a bygone era. With its carefully curated decor and attention to historical detail, the tea house provides an immersive experience, allowing patrons to relive a time when gracious living and refined manners were the order of the day.

The McConaughy House, with its rich history and architectural splendor, is a cherished part of San Diego’s heritage. From its construction in 1887 by John McConaughy to its charitable use as the Hospital of the Good Samaritan and its present-day incarnation as the Coral Tree Tea House, this Victorian gem continues to capture the hearts and imaginations of all who encounter it. It serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of those who shaped San Diego’s past and an invitation to savor the elegance of days gone by in the present. The McConaughy House remains a living piece of history, ready to transport visitors on a delightful journey back in time.


  • Fri-Sat: 11am–5pm
  • Sun: 10am–3:30pm

Phone – (619) 291-5464

Address – 2490 Heritage Park Row, San Diego, CA 92110

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