Whaley House stands today as a classic example of mid-nineteenth century Greek Revival architecture. Over 100,000 people visit the Whaley House annually, with guests traveling from across the globe to experience this world-renowned museum. It is owned by the County of San Diego and is managed by Old Town Trolley Tours.
Address – 2476 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone – (619) 273-5824
Website – www.whaleyhousesandiego.com
The building was started with the construction of a granary that later became the courtroom. The two-story house and store addition was designed by Thomas Whaley himself and constructed in 1857. It was the first two-story brick edifice in San Diego, and was built from bricks made in Thomas Whaley’s own brickyard. Whaley boasted, “My new house, when completed, will be the handsomest, most comfortable and convenient place in town or within 150 miles of here.”
Our interpretive period is from 1856 when construction began on the house to 1885 when Thomas Whaley moved his family to a new home in New Town, San Diego. Our primary focus is on 1868 to 1871, when the Whaley House was not only the Whaley family residence, but also San Diego’s first commercial theater, the county courthouse, and the Whaley and Crosthwaite General Store, all of which have been restored to the museum.
Whaley House Complex
- The Whaley House Museum, a not-to-be-missed experience that will be enjoyed by persons of all ages.
- The historic Verna House, which houses the Whaley House Museum Shop. This 1870s French Mansard was moved to its current location, next to the Whaley House, to save it from demolition in 1965. The Museum Shop features Whaley House souvenirs and t-shirts, an eclectic assortment of gifts and art that will appeal to everyone, and a large selection of books on San Diego History, architecture, art, and the paranormal.
- Two false front store buildings, of which there are only two others that still exist in the City of San Diego, that were moved from downtown San Diego to the Whaley House Complex in 1964 to save them from demolition. The two at the Whaley House Complex currently house the New Orleans Creole Café. The Café offers indoor and outdoor patio dining.
- The historic Derby-Pendleton House. This c. 1850 wood-frame and adobe structure is named for its two best-known residents, humorist George Horatio Derby (better known by his pennames “Squibob” and “John Phoenix”) and San Diego County Clerk and Recorder George Allen Pendleton. The building was moved out of the path of Interstate 5 to its current location in 1962. Although it is not open to the public, it provides a classic backdrop to the Whaley House grounds.