One of our region's finest Queen Anne-style Victorian homes, the 1887 Villa Montezuma is a high-profile example of the city of San Diego being overwhelmed, understaffed, and ill prepared on how to handle their historic resources properly.
Designed by the renowned architecture firm of Comstock & Trotsche, this ornate, polychrome mansion has been a beloved landmark ever since it was built for the world-famous concert pianist and spiritualist, Jesse Francis Shepard. The colorful artist invited friends and neighbors for classical concerts and mysterious séances in grand rooms with specially commissioned stained-glass windows at a time when cultural offerings were relatively scarce in San Diego.
The house has been sitting empty and vulnerable since early 2009, when the San Diego Historical Society abandoned its lease on the property. It reverted to city supervision, and has remained closed, and, sadly, subject to vandalism. In 1971, SOHO helped save this important site when it first left private ownership. Before the house suffers any more damage, the city needs to reopen and maintain it, ideally with SOHO's assistance, which we continue to offer gratis.
Faded, cracked and peeling paint, the prevailing conditions. Photo by Sandé Lollis
Remaining from past years
LISTS FROM PAST YEARS