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Whaley House Museum

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Full front view. The courthouse occupies the left side single story, bedrooms and San Diego's first commercial theatre are upstairs, while the parlor, guest bedroom, dining room, and general store are downstairs.

In 2010, the Whaley House looks more like it did in the 19th century than at any time in the 20th. Using historic photographs, a new front porch was recently replicated from Thomas Whaley's original 1857 design, and new copper rain gutters were added, also in their historic design.

The verandah has been completely repainted in historic colors, including the sky blue ceiling, a popular Victorian treatment believed to repel spiders and insects. 2016

Louvered shutters keep the room cool and ventilated on warm days.

Solid raised paneled shutters provide security and privacy and add an extra layer of insulation. The historically accurate shutters on the Whaley House are all fully operable.

An up close view of a shutter mounting.

Entry hall with faux wood grain on the doors and baseboards, with faux marble walls in an ashlar block pattern.

The original use of this room was the general store. The residence was actually built to house the general store, not as an afterthought. This most significant piece of the history of the Whaley house is once again the 1870-71 Whaley & Crosthwaite general store.

Items typically for sale circa 1870

County courthouse

Before In 2002 SOHO began the interior restoration here in the parlor. In the years 1869 to 1871 the Whaley family shared their residence with Whaley and Crosthwaite general store, courtroom, and the first commercial theatre in San Diego.

After Faux graining is finished, wallpaper installed. Thomas Whaley boasted of having Brussels carpets in this house; the parlor carpet is a reproduction of a pattern first produced in 1854. The parlor carpet is loomed in long strips that were sewn together onsite just as it would have been done originally. The public was able to watch workmen utilizing methods of the 19th century as part of our education programming.

Before A workman preps the parlor walls for wallpaper. The finished design is a reproduction pattern of the 1860s, historically appropriate for the room.

After Mantle painted its original black

Before Originally the woodwork in the Whaley house was faux grained; this was a typical treatment of the 1850's and 60's.


Period wallpaper, carpets, lace drapes, lighting, faux grained oak woodwork.

Parlor and study, carpet installed and period accessories added. Room furnishings arranged according to the decorative standards of the day.

View from guest bedroom, through the study and into the parlor.

The items in this picture all belonged to Thomas Whaley.

The top hat and globe, books and the secretary desk are from the Whaley's 1880's home in New Town San Diego.

Dining room

The Theatre. Originally in 1857 this was the first parlor and dining room and then became the theatre in 1869-70.

Now with woodwork faux grained, raked stage built, authentic painted backdrop, curtains and period lighting we present various 19th century type programs and performances throughout the year.

For the reconstruction of the kitchen, we used the original hand drawn plans of Thomas Whaley, written descriptions, historic photos and physical evidence found in, on and around the building. Here we see a stairway and door that had been added in the 1960s.

Restoration began with removal of stairway and replacement of French window and brickwork.

Porch construction underway.

The wrap-around back porch and lean-to kitchen have been freshly painted in historic colors.

Nearing competion

The rear façade showing the freshly painted trim and kitchen, and new shutters. 2016

The wood-burning antique stove made in 1864 is in its original working condition, making this a functional 1860's kitchen. A replica oilcloth with checked design covers the floor.

All accessories are antique or reproduction such as the wash tubs and washboard, which were custom made.


2476 San Diego Avenue, San Diego 92110
(619) 297-7511


Hours of Operations · Admission
Directions & Parking
Group Tours
School Group Tours
Museum Shop
Wedding & Venue Rental

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2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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