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Gaslamp Landmarks

‘Reuben the guide’ and his historic haunts

Posted: October 6th, 2017 | Columnists, Featured, Gaslamp Landmarks | No Comments

By Sandee Wilhoit | Gaslamp Landmarks

As lead tour guide and historian for the Davis-Horton House Museum, I often wondered how the tour guide business got started. I inadvertently found the answer while researching something entirely different.

Not all Gaslamp “landmarks” are buildings. San Diego’s first tour guide, known coast-to-coast, was Reuben Williams, or as he was simply called, “Reuben the guide.”

From hotel to hospital to hotel

Posted: September 1st, 2017 | Columnists, Featured, Gaslamp Landmarks | No Comments

By Sandee Wilhoit | Gaslamp Landmarks

On June 15, 1850, all portions of the city of San Diego Pueblo Lot 1156, were sold to Thomas Sweeney, Thomas Matsell, Daniel P. Clark and Joseph T. Sweet. They were respectively, a one-armed U.S. Army officer, a gentleman who would immediately become the County Recorder, a soldier who served in the Mexican-American War, and a relative of the other purchasers.

The many homes of Alonzo Horton

Posted: August 4th, 2017 | Columnists, Featured, Gaslamp Landmarks | No Comments

By Sandee Wilhoit | Gaslamp Landmarks When Alonzo Horton arrived in San Diego in 1867, he did what any newcomer would do — he looked for a place to live. Fortunately for Horton, there were three houses and the barracks left from William Heath Davis’s earlier attempt to establish a seaport in the area.

Back-esto in time

Posted: July 7th, 2017 | Columnists, Featured, Gaslamp Landmarks | No Comments

By Sandee Wilhoit | Gaslamp Landmarks On Dec. 23, 1867, Dr. John Pierre Backesto bought himself a Christmas present: a large portion of Block 88 belonging to Alonzo Horton. The property was located at Fifth Avenue and H Street (now Market Street), and also bordered parts of Fourth Avenue and G Street. It was subdivided into […]

Golden West Hotel

Posted: March 3rd, 2017 | Columnists, Featured, Gaslamp Landmarks | 1 Comment

By Sandee Wilhoit | Gaslamp Landmarks As one strolls through the Gaslamp, most notice that although each building has its own unique characteristics, most are basically what can be termed “Victorian.” The exception is the Golden West Hotel. It is devoid of the ornate ornamentation, elaborate stained glass windows and columns, cornices and the turrets […]

The Old Spaghetti Factory

Posted: January 6th, 2017 | Columnists, Featured, Gaslamp Landmarks | No Comments

By Sandee Wilhoit | Gaslamp Landmarks On April 3, 1871, Alonzo Horton sold the southeast corner lot at Fifth Avenue and K Street to W.A Buttrich and G.A. Flower for $1,000. This was an excellent price for a lot only one block from the bay, especially since in the week prior, Horton had sold an […]

From silver screen to sundaes

Posted: December 2nd, 2016 | Columnists, Featured, Gaslamp Landmarks | No Comments

By Sandee Wilhoit | Gaslamp Landmarks Prior to 1904, the property between 643 and 651 Fifth Avenue was nothing more than a series of small wooden buildings housing a shoemaker, a jeweler, and a cigar and cigarette merchant. In 1904, George J. Chambers, father of famed Olympic swimmer Florence Chambers, purchased the property from L.G. Pratt […]

Casa de Tomás-es

Posted: November 4th, 2016 | Columnists, Featured, Gaslamp Landmarks | No Comments

By Sandee Whilhoit | Gaslamp Landmarks The property located on the northwest corner of Fourth and Island avenues was originally sold to Edward J. Smith by Alonzo Horton on April 27, 1870, for the goodly sum of $500 in gold coin. Mr. Horton was able to secure such a high price for his real estate, because […]