A Tour of San Diego’s Victorian Architectural Landmarks

Inside the Britt Scripps House
Inside the Britt Scripps House | © JDHRosewater, MLS / Flickr
Juliet Bennett Rylah

San Diego’s Victorian architecture offers a chance to view the ornate style made popular in the late 19th century. Some of the best examples include those in Heritage Park, where six Victorian homes were moved and relocated for public viewing, and the magnificent Hotel del Coronado, a wooden Victorian beach resort known for attracting celebrities, presidents, and royalty. Here are six of San Diego’s key Victorian landmarks.

The Britt Scripps Inn

The Britt Scripps Inn

The Britt Scripps Inn

E. Britt originally built the Britt Scripps Inn in 1887. Newspaper publisher E.W. Scripps purchased the house a decade later, and it remained in the family for several decades. It is now a hotel with nine total rooms, each offering its own unique take on the Victorian aesthetic. Eight of the rooms are in the main house, while the ninth offers the privacy of the home’s carriage house.
Britt Scripps Inn, 406 W Maple Street, San Diego, CA, USA, +1 619 230 1991

Villa Montezuma


Villa Montezuma
©Allan Ferguson/Flickr
Villa Montezuma is a Sherman Heights Victorian house built by Matthew Sherman in 1887 for Jesse Shepard (also known as Francis Grierson), a spiritualist musician and writer. The city currently owns this structure, which is considered a historic landmark. It occasionally opens to the public for free tours.

Hotel del Coronado


Hotel del Coronado
©Rennett Stowe/Flickr
This Victorian resort opened in 1888 and is still operational as a luxury hotel today. It boasts 680 rooms plus a long list of famous guests, including movie stars, authors, musicians, and politicians.

The Busyhead House

Park, Synagogue

The Busyhead House
©Chuck Berridge/Flickr
This home, built in 1887 for Edward Wilkerson Busyhead, a San Diego lawman who served as sheriff and police chief, stands in Heritage County Park, an eight-acre park that features six restored Victorian homes as well as The Temple Beth Israel, San Diego’s first synagogue. Though it features a restored exterior, this house is not open to the public.

The Sherman-Gilbert House

Park, Synagogue

Nelson Comstock and Carl Trotsche built the Sherman-Gilbert House for John Sherman in 1887. And yes, he was related to General Sherman—the pair were cousins. This house has the honor of being the first home to be restored and moved to Heritage Park. Like the Busyhead House, this house is not open to the public.

The Timken House

Architects Comstock and Trotsche also designed the Timken House, built in 1888 and first owned by carriage maker Henry Timken. Though the Timken family name is associated with The Timken Museum, which hosts a collection of fine art, the Timken House itself has been a private residence since the 1960s.
The Timken House, 2508 First Avenue, San Diego, CA, USA

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