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William Heath Davis House

This pre-fabricated house built in 1850 by William Heath "Kanaka" Davis Jr., now sitting on its 3rd location, is the oldest building in the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego (New Town). William Heath Davis Jr. was born in 1822 in Honolulu to William Heath Davis Sr and Hannah Holmes. In 1833, he travelled to California to work for his wealthy merchant uncle Nathan Spean, as a clerk in Monterey. 4 years later, he moved to San Francisco, then known as Yerba Buena, where he eventually became a prominent merchant and ship owner, and even one of the wealthiest men in California at a very young age. In 1847, he married Maria de Jesus Estudillo, daughter of Don Joaquin Estudillo, a wealthy ranchero. The ancestry records show that they may have possibly had as many as 7 children, but there is a conflict, as some articles list them having only 3. In 1850, Mr. Davis, with his 4 partners, laid out the city of San Diego and built a large wharf and a warehouse on the 160 acres they had purchased. Due to many factors and economic depression in 1851, the plans fell through. However, Mr. Davis is still considered as one of the founding fathers of San Diego. In 1867, Mr. Alonzo Horton and his wife, Sarah, moved into town and successfully continued the work that Mr. Davis had started. Mr. Horton built a subdivision east of Davis' plot, and due to his success in developing the area, he is also called the "Father of San Diego." The Hortons moved into the William Heath Davis house, where Mr. Davis actually never lived, for a year until their own house was done being built. Before Mr. Davis passed away in 1909 in Hayward, CA, he wrote a memoir called, "60 years in California," that can be found online. The William Heath Davis House has been many things over the years, and seen many owners come and go. It was a hospital for 8 years, ran by Anne Shephard, as well as being an officer's quarters prior to the civil war. Today, the William Heath Davis House is a museum filled with great antiques and some items that belonged to the Hortons, and is operated by the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. It is also part of many tours, historical and ghost, that visit the Gaslamp District. You can join the San Diego Ghost Hunters for a very hands-on investigation once a month inside the William Heath Davis House to see areas of the house the regular tours won't let you see. We conducted an investigation with the SDGH in the William Heath Davis House, and I must say that it is one of the most active places we have been to. Maritza Skandunas and Sandie Wilhoit from SDGH have investigated the William Heath Davis House for years, so they have developed a great relationship with the spirits there and know them very well, as the spirits tell them what they want. Maritza uses a lot of trigger objects, requested by the many children there and other spirits, to get them to communicate. It is truly amazing to watch them interact with the spirits. One of the spirits in the house is Lady in Black, who frequents the upper floor rooms and hallways. She has been seen there since the 1870's. She is a very strong spirit who can drain your energy as you are going upstairs. There is also a German Spy in the attic who stayed in the house at one point. Captain Offer isn't the friendliest spirit, but seems to like people who speak German. A very funny character, who stays in his office upstairs, is called George. He was raised by a German couple since he was 4 and is the longest occupant in the house. He passed away in 1977. He loves trains and likes Maritza to bring him candy. He calls her "silly Maritza" on the Ovilus. In the main parlor, you can find Dr. Stockton, a well know doctor in San Diego, who built a tuberculosis hospital and was the head of the Dr's association. He was the Dr. in the William Heath Davis House during the time it was a hospital. He likes cigars and bourbon, though lately he has been wanting whiskey. He likes to use the dowsing rods, and Maritza gets a lot of hugs from him, as well as the ladies on the tours. There are several kids in the house, and they like to hang out in the kitchen with all the toys Maritza puts out. We had a session in the kitchen using a lollipop, a trick we learned from Scary Mary at the Stanley Hotel, and one of the kids, called Jack, raised the stick up and threw it off the investigators hand completely. We will post a video of it when it becomes available. We were able to catch several EVPs thru out the house. Many footsteps can be heard in the house, and shadows and apparitions have been seen by many. There are even few cat spirits there. Objects move and Captain Offer likes to move furniture in the attic. There are too many spirits there to list here, and new spirits seem to come and go as the SDGH believe that there is a portal in the upstairs room where The Hortons used to stay, and apparently still do. We had a great time with the SDGH and interacting with all the awesome spirits in the William Heath Davis House. If you are ever in San Diego, and like to interact with spirits, this is the place to go. Book a ghost tour/investigation with the SDGH for a fun night. They also do public tours at the Whaley House with the same results.

To see more photos from this location, click on the link below:

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