The Gaslamp Museum/William Heath Davis House downtown has been refurbished. The San Diego City Council on February 26 approved $9000 to reimburse the museum for some overdue improvements.
The Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation manages the city-owned facility at 410 Island Avenue. The project's total cost ran about $14,000, with equal amounts of $4500 coming from council districts 2 and 3. The remaining $5000 came from the foundation's reserve fund.
The improvements included replacement of 30-year-old flooring, expanded exhibition wall space, and outdoor spotlights to make the house stand out better at night. Also added was drought-tolerant native vegetation in front of the house and in the connected pocket park.
Built in 1850, the William Heath Davis House is the oldest standing residence in the Gaslamp Quarter. It was originally a saltbox-style prefab home from Portland, Maine, which was shipped around Cape Horn to San Diego. Founding father Alonzo Horton was among its early residents. The house draws about 10,000 visitors a year.
The house is said to be haunted. San Diego Ghost Hunters conducts a monthly two-hour tour and paranormal investigation at the house. It costs $35 and sells out early.
“I've never seen a ghost,” said executive director Bob Marinaccio in an interview. “But I have heard strange noises at night. I do believe there are spirits in the house.” The Biography Channel's My Ghost Story featured the house in a May 2012 episode.
The museum had previously been appropriated $150,000 for capital improvements from the former Centre City Development Corporation, but with the elimination of redevelopment agencies statewide, that funding died on the vine.