In honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Whaley, the Whaley House Museum in Old Town will celebrate the San Diego pioneer’s birthday.
Whaley, who lived from 1823 to 1890, was a merchant and investor from New York City who arrived in California in 1849 and became an early settler of San Diego two years later. The two-story Greek Revival brick house he built in 1856-57 remains as a representation of his legacy – and a symbol of haunted San Diego.
Anniversary events include a trivia contest on Whaley House social media accounts. And the big celebration follows on Thursday Oct. 5, the day of Whaley’s birth, which will be proclaimed Thomas Whaley Day in the city and county of San Diego. If you happen to share a birthday with him, there will be free admission to the Whaley House Day Tour, available from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“Thomas Whaley was an early leader of San Diego’s business community and his home in Old Town is one of the most historic buildings in San Diego County,” said Victor Santana, operations manager at the museum. “We think it is important to honor Thomas Whaley and his contributions to San Diego’s history.”
Museum officials also will unveil a special exhibit, open through Nov. 5. It includes some of Whaley’s personal items, on loan from San Diego County. Cake and refreshments will be served on the Whaley House grounds from 1 to 2 p.m.
As Halloween approaches, There is no better place to celebrate the spooky season than America’s Most Haunted House® The property was already rumored to be haunted before the home was built since the grounds were once an execution yard, and paranormal activity is said to occur in the house to this day. Since the home has received extensive media coverage for its haunted reputation, it’s a popular attraction for visitors.
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Over the years, many descendants of the Whaley family lived and died in the house, including Anna and a few of the children, Thomas Jr., Violet and Francis. Although the Whaley family’s unfortunate past plays a key role in the home’s chilling history, many believed it was destined to be haunted before construction even began. The eerie legacy of the Whaley House continued to grow as the family was struck with tragic deaths, as well as paranormal and spiritual encounters that many still discover today.
The Whaley House Museum is open daily with self-guided tours assisted by docents. In the evening, for those brave of heart, you can take their world-famous haunted tour. The guided evening tour is fully narrated, exploring the home’s dark past and spine-tingling cases of inexplicable paranormal events.
For those feeling extra fearless, there is a special “after-hours paranormal investigation” experience that starts at 10:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and comes with the use of “ghost hunting equipment” such as thermal cameras and EMF meters. Join the FUN for a spine-tingling evening unlike any other as you connect with the “other-side”.
1. While visiting the Whaley House, experience the history of early San Diego at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Old Town features acres of Mexican heritage, historical sites, colorful shops, eclectic restaurants, a theater and tons more to explore. The park is a short walk from the Whaley House and offers FREE parking.
2. Old Town Trolley Tours is great way to experience the Whaley House other FUN museums all over San Diego. You can hop on and off with stops at the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, the Whaley House Museum, Junipero Serra Museum Presidio Park, Maritime Museum of San Diego, USS Midway Museum, Coronado Historical Association, San Diego Chinese Historical Society & Museum and the 17 museums in Balboa Park. Find out why they were voted “Best Way to See the City” and get your tickets at https://www.trolleytours.com/san-diego/hop-on-hop-off.
3. Day tours at the Whaley House Museum is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis during our daytime tours. Evening tours and the Paranormal Investigation experience require reservations.
4. You can find more helpful tips at the museum’ FAQ page here