Eight Years

The Villa Montezuma was closed without notice in February of 2006. Eight years ago, supporters from all over the world were surprised to learn that the Villa Montezuma House Museum had been closed, indefinitely.

Owned by the citizens of the City of San Diego, the organization that had an agreement to operate the house museum upheld this agreement for more than 30 years. Due to restrictive hours, waning attendance and financial deficits the house museum was closed without notice. Quoted as saying that they could not manage safety and maintenance issues, the former operator terminated their lease three years after the house was closed to the public.

Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) has offered to operate the Villa Montezuma House Museum and manage the restoration. They have an excellent track record reopening, operating and restoring the Whaley House Museum, the Adobe Chapel in Old Town San Diego, the Marston House Museum & Gardens, the Santa Ysabel General Store and the Warner-Carrillo Ranch House. 

SOHO’s award winning success at the Marston House Museum & Gardens has been remarkable. SOHO made significant improvements and reopened the Marston House within days of signing an operating agreement. Since July 2009, the Marston House is thriving with the stewardship of SOHO.

With so much public support for the Villa Montezuma to be reopened as a house museum and a qualified operator at the ready, why is this San Diego jewel still mothballed and closed to the public after EIGHT years? 

RD Riccoboni donated this beautiful painting of the Villa Montezuma to help support the Marston House at the May Day Celebration silent auction.  Thank you RD Riccaboni for supporting San Diego’s history.

The Villa Montezuma was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 as building #71000183 under the Historic American Building Survey HABS program. Also known as the Jesse Shepard House.


The Villa Montezuma located in San Diego, California.

The Villa Montezuma is a magnificent Queen Anne Victorian mansion located in the Sherman Heights Historic District just off the 5 freeway, near downtown San Diego, California. On the National Register of Historic Places, the Villa Montezuma, aka the Jesse Shepard House, was built in 1887 by master architects Comstock and Trotsche.  Jesse Shepard came to San Diego after touring the royal courts of Europe during his career as a musician. While in San Diego he built the Villa Montezuma and began a new career as an author under the pen name Francis Grierson. The Villa Montezuma house museum is currently CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC with no prospective reopen date.

Save Our Heritage Organisation offers a Petition to the City of San Diego to Operate and Manage the Villa Montezuma House Museum.  Click here for more information and to sign the petition.