The Whaley House

The Whaley House

My wife loves history and I love weirdness in general, which makes us stop every chance we can at historical landmarks. This, of course, made The Whaley House a perfect opportunity. The Whaley House is a historic landmark located in San Diego, California. It was built in 1857 by Thomas Whaley and his wife Anna, and is considered one of the most haunted houses in America.

The Whaley family lived in the house until the early 1900s. Since then, it has served various purposes, including a courtroom, a general store, and a theater. It was eventually restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1960.

The Whaley House is said to be haunted by several spirits, including the Whaley family, a young girl named Violet who died in the house, and a ghostly dog. Visitors have reported hearing footsteps, seeing apparitions, and feeling cold spots in the house.

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

History of The Whaley House

The Whaley House was built in 1857 by Thomas Whaley, a successful businessman, and his wife Anna. The house was constructed using bricks that were handmade on-site, making it the oldest brick structure in Southern California. It was not only the residence of the Whaley family, but it also served as the courthouse, general store, and theater during its early years.

Over the years, the Whaley House witnessed many significant events in California history. The trials of criminals, the settling of disputes, several natural disasters, including earthquakes and floods, and more.

Thomas Whaley
Thomas Whaley


The Whaley House is one of the most significant landmarks in San Diego and attracts thousands of visitors every year. The house is a window into the past, providing visitors with a glimpse of what life was like in California in the 19th century.


This section is likley just for me as I have become interested in architecture. It’s from some stupid story I’ll never finish writing. Anyhoo, the Whaley House is a Greek Revival, featuring a symmetrical fa├žade, tall columns, and a triangular pediment. The house has two stories, with a central hall running from the front to the back of the house, flanked by rooms on either side. The interior of the house is well-preserved, with many original features, including the staircase, doors, and moldings.

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tours and Events

The Whaley House offers tours and events providing visitors with an opportunity to learn more about it’s history.

The most popular tour is the museum tour, which takes visitors through the various rooms of the house and provides them with insight into the lives of the Whaley family.

The Whaley House also hosts several events throughout the year, including paranormal investigations, ghost tours, and historical reenactments.

The most popular paranormal tour is the nighttime tour, which takes visitors on a journey through the mansion’s dark corridors. The tour guides share stories of the mansion’s haunted history, and visitors can attempt to communicate with the spirits using paranormal investigation equipment.

The Whaley House in San Diego

Tips for Visiting

If you are planning to visit the Whaley House, plan your visit in advance. The house can get busy during peak times. Oh yeah, and wear comfortable shoes. The house has several stairs and uneven surfaces. The Whaley House is a must-visit landmark for anyone interested in history or hauntings.

The Ghosts of Whaley House

Numerous reports of paranormal activity have been documented at the Whaley House over the years. Visitors have reported seeing apparitions, hearing strange noises, and feeling cold spots.

The Whaley House has been featured in numerous TV shows and documentaries, and in 2012 was featured in the movie, The Haunting of Whaley House, although most of the filming took place at Bembridge House in Long Beach.

The Whaley House was built on the site of the former San Diego gallows, used to execute criminals. This fact alone has led many to believe that the Whaley House is haunted by the ghosts of those who were hanged.

The Whaley Family

In 1885, Violet Whaley, Thomas Whaley’s daughter, committed suicide by shooting herself in the chest. Her death is believed to have occurred in the house’s back parlor, which is now known as the “Violet Room.” In addition to Violet’s death, the house was also the site of several deaths due to disease and natural causes.

Many people who have visited the Whaley House claim to have had paranormal experiences. Some have reported hearing strange noises, feeling cold spots, and seeing apparitions.

The most famous ghost at the Whaley House is believed to be the ghost of Yankee Jim Robinson, a thief who was hanged on the gallows before the house was built. Some visitors have reported seeing Robinson’s ghost in the house’s courtroom, where he was tried and convicted.

Despite its popularity as a haunted house, skeptics have questioned the validity of the Whaley House’s ghosts. They argue that the house’s reputation is more a result of clever marketing than actual hauntings. Others have criticized the house’s ghost hunting tours, claiming that they are exploiting the spirits of those who died at the house, I guess kind of like indentured servitude for ghosts. But, if that’s the case, pretty much all homes would be permanently occupied by the dead.

Regardless of whether or not the Whaley House is haunted, it is an important landmark in San Diego’s history. The house was the site of several significant events, including the first commercial theater in San Diego and the first county courthouse. If you like ghosts and general weirdness, consider stopping by. If you like history of small old buildings, you don’t wanna miss it.