Next no-cost quarterly tours will be in December (date TBD - will post ASAP when the City confirms)

Villa Montezuma Introductory Video by the FOVM and City TV (click on sentence)

“Permanent Victorians” Mount Hope Cemetery Tour Walk on October 24     (click on sentence)

The City’s “soft” opening in June was a great success, as was the first regularly scheduled free quarterly tour of the museum on September 26. Your support of the Villa Montezuma Museum and the hard work of the Friends of the Villa Montezuma (FOVM) validates all the effort by the FOVM in the past 10 years to get the museum restored and reopened. Thank you to our many volunteers without whom these events would not be possible. Thanks to Charlotte, David, and Judy for dressing in their Victorian and Edwardian finery so guests could see the museum in the context of the era. You looked amazing!

The FOVM is excited to share this most beautiful Queen Anne masterpiece, the home of Jesse Shepard/ “Francis Grierson.” Learn about the man and the museum at the next no-cost quarterly tour (which will possibly be December 12 -- when confirmed by the City, the FOVM will post on this website).

While waiting for the announcement of the date of the next tour, please view the beautiful 9-minute introductory video by clicking on the link above the photo. Let us know if you have any questions. Email us at

“Permanent Victorians” Walking Tour of the Mount Hope Cemetery, October 24, 2015 - no cost!

It’s too much fun! A history walk of the vastly interesting Mount Hope Cemetery right before Halloween! And, because it’s City property, it’s no cost to you (yes, FREE). RSVP to tell us your name, the names of others in your party, and give us a cell phone number to contact you (if you’re running late the day of the event). RSVP to


Thank you to all for your strong support of the Villa Montezuma Museum and the FOVM. What fun it was to take hundreds of people through the mansion on June 27, 2015. Thank you to City of San Diego  Council member David Alvarez, Park and Rec, and City Engineering. Thank you to our elected officials (County Supervisor Greg Cox, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, State Senator Ben Hueso, and Juan Vargas in the House of Representatives) for their support and proclamations honoring the Friends of the Villa’s work to get the Villa restored and reopened. Thanks to our FOVM members and friends who helped guide in Victorian costume, including those who are our supporters at the Victorian Ladies Society and the San Diego Costume Guild. Read more about the City’s “soft” reopening event in the article in the San Diego Union-Tribune here. Be sure to go through the great photos in the photo gallery! See the 9 minute introductory video about the museum (see the link above).

Reopening. It’s what the FOVM has been working on with the City of San Diego for almost the past 10 years. The “soft” reopening put on by the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department was June 27. Additional quarterly tours, free to the public, will happen approximately every three months for the next five years.

The Phase 2 restoration of the foundation, roof, and chimneys is complete and the building is safe and stable. Because the restoration used HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, for the next five years the museum must be open to the public quarterly free of charge. The City has asked the FOVM to help it remain compliant by conducting these quarterly tours. The first tour of this “soft” reopening was on Saturday, June 27, 2015. The next tour of the “soft” reopening has not been set yet, but will probably be in late September 2015.

City of San Diego Councilman David Alvarez spoke, followed by elected officials or their representatives from the County, State, and Federal government. The City premiered a 9-minute film of a tour of the Villa written by the FOVM and filmed by City TV. (Thanks to Shea Johnson and the CityTV team. See them in the photo below.)

Join the Friends of the Villa Montezuma today. We want to operate the museum full time, not just quarterly! Let’s have a full reopening, just just a “soft” reopening! The museum is too beautiful to be open only once per quarter. Questions?

Next Walking Tour of Jesse Shepard’s Neighborhood - the Sherman Heights Historic District - is November 7, 2015

Suggested donation: $10 per adult, 10:00 a.m. departure from the Villa Montezuma Museum. Don’t miss this 2-hour history and architectural tour of San Diego’s larges historic district (almost 400 contributing structures!) Let us know to expect you. RSVP to NOTE: the museum will NOT be open during this walking tour.

SAVE THE DATE: 21st Annual Sherman Heights Dia de los Muertos is October 31, 2015

The Friends of the Villa Montezuma have been proud to honor Jesse Shepard/Francis Grierson with an altar to his memory for every year since the start of the Sherman Heights neighborhood celebration. “In Mexico we decorate the cemetery, but in Sherman Heights we decorate the neighborhood.” See our outside altar on Saturday, October 31, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit the 20+ altars at the Sherman Heights Community Center at 2258 Island Avenue, between 22nd and 24th Streets in Sherman Heights (there is no 23rd Street due to the double block formed by Sherman Elementary). NOTE: the museum will NOT be open during Dia de los Muertos.

Museum Location

The Villa is located in the Sherman Heights Historic District of downtown San Diego, CA, at the corner of 20th & K Streets.  The Sherman Heights Historic District is the largest historic district within San Diego; it has almost 400 contributing historic structures.

FOVM Mailing Address

Please do not mail anything to the physical location of the museum. Send any correspondence to the Friends of the Villa Montezuma, inc. (FOVM) to 657 20th Street, San Diego, CA 92102-2810. The fastest way to reach us: send an e-mail to or send a text to 619-233-8833.

Permanent Victorians walk of Mt. Hope 10/24

Thank you to all who visited the museum on September 24. The FOVM’s next event is the no-cost walking tour to see San Diego’s permanent Victorian residents at Mount Hope Cemetery on Saturday, October 24, at 12:30 pm. RSVP required so we know to expect you. Join us! 


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Contact us!

Via e-mail:

Hear announcements or leave us a message: 619-255-9367

Membership Brochure

Why the “Jesse Shepard/Francis Grierson” House? One man with

two names!

The Villa Montezuma was the home Jesse Shepard. Jesse began a writing career in San Diego and took the pen name “Francis Grierson.” He used this name from that point on in his real life as well as for his essays and metaphysical books.


Modern Mysticism and Other Essays


The Celtic Temperament and Other Essays


The Valley of Shadows: Recollections of the Lincoln Country, 1858-63


Parisian Portraits


La Vie and Les Hommes


The Humour of the Underman


The Invincible Alliance


Illusions and Realities of the War


Abraham Lincoln: The Practical Mystic


Psycho-Phone Messages

(Note: the English mystery writer Francis D. Grierson, writing mostly from the 1920s to the 1940s, is NOT our Francis Grierson of “Valley of Shadows” fame.)