1. -JAN. 9, 2016 - NEXT FREE TOURS OF THE VILLA MONTEZUMA MUSEUM (registration details to be posted in December when locked in)

  2. -March 5, 2016 - NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED WALKING TOUR OF JESSE SHEPARD’S NEIGHBORHOOD (group tours of 10 or more by appointment during the winter months).

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

NOTE: the museum still needs Phase 3 restoration (exterior painting) and is not yet open regular weekly hours. The museum is open to the public quarterly for no-cost tours (next tour: January 9, 2016). If you’re a teacher with a school or educational group that wishes to tour the museum, email the FOVM to discuss possible special arrangements.


It was wonderful to meet so many families at the the 15th Annual Fall Back Festival, where guest got to step back in time. Over 400 children visited our booth and learned about the Villa. Thank you to all who became members of the FOVM!


The Friends of the Villa Montezuma, Inc. (FOVM) have been celebrating Dia de los Muertos in the Sherman Heights Historic District for 21 years. Thanks to all who visited and became members! Below are FOVM Board members Alessandra Moctezuma, Todd McKerrow, and Barbara Busch in front of the FOVM altar designed by Alessandra.

Villa Montezuma Introductory Video by the FOVM and City TV (Have you viewed this yet? It is a lovely intro to the museum!)

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 be on January 9, 2016 -- when the reservation website is set up by the City, the FOVM will post details on how to register on this home page).

While waiting to see the museum in person, 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


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.

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.

Villa Tours Jan. 9, 2016

Save the date for Saturday, January 9, for the next no-cost quarterly tours of the museum interior. Registration for these tours will be open in mid-December. As soon as that happens, we will post all details here. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the most magnificent Queen Anne Victorian mansion in San Diego! Questions to 


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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.)