Villa Montezuma Introductory Video by the FOVM and City TV (Click above to see the 9-minute introduction to the museum, created by the FOVM and City TV.)

The Friends of the Villa Montezuma, Inc. (FOVM) is a 501-c-3 organization solely devoted to the magnificent Villa Montezuma, San Diego’s amazing Queen Anne Victorian house museum and cultural center. Th e Villa is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is owned by the City of San Diego.

Tours are on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 1:00, 2:15, and 3:30 p.m. (details below).

Cinballera Salon presents Opera at the Villa (“Songs of the Code”) on Monday,  July 15 , 2024, 7:00-9:00 p.m.: The talented artists of Cinballera (who love cinema, ballet and opera) return to the Villa Montezuma for an evening of songs about the Motion Picture Code! What is unique about this event: the singers explain what the song is about, the context of the song in the movie or opera it appeared in, and interesting history and background to make the song understandable to all. No subtitles needed! This is a marvelous introduction to opera for those who want to be in a more intimate setting. Open seating in the gorgeous Music Room is limited to 30 guests. Doors open at 6:45 p.m., performances from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Suggested donation: $25 per person, or $15 for FOVM members. Make your reservation by texting 619-233-8833 and pay in cash at the door. After we pay the pianist the proceeds are shared between the two nonprofit organizations. Bonus: Guests received a voucher to return to see the entire museum and the Marty O exhibit! Free street parking in this residential neighborhood. NOTE: heavy equipment for road work is parked on 20th Street. Please leave a little more time to get parking.

Art Show EXTENDED: “A Splendid Decennium: Victorian to Vanguard, the Art of MartyO” now on view only at the Villa Montezuma Museum through the end of July 2024.

EXTENDED AT THE VILLA MONTEZUMA MUSEUM through late July 2024: From January through April 2024 we were thrilled to have this art experience at both the Villa Montezuma and at the Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House, with beautiful, thought provoking art by internationally acclaimed fiber artist Marty Ornish. This solo retrospective exhibition showcases 10 years of  Marty’s distinctive wearable art, art quilts, and other assemblages. Now the exhibition will continue at the Villa Montezuma through late July, due to popular demand!

What will you see? Stunning wearable art and sculptures made from quilts and other well worn and rescued materials, creatively and imaginatively reused to create works of beauty. There are numerous works throughout the museum. At the Villa Montezuma Museum guests will get both the historic house tour and an understanding of Marty’s “Splendid Decennium” within a one-hour guided tour. Longer group tours can be arranged for groups with special interests in textiles.

Regular admission applies. Please make your tour reservation by texting us at 619-233-8833 to guarantee your tour date and time (so you’re not disappointed if the tour you want is already filled).

See this website for more about MartyO:

Thank you for supporting art, music, and literature at the Villa Montezuma Museum!

50 Years as a Museum: In November 1972 the Villa Montezuma Museum opened to the public. We are honored to share this magnificent museum with you!

Thank You to former State Senator Ben Hueso: Thanks to his leadership, the State of California has allocated $5,000,000 for the restoration of the magnificent Villa Montezuma Museum. The funds will go to the owner of the Villa, the City of San Diego. The FOVM looks forward to working with the City to make the Villa’s exterior gorgeous again. We hope restoration can begin around summer 2024.

VILLA MONTEZUMA MUSEUM TOUR DETAILS: You can see the entire magnificent, mysterious Villa Montezuma Museum! Tours are on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tour times are at 1:00, 2:15, and 3:30 p.m. All tours are guided. Regular admission costs per person:

  1. -Adults: $15

  2. -Active Duty Military, Seniors 65+, and students with ID: $12

  3. -Children 12 and under: free with a paid adult

  4. -Group rates for groups of eight or more adults: $10

School groups: contact us for special education rates

Your admission fee helps us cover the costs of maintenance and create events at the Villa Montezuma Museum!

Reserve your spot now!

1) Please reserve your time slot via texting us at 619-233-8833.

2) Museum location: 1925 K Street, corner of 20th & K, in the Sherman Heights Historic District of San Diego, just east of downtown and the East Village. There is plenty of no-cost parking near the Villa in the neighborhood in the daytime.

3) Please bring cash to pay for your admission. Please, no bills over $20. We don’t take credit cards or other forms of payment.

There is no eating, drinking, or photography/recording allowed inside this historic site. Please, no sharp heels to protect the historic floors. Any strollers or rolling suitcases or large bags of any kind will need to remain in the front lobby.

We’re not haunted, we’re enchanted! We’re a beautiful historic site. We do not do paranormal investigations. We do partner with the Haunted San Diego Tours to share some of the real history of the mysterious Mr. Jesse Shepard!

One Man, Two Names

The Villa Montezuma is the Historic Jesse Shepard/”Francis Grierson” House. It was built in 1887 as the home of world famous pianist, author, and Spiritualist Jesse Shepard. Jesse began a writing career in San Diego and took the pen name “Francis Grierson,” a name that he used in life as well as for his writing. 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. Learn more by scheduling a walking tour for your group of 10 or more guests.

Ongoing Restoration

Thank you to our former State Senator Ben Hueso for getting restoration funding for the City of San Diego in the FY23 State budget. The City hopes to get the State funding to begin restoration in 2024. Your museum admission fee helps the Friends of the Villa Montezuma produce educational events and achieve our maintenance goals.

You’re invited to join the FOVM to make a difference in the Villa’s future.


FOVM, Inc.

657 20th Street

San Diego, CA 92102-2810

PHYSICAL location of the museum (do not mail to the museum):

corner of 20th & K Streets (for GPS, use 1925 K Street)

Sherman Heights Historic District

San Diego, CA 92102

Questions? Text us or call us: 619-233-8833.

MartyO: 10-Year Retrospective 
Tours are at 1:00, 2:15, & 3:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays. $15 adults, $12 seniors, students, military. Cash only. RESERVE via text at 619-233-8833 so you’re not disappointed if the tour is filled. We’ll confirm.
Opera 7/15: “Songs of the Code”! 
Reserve now for the next Cinballera Salon!Text us 619-233-8833 to reserve. Pay at the door. Doors open at 6:45 pm, event 7-9.mailto:FOVM@VillaMontezumaMuseum.orgshapeimage_3_link_0
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“It’s not haunted, it’s  enchanted.”

Books by

Francis Grierson (Jesse Shepard)


Read more about it!Jesse Shepard wrote metaphysical essays and books about people, places, and politics under the name Francis Grierson. His most famous book was a look back at his boyhood growing up on the Illinois prairie, “The Valley of Shadows.”


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: British mystery writer Francis D. Grierson (who wrote from the 1920s to 1940s) is NOT our Francis Grierson. If it has “mystery” in the title, it’s not our guy!