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.) This is a lovely way to see why the FOVM is dedicated to this extraordinarily beautiful historic site!)

The magnificent Villa Montezuma Museum

Welcome from the Friends of the Villa Montezuma, Inc. (FOVM), the nonprofit 501-c-3 organization solely devoted to the magnificent Villa Montezuma. We welcome you to San Diego’s most amazing Queen Anne Victorian house museum and cultural center. The Villa is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is owned by the City of San Diego and is currently open quarterly for free interior tours by the FOVM. 

NEXT TOURS: See inside on October 19, 2019! Registration for the October 19 tours is now FULL. We will take walk-ups, but you’ll need to fill out the City’s liability waiver form at the City booth. On the day of the event please carpool. Check in at the City booth in the back yard (if you registered on the City’s website, bring the email confirmation with you to help City staff). Get to the museum at least 15 minutes before your tour time to check in. It will be crowded but worth every second to see this extraordinary Palace of the Arts! Reminder: there is no eating, drinking, or photography allowed inside the museum.

“Permanent Victorians” Walk of Mount Hope Cemetery: Saturday, October 26, 12:30-2:30 p.m.  Take this insightful, respectful walk of Mount Hope Cemetery to see the final resting places of so many of San Diego’s leading citizens -- and some infamous characters! Guests must be able to walk the gently rolling hills (there are no sidewalks). The City of San Diego owns the cemetery, so no one can charge for a tour. Donations to the FOVM are always gratefully accepted. Space is limited. RSVP to with your name, the names of others attending with you, and your phone number. We’ll confirm your reservation. Location details of where to meet will be provided with your confirmation.

Afterwards, join us back in the Sherman Heights Historic District to see the FOVM’s altar to Jesse Shepard/Francis Grierson along with 20 other altars at the Sherman Heights Community Center. “In Mexico we decorate the graveyard. In Sherman Heights we decorate the neighborhood.” This is a beautiful tradition.

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.

Restoration Thanks to CDBG Funding & the City

In 2015 the restoration of the foundation, roof, and chimneys was completed thanks to a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Because of this federal grant, the museum must be open four times each year at no charge to the public. The FOVM conducts these historic tours on behalf of the City of San Diego, owner of the museum. The FOVM is working with the City of San Diego to restore the museum exterior.

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

The FOVM mailing address:

657 20th Street

San Diego, CA 92102-2810

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

corner of 20th & K Streets

Sherman Heights Historic District

San Diego,  CA 92102

Message/Info Line: 619-255-9367

October 19 Tours are FULL
We want you to see inside on Saturday, October 19. If you haven’t already booked, come as a walk-up (fill out the City’s liability waiver at the City booth in the back yard). If walking up, please come to the EARLIER tours (9:00-10:30) for your best chance to see inside. We’ll get you on the first available tour.
Questions? Text us at 619-233-8833.

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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 under the name Francis Grierson. His only “novel” was a fictionalization of his boyhood growing up on the Illinois prairie, “The Valley of Shadows.” This work is his most famous.


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 1040s) is NOT our Francis Grierson.