THE FRIENDS OF THE VILLA MONTEZUMA WELCOME YOU! We are the nonprofit solely devoted to the magnificent Villa Montezuma Museum. We’re honored to work with the City of San Diego to provide tours of this 1887 treasure.

Click Here for Villa Montezuma Introductory Video by the FOVM and City TV


We can’t wait to take you! Groups are welcome and encouraged, including the special arrangement for the 10:00 group tour with Oasis Learning Center!

Registration is NOW OPEN on the City’s event website ( for the October 20 tours. Set up your “account” and add your family, friends, or group members to that account.

Search for “Villa,” not “Villa Montezuma,” to find the tours. You’ll see the seven guided tours, from 9:00 a.m. through noon. Pick your tour, and add your friends and family before “check out.” The tours will be no cost when you check out. You will be emailed a confirmation. Arrive 15 minutes before your tour time to check in at the City booth in the back yard (bring your confirmation to speed things along). There will be FOVM volunteers outside to help guide you and take you on tour at this City event.

If you don’t register online, you’ll have to fill out the City’s liability waiver form on site. Walk-ups are taken after registered guests.

The museum is a historic site on the National Register of Historic Places. It is not currently ADA accessible. Guests must be able to walk up and down stairs to take the tour. Baby strollers and carts are not allowed inside. If you use a walker you may use that inside. There is no interior photography allowed.

The Friends of the Villa Montezuma are delighted to provide tours at this City of San Diego event. Step back into 1887 Victorian San Diego at the historic Jesse Shepard/“Francis Grierson” House with the Friends of the Villa Montezuma!

September 12, 2018 - “San Diego’s Palace of the Arts: The Magnificent Villa Montezuma,” at the Davis-Horton Museum in the Gaslamp, 7:00 pm

The FOVM President, Louise Torio, will present this hour-long lecture on the Davis-Horton House. Proceeds benefit the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation.

September 29, 2018 - See Jesse Shepard’s Neighborhood on this Walking Tour of the Sherman Heights Historic District, 10:00-noon - RSVP NOW!

Louise Torio will lead this historical and architectural walk of the western side of the historic district. Suggested donation is $15 per adult. Reservations required. RSVP to We will confirm your reservation. Meet in front of the museum at 20th & K Streets. (We will not be going inside the museum.)

October 15, 2018 - Lecture on the Magnificent Villa Montezuma Museum at Oasis Learning Center.

Louise Torio will give this talk on the 15th and then lead a tour of the inside of the museum on October 20 at 10:00. Sign up for this special talk and tour through Oasis.

October 27, 2018 - ”Permanent Victorians” Walk of Mount Hope Cemetery, 12:30 pm - RSVP NOW!

The FOVM’s loves to give our annual history walk of Mount Hope Cemetery. This 2-hour respectful walk through San Diego’s past is no cost because the City of San Diego owns the cemetery and it’s not legal to charge to walk on City land (we have a City permit to do our walk). Donations are gratefully accepted. See the final resting places of the founding citizens of not only San Diego but of California. FOVM Vice President Charles Spratley will lead the tour. His book, “Piercing the Veil: Examining San Diego’s Haunted History,” will also be available for a $15 donation. RSVP with your name, cell phone, and names of any other friends attending with you to We will confirm your reservation.

April 12, 2016 - THANK YOU, Council member David Alvarez and San Diego City Council members, for making April 12 “Friends of the Villa Montezuma Day” in the City of San Diego!

Click on “HONORS” to see more information.

EDUCATIONAL TOURS -  Thanks to the San Diego State University College of Extended Studies Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for asking the FOVM to share the museum with them. We had a great time and look forward to future events together!

Note: at this time, with additional work still to be done at the museum, weddings and other private events cannot be planned. We’ll let you know when this changes.

Does your organization want to contribute to the FOVM’s work?

The Friends of the Villa Montezuma, Inc., is always delighted to work with other organizations that support the FOVM’s important work. If you’d like to fund one of the many small restoration projects (for example, restoration of one of the interior stained glass windows over the doorways) or if you’d like to provide resources during museum tours (for example, volunteers in period costume, historic vehicles for the yard, etc.), send an email to so that we can discuss the possibilities with you!

Museum Location

The Villa is located in the Sherman Heights Historic District of downtown San Diego, CA, at the corner of 20th & K Streets (less than one mile east of the Historic Davis-Horton House in the Gaslamp Quarter).  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.

Interior Tours October 20!
No-cost guided tours are on the half hour from 9:00-noon. Register now to secure your tour time at
See more helpful hints below. Problems registering? Email us at 

Contact us!

Via e-mail:

Via telephone:

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

Via text:


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.)

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