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


See inside the magnificent Villa Montezuma Museum. Tours will be on Saturday, October 21, on the half hour from 9:00 a.m. to noon. You can create an account now to be ready to book your tour when registration opens about a month before the event. Go to the City’s event website at When you create an account, put in your info, then add any family members or friends to your account so you can book all of your party into the same tour at the same time. We will post here when the registration is open for October 21.

The museum is a historic site built in 1887 and it is not ADA accessible. There are stairs to enter and exit the museum. The tour will be of the beautiful main level and of the kitchen level (ground level “basement”). No photographs are allowed inside the museum. Please view the lovely 9-minute introductory video about the museum, created by the FOVM and City TV, by clicking on the link above this section. This video will also play at the event in the backyard, but it’s easiest to view from your own computer. Questions about registration? We can help!

October 28, 2017 - ”Permanent Victorians” Walk of Mount Hope Cemetery is No Cost

The FOVM’s annual history walk of Mount Hope Cemetery will take place at 12:30 p.m. on October 28. (The City of San Diego owns the cemetery, so no one can charge for walking through City-owned land.) This 2-hour respectful walk will include slight hills. To RSVP for the walk, send an email to with your name, then name of other friends in your group, and a mobile phone number in case we need to reach you. After the walk, guests are invited back to the Sherman Heights Historic District to see the Dia de los Muertos altars at the Sherman Heights Community Center (including the FOVM’s altar to Jesse Shepard/ Francis Grierson upstairs in the ballroom!).

August 19 and June 24, 2017 - INTERIOR TOURS WERE GREAT!

Thank you to all who experienced the magnificent Villa Montezuma Museum with us. It was lovely to meet so many people and make new friends!


Our dear friend and Board member, Gabe Selak, unexpectedly passed away on April 3, 2017. He was an amazing man and a historian like no other. Our hearts are broken. The San Diego History Center organized a beautiful tribute to Gabe at the Serra Museum. Thank you to all those who have donated to the the FOVM in memory of our beloved friend. Too young, too soon, never to be forgotten.

MARCH 25, 2017 INTERIOR TOURS SOLD OUT! - We had hundreds of people attend! Thank you to the San Diego Architectural Foundation Open House for  letting us share this magnificent historic site with those who love architecture. Thank you to our outstanding docents and volunteers. Thanks to the talented students from the San Diego Mesa College Fashion Design program who shared their “Nifty Fifties!” creations done for Fashion Redux with the San Diego History Center. And thank you to everyone who became a member of the FOVM at the event. Your support of our work means a lot.

If you missed the March interior tour, click on the link in pink above for the Villa Montezuma Introductory Video to view the beautiful 9-minute mini documentary about the museum. Our next free interior tours will be on Saturday, June 24, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. We will post here when registration is open to book a tour.


Our next walking tour of Jesse Shepard’s neighborhood (the Sherman Heights Historic District) will be on Saturday, May 6. Learn about the amazing history and beautiful architecture of San Diego’s largest historic district, with almost 400 contributing structures. Suggested donation: $10. RSVP required to We will confirm your reservation. Meet at the museum at the corner of 20th & K Streets.


More good news: the backyard wooden fence has been replaced! Thank you, Councilman David Alvarez, for including this funding in your budget. Thanks to Park and Recreations staff for monitoring the work. Thanks to Jose Ruiz and Jose Marquez of South Bay Fence for building it!

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 for 2017. 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.

Free Interior Tours Oct. 21
  Registration will be through 
& will open about a month before the tours (we’ll post when open). 
Free “Permanent Victorians” Walk of Mount Hope Cemetery on 
Oct. 28, 12:30 p.m. RSVP to: 


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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