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

2018 Interior Tour Schedule - Tour of the Villa Montezuma Museum on Saturday August 18, 2018

Can’t wait to see inside? We can’t wait to take you! Interior tours in 2018 will be on August 18 and October 20. Groups are welcome and encouraged.

Registration is NOW OPEN on the City’s event website ( for the August 18 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!

November 5, 2017 - Fallback Festival in the Gaslamp Shared Our Victorian History

The FOVM was delighted to once again share the Villa’s history at the Fallback Festival for our young history fans! We look forward to taking all through the museum in March 2018.

October 28, 2017 - ”Permanent Victorians” Walk of Mount Hope Cemetery was FULL

The FOVM’s annual history walk of Mount Hope Cemetery was a 2-hour respectful walk through San Diego’s past. Thank you to all who walked with us and who visited our altar to Jesse Shepard/Francis Grierson at the Sherman Heights Community Center during Dia de los Muertos.  This year we also honored FOVM members who passed away, including our friends Gabe Selak, Sherri Grelle, and Doris Brygier. Our relationships with those we love continue to provide support, even if they are no longer with us on this earth. Thanks to all new members.

October 21, 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. 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 August 18!
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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