2454 Heritage Park Row, San Diego, CA 92110
Reservations: (858) 565-3600, (877) 565-3600
This charming County park is adjacent to Old Town in San Diego, and features several restored Victorian homes and the city’s first synagogue, The Temple Beth Israel. It is a fine example of the Victorian architecture of wealthy San Diego residents in the late 1880s-1890s. The Temple Beth Israel now hosts weddings, receptions and bar mitzvahs. The large lawn remains open to the public and is available for event reservations. NOTE: With the exception of the Senlis Cottage and Temple Beth Israel, the homes have been restored on the exterior, only, and are not open to the public.
On June 29, 2021, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors directed the Department of Parks and Recreation to add overnight accommodations to the park, enhancing and activating this public space. Expected completion is Spring 2024. The project will protect the historic exterior of the Victorian-era homes while retrofitting the interiors. The project will also include outdoor amenities like an amphitheater or outdoor classroom – as determined through the public meeting process. View the recording from the first public meeting where DPR introduced the project, and the project FAQ document. For more information, contact Park Project Manager David Suls at 619-669-5948 or David.Suls@sdcounty.ca.gov.
Park Office/Senlis Cottage (1896)
Nineteenth Century Vernacular style
A modest cottage built for Eugene Senlis, an employee of San Diego Pioneer Horticulturist Kate Sessions. This house, without the amenities of gas, electricity, water, or sewer, is an example of dwellings occupied in the 1880s by working-class people. Park restrooms are located on the north side of the building next to the parking circle. The museum is on the west side of the cottage.
Sherman-Gilbert House (1887)
Stick Eastlake style (City Historic Site #8)
This house was built and first owned by John Sherman, cousin of General William Tecumseh Sherman. The "widow's walk" and circular window are key elements of the first structure moved to Heritage Park in the spring of 1971. From 1892 to 1965, sisters Bess and Gertrude Gilbert, patrons of art and music, brought internationally famous entertainers to receptions in their home. Among the artists were Yehudi Menuhin, Ernestine Schumann-Heink, and Artur Rubinstein. The park office is located on the bottom floor.
Bushyhead House (1887)
Edward Wilkerson Bushyhead, early San Diego Sheriff, Chief of Police, and San Diego Union Newspaper owner, built this house as a rental. The Italianate style combines double doors with glass panels, tall protruding bay windows, regularly spaced brackets, and a low-pitched roof. The Bushyhead House (along with the Christian House and the Burton House) was moved to its Heritage Park location in the summer of 1976. Bushyhead, who was part Cherokee Indian, marched in the "Trail of Tears" during the displacement of the Southeastern tribes in 1838-39.
Christian House (1889)
Queen Anne style
This graceful residence was constructed by Harfield Timberlake Christian, founder of an early San Diego abstract company. It is built in a popular late Victorian design characterized by a variety of chimneys, shingles, a corner tower, and an encircling veranda.
McConaughy House (1887)
Stick Eastlake style
Built in 1887 the house is named for its original owner, John McConaughy. In 1888 Fanny Keating acquired the house and used the home to fulfill her late husband’s wish of creating a hospital. The house had to be remodeled and enlarged before it could be used. The Hospital of the Good Samaritans opened in spring 1889 making it one of the earliest hospitals in San Diego.
Burton House (1893)
Classic Revival style
Pediments and dentil cornices inspired by classic sources mark this house. Henry Guild Burton, retired Army physician, built it during a trend that by the turn of the century began to eliminate decoration.
Temple Beth Israel (1889)
Classic Revival style (City Historic Site #82)
San Diego's first synagogue, constructed by the Congregation Beth Israel, also became temporary quarters for many religious sects before they established churches of their own. The structure reflects the church styles of the late 1800s. The first service was held on September 25, 1889.