I was invited to go on one of the Gaslamp Museum‘s walking tours “Shady Ladies & Hop Heads” where we learned all about the brothels that were once inside the historic buildings in the Gaslamp Quarter! It was a ton of fun, theatrical and even included bar-hopping! You start off at the Gaslmap Museum where you check in:
I am so honored that the Gaslamp Museum is selling my book Abandoned San Diego! Thank you a million times over!
We stopped by the historic Yuma Building which is located on 5th Avenue between Market and G Street. This was one of downtown’s first brick buildings, being built in 1888 for Captain Wilcox. The building was one of the first to be closed during a sweep of the red light district and a round-up of the ladies working the brothels:
The Louis Bank of Commerce was built in 1888 located on 835 5th Avenue is considered the “Jewel of the Gaslamp.” It is San Diego’s first granite building that was first built on the east coast and then shipped around Cape Horn to San Diego. Standing 4 stories high, after originally being a bank, the lower level later opened as an oyster bar, which is said to have been one of Wyatt Earp’s favorite eateries.
The upper floors were known as the Golden Poppy Hotel, which was a well-known brothel run by fortune teller, Madame Cora. Cora was known for parading her women through the streets in the day and handing out colored marbles to potential clients. At night the men would bring their marbles to the brothel and directed to the lady holding the matching color.
We then stopped by the Tipsy Crow. This restaurant sits is inside the oldest structure in the Gaslamp Quarter to be owned continuously by the same family. One of the earliest tenants was a dentist who made fireworks upstairs. One day this led to an explosion and blew away part of the second floor in 1887.
I can’t remember which building this was that we were in but it sure was beautiful!
If you pay close attention to the street curbs, you may be able to find one of the original rings used to tie the horses up!
The Horton Grand Hotel is a restoration of two historic hotels, the Grand Horton and the Brooklyn Kahle Saddlery. The Grand Horton was a luxury hotel with a design based on the Innsbruck Inn in Vienna, Austria. The Grand Horton was part of a building boom following the opening of the city’s first transcontinental railroad connection in 1885. It is in the Italianate Victorian architecture style:
And that is just part of this wonderful tour!