If You're Building a House, Be Careful Where You Site It
General store, ballroom, billiard hall, school, polling place, granary, theater, and courthouse, the Whaley family home was a multi-use space. Busy as he was hosting all these ventures, Thomas Whaley seems not to have given much thought to the poor souls who met their maker on the gallows grounds that preceded his house on its lot in Old Town San Diego. But the condemned weren't keen on being forgotten. Soon after its completion in 1857, the Greek Revival building became home to its first ghost, Yankee Jim Robinson, who was hanged for grand larceny in 1852—an execution Whaley attended. Over the years, a slew of spectres have moved in: a dark woman in full skirts, a long-haired girl, a fox terrier, and—perhaps as penance for his disregard for the dead—Thomas Whaley himself.