SAN DIEGO — Court will be in session at the Whaley House in Old Town San Diego for the first time in 151 years as the historic property revisits its roots, museum officials said Tuesday.
The city’s second courthouse announced Judge Richard S. Whitney will preside for the special occasion on Tuesday, May 17 at 9 a.m. Proceedings will be open to the public, though seating will be limited due to the courtroom’s capacity.
“Old Town San Diego was the seat of government and justice in the late 1800s before moving to downtown San Diego – then called New Town – in 1872,” manager Victor Santana stated in a press release. “In recognition and celebration of the Whaley House holding court from 1868-1871, this event extends the current San Diego Superior Court to include the Whaley House as a location for official court business for one day.”
The court session at the Whaley House, also dubbed as “the most haunted house in America,” will follow the official court calendar. However, it will begin with welcome remarks recognizing the significance of the one-room courthouse, late pioneer judges and then-landlords, the Whaley family.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to bring history back to life inside one of San Diego’s most historically significant locations,” said David Thornton, who is the general manager of Old Town Trolley Tours, which conduct tours at the museum and grounds. “As the home to the second county courthouse, the Whaley House was witness to trials that helped shape the foundation of this growing town in the late 19th century and this is just another chapter in its rich history.”
All general orders of the Presiding Department of the San Diego Superior Court as well as local and state Rules of Court will apply to the Whaley House, according to museum officials. Courtroom security will be provided by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.