32 Thomas and Anna Whaley had begun a family and eventually had 6 children. Sadly in 1858, arson once again de- stroyed Whaley’s business, and the fam- ily moved to San Francisco for a change of luck and new opportunities. Thomas worked as a U.S. Army Commissary Storekeeper for a short while but by 1867, he was to take charge of three gov- ernment transports with stores at Sitka, Alaska Territory, before the American takeover on October 18. After a major earthquake in San Fran- cisco in May 1868, the Whaley Fam- ily decided to return to their beautiful custom designed home in San Diego. It was at this time that the home became its most active; Whaley partnered with San Diego pioneer Philip Crosthwaite to open the Whaley & Crosthwaite General Store on the first floor and rented the upstairs southwestern portion of the house to a professional theatre group led by Mr. Thomas Tanner, who transformed the living quarters into what is now famously known as San Diego’s first commercial theater. The short-lived Tanner Troupe opened in December 1868 but Mr. Tanner died suddenly and the troupe disbanded. Soon afterwards the County of San Diego leased the theater space for the Board of Supervisors meetings and the former granary for one of San Diego’s earliest courthouses. After the establishment of New Town San Diego in 1868, the seat of govern- ment moved there. However, residents of Old Town resisted this change, even re- fusing to hand over the court records. On the evening of March 31, 1871, County Clerk Chalmers Scott gathered a group of New Towners, rode out to the Whaley House in express wagons, and forcibly removed the records. By 1885, with New Town (today’s Downtown San Diego) firmly estab- lished as the central business area, the Whaleys moved to New Town, where Thomas built a single-story frame home in the popular Queen Anne style. He later opened a real estate office at 5th & G in the First National Bank Building. He retired in 1888 after a long career of en- trepreneurial endeavors, and passed away at the State Street home in December, of 1890 at the age of 67. The great brick home in Old Town was rented out for many years and eventually fell into disrepair until late 1909 when Whaley’s oldest son Francis returned and undertook a renovation of the building. On February 24, 1913, Anna died in the house, followed by Francis on No- vember 19, 1914. Lillian residency Photos by Sande Lollis T Thomas Whaley came to California during the Gold Rush of the 1850s. His business acumen, acquired in part from his education at the Washington Institute, proved beneficial and he was so success- ful that he was able to establish his own store on Montgomery Street in San Fran- cisco and erect a two-story residence near the bay. After an arson-set fire destroyed his buildings in 1851, he relocated to Old Town San Diego upon the advice of Lewis Franklin, a fellow merchant. Whaley set up various businesses and amassed enough money to return to New York in 1853 to marry his sweetheart, Anna Eloise DeLaunay, the daughter of French-born parents. Upon the couple’s return to San Diego, Whaley purchased a lot at the corner of San Diego Avenue and Harney Street, and the following year, built a single- story granary with bricks manufactured in his own brickyard nearby. Whaley then commenced construction of an adjacent two-story brick building in the Greek Revival style which he himself had designed. Upon completion in 1857, the building was acclaimed as the “finest new brick block in Southern California” by the San Diego Herald, and cost $10,000, an impressive sum in the 1850’s. History& Hauntings