• Shelby Schoen

A House with Good Bones and the Ghostly Unknown

Our haunted tour of The Whaley House


It’s the day after Halloween, but we’re still celebrating! When it comes to masquerading as something you’re not, Halloween costumes aren’t the only thing that can do the trick. A good faux finish on a house can dress things up; and in the spirit (get it...spirit) of the holiday, we visited a true haunted house that has some prime examples of the technique.


The Whaley House, located in Old Town, San Diego, is the * * *city’s first two-story brick building, constructed in the 1800’s. It’s a prime example of *Greek revival architecture, which is known for its faux finishes, not to mention the namesake exterior columns.


A faux finish is a painting technique used to imitate real finishes, like marble, wood, or stone.


You can find two specific faux finishes in the Whaley house; marbleizing and faux bois. Marbleizing is used to recreate the look of marble, which can be seen on the walls in the home. *This technique surfaced in Japan during the 12th century. The second technique seen in the house is called faux bois. * * Faux bois literally translates to ‘false wood’ in French. It’s used to replicate the grain of wood, and this technique is seen on the trim and doors.



Some visitors of the Whaley House, which is now a museum, say that the faux finishes are not the only thing you can find haunting the halls of the house. * * *The land was the execution site of the infamous Yankee Jim Robinson, the town thief. Thomas Whaley, the first owner, built his family home on the land, despite the rumors of Yankee Jim’s ghost haunting the grounds. By coincidence or curse, almost every Whaley family member met their tragic and untimely end while at the house.



While we may not have been lucky enough to spot one of the many rumored ghosts while touring the Whaley house, we design nerds got our fix of Greek revival architecture! Tour this special piece of San Diego architectural history for yourself, if you dare!


http://whaleyhouse.org/


* http://suminagashi.com/history/

* * http://www.definingfrance.com/2018/04/29/faux-bois/

* * * The History & Mystery of the Whaley House by Save Our Heritage Organisation


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