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supervising architect for the County Court House and for the new public school buildings in the late 1880s.

Governor Robert Whitney Waterman, 17th Governor

of California, purchased the property from Long for his retirement in January 1891. His residency was brief as he died only a few months later. In 1897 it was bought from Waterman’s heirs by Fred R. Hart, a retired gentleman from Vermont whose daughter Florence married Dr. Albert Gilbert in 1908 and inherited the home upon his death in 1937. Dr. Gilbert was a prominent local dentist and a founder and president of the San Diego County Dental Society. Gilbert’s sisters, Bess and Gertrude, created the prestigious Amphion Club to bring some of the world’s greatest opera singers and musicians to San Diego. Deeply entrenched in local high society, the Gilberts used the First Street mansion to hold many events, parties and meetings. During the first part of the twentieth century, it was a gathering place for some of the most influential people in the entire city.

Built to house the carriages and horses the carriage house associated with the estate was designed to compliment the main residence. The modestly scaled- down utilitarian building has a cottage-like quality but demonstrates typical Victorian design details in its steeply pitched roofs, dominant front-facing gable, decorative cross-gabled top knot, spindle work beneath the gables, and horizontal wood siding. During its restoration, it was moved four feet to the west and four feet to the south in order to gain access to the previously blocked north and west sides. Constructed originally without a foundation, a new foundation had to be built underneath to assist in its preservation and make it suitable for modern adaptive reuse.


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