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1880s. Originally located on 11th and D Streets and now serving as law offices today, the building was relocated to Island Street in 1913.


The Sheldon House is an exceptional example of the flamboyant Queen Anne style, of which there are few equals of this caliber in all of San Diego. Character defining details on the three-level wood frame structure include an irregular footprint and asymmetrical façade, multiple steeply-pitched gabled roofs, dormers, a prominent wrap-around corner front entry porch, tall vertical bay windows, and abundant decoration in the use of elaborate cutwork shingles, spindle work, ironwork and other typical architectural devices used during the era to create texture and avoid a smooth-walled appearance. Extravagant for even a Victorian home, every window throughout the entire house is crowned with original stained glass.


Sadly, Dr. Sheldon, the original owner, had little time to enjoy the stately mansion he built for his sizeable family of nine children. He died shortly after its completion, and his funeral was the first event ever to be held there. As the story goes, the Sheldons had embarked on a pleasure cruise down the coast of Mexico in celebration of their beautiful new house. Aboard the ship, the family met a young couple on their honeymoon that was sleeping on deck because they were too poor to afford a stateroom. Known for his kind and noble disposition, Dr. Sheldon did not think it was right for the newlyweds to sleep outdoors. He thoughtfully gave them his room, but a storm overtook the vessel and he ended up developing pneumonia and dying as a result of staying out all night in the wind and rain. The grieving Mrs. Sheldon, left without the means to support herself and her large brood upon their return to San Diego, converted their beautiful brand new home into a boarding house. Her desperate venture turned into a lucrative business, however, and she moved the building to its present location in 1913 in order to use her profits to construct a new home on the land originally chosen by her deceased husband.


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