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Photographer's Note

I didn't notice it before posting (!), but I think I oversharpened, as it's a little grainy. This was taken in the evening, just at dusk, so it made for challenging lighting in any case.

The Robinson-Rose house is one of the more well-known structures in Old Town, but, sadly, it isn't an original: the 19th-century structure was demolished around 1900. The present structure was rebuilt by the State Parks Department in 1989, so the one in the photo is a replica, albeit a rather convincing one. The original house was built by James Robinson, originally from Texas, who relocated in 1850 and played a pivotal role in the development of early San Diego. He had a successful law practice, specializing in Mexican land grant litigation in US courts. Robinson also served as district attorney, but he died in 1857, leaving a widow and a 17-year-old son.

It appears, at least according to town gossip, that things were not as idyllic as they may have seemed. Thirty years after his death, it was revealed that Robinson had been married to someone else in Ohio, and was the father of three other children, whom he had abandoned after eloping with 18-year-old Sarah, his second wife, who may not have been his legal spouse, as it is unclear whether Robinson ever divorced his first. The practice was apparently not uncommon in the 19th century. Such was the tangled web he wove that after his death, his estate was evidently so contested and squabbled over that it was not settled until 1913.

Robinson built this magnificent structure on the plaza in 1853. It served both as his office and his residence. It was something of an interesting hybrid structure, with the ground floor consisting of adobe and the upper story of wood framing. Robinson's widow sold the house in 1868 to another San Diego resident, Louis Rose, a German immigrant, for $10,000 in gold. As with so many other Old Town structures, there are reports that the site (as the building isn't the original structure) is haunted: several apparitions have been sighted by employees and visitors, including cloud-like vapors and full-bodied apparitions dressed in 19th-century attire. Apparently, they like to make their presence known by playing with electrical devices, such as the lights, and footsteps can be heard upstairs. Reportedly, some women have reported that their hair has been pulled or played with. Not as active as some other structures, the site does apparently have some paranormal activity associated with it. Stop by and see what you think!

To see more history about this structure, see:

http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/663/files/RobinsonRose_Colored_2016.pdf

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 86 W: 78 N: 924] (1717)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2017-01-00
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2017-06-26 0:19
Viewed: 548
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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 86 W: 78 N: 924] (1717)
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