Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Horton House Ledger Collection MS 279
MS 279  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (60.84 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Content

  • Title: Horton House Ledger Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 279
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 6.0 Linear feet (6 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1870-1882
    Abstract: The collection contains six ledgers recording guests and transactions of the Horton House from October 1870 to March 1882.
    creator: Horton House.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    Alonzo Erastus Horton, known as the “Father of San Diego,” was born in Union, Connecticut, on October 24, 1813. Horton moved to Wisconsin in 1836 to improve his health, and began working in the cattle business and as a land speculator. In the mid-1840s, Horton traveled to St. Louis to purchase land warrants which entitled him to 1500 acres of land in Wisconsin. With this land, Horton developed and founded the town of Hortonville. A few years later in 1850, he sold his land and ventured west to California in order to work in the mining industry, though not as a miner. Eventually he settled in San Francisco as a supplier and furniture dealer. When he heard about the climate and valuable harbor in San Diego, Alonzo Horton decided to sell his business and move south in 1867 with his second wife, Sarah Wilson Babe. Beginning shortly after his arrival in San Diego, Horton purchased nearly 1000 acres at auctions from 1867-1869 and successfully established New Town, including Horton’s Addition. He sold or leased lots for the construction of businesses and houses on the land.
    On January 1, 1870, construction began on the lavish Horton House Hotel (where the U.S. Grant Hotel now stands on 4th Ave and Broadway). William W. Bowers, Horton’s brother-in-law, assisted in building the hotel, including its design, erection, and furnishings. In October 1870, the hotel was open for business. Horton House enjoyed visitors from many countries including England, Germany, Holland, Italy, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Australia, and Mexico. Eighty percent of U.S. states are represented in the ledgers, though most of the patrons were from southern California. Well-known guests include T. S. Van Dyke, H. H. Bancroft, Emily Pitts Stevens, the Couts family, and the Estudillo family. Many traveling acts, such as the Two Headed Nightingale Company, the Sherman’s Circus, and various dramatic troupes, lodged at the Horton House. On several occasions, the hotel even housed jurors serving on San Diego County trials. Among the hotel’s various proprietors were A. E. Horton, J. L. Babe, P. A. Sheppard, C. P. Gerichten, W. E. Hadley, and S. W. Craigue. In 1895, U. S. Grant, Jr., purchased the Horton House, and in 1905, Alonzo E. Horton, Ephraim W. Morse, and William W. Bowers removed the first bricks in preparation for the hotel’s deconstruction. U.S. Grant, Jr., built the U.S. Grant Hotel as a memorial to his father, President U.S. Grant, and it opened in 1910. A. E. Horton died in January 1909.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Sandra Kirkwood on January 3, 2013.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

    Preferred Citation

    Horton House Ledger Collection, MS 279, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Covers are cracked and flaking. Some loose pages. (2012)

    Arrangement

    Collection is arranged chronologically.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of five guest ledgers and one transfer ledger (accounting). The guest ledgers detail the date, name, home residence, room number, and arrival for the hotel patrons, and pages are not numbered. The transfer ledger has page numbers and is organized alphabetically. The entries include arrival date, departure date, length of stay, room rate, extra charges, amount of bill, and remarks. The dates for the transfer ledger entries are unclear. The extra charges provide an intriguing insight to hotel life in the late 1800s. The extras covered laundry, medicine, fires, livery, messengers, wine, and more. Horton House enjoyed visitors from many countries including England, Germany, Holland, Italy, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Australia, and Mexico. Eighty percent of U.S. states are represented in the ledgers, though most of the patrons were from southern California. Well-known guests include T. S. Van Dyke, H. H. Bancroft, Emily Pitts Stevens, the Couts family, and the Estudillo family. Many traveling acts, such as the Two Headed Nightingale Company, the Van Amburgh Circus, and various dramatic troupes, lodged at the Horton House. On several occasions, the hotel even housed jurors serving in San Diego County trials.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Babe, J. L.
    Bancroft, Hubert Howe, 1832-1918
    Bowers, William W.
    Craigue, S. W.
    Gerichten, C. P.
    Hadley, W. E.
    Horton House.
    Horton, Alonzo E., 1813-1909
    Sheppard, P. A.
    Stevens, Emily Pitts
    U.S. Grant Hotel (San Diego, Calif.).
    Van Dyke, Theodore Strong, 1842-1923
    Gaslamp Quarter (San Diego, Calif.)
    Hospitality
    Hotels
    San Diego (Calif.)