I took the following pictures and wrote the text of this article in the 1990s when I lived in Southern California.
–Elisabeth Busch, July 2020
Ye Olde Doll Shoppe was located in the Sherman-Gilbert House, one of the restored Victorian buildings in historic Heritage Park in San Diego. It was built in 1887 by John Sherman, cousin of the famous general. A few years later two sisters, Bess and Gertrude Gilbert, purchased the house and entertained famous musical and artistic guests there for many years. After they passed on, the home lay in disrepair until it was bought by a concerned citizens group around 1970 and restored to its present state. Whatever spirit lurks here must be benign, for customers and staff described a feeling of calm and happiness when they were in the shop. One would think the opposite would occur, with all those doll faces staring out, but apparently this was not the case. Perhaps Bess and Gertrude approve of the doll shop and thus make their presence known.
The widow’s walk on the roof is the only one left in San Diego.