Judge James W. Robinson (1800-1857) came to San Diego from Texas in the Spring of 1850 and developed a successful law practice, and went on to be a very important force behind the economic development of San Diego. When Judge James W. Robinson died in October, 1857, the local newspaper heralded him as "the most prominent man during the last six years, in every enterprise which relate to our prosperity and advancement."
He suffered with an ailment during the last few years of his life, and experienced some financial difficulties according to his letters he wrote to his brother William, explaining the need for some money that was owed Sarah be sent right away.
After he died in 1857, Robinson's widow, Sarah Robinson sold the abode to Louis Rose, who probably purchased it as a family residence. Fire destroyed the roof in 1874 and the building fell into ruins by the turn-of-the-century, around 1900. Other abodes were built on top of the foundations throughout the years.
Though one cannot forget the great contributions to San Diego, because of the efforts Of Judge Robinson, there were skeletons in Judge James W. Robinson's closet which came rattling out 30 years after his death in 1857. In Ohio, it came out that He was legally married to Mary Isdell, and the father of three children, Albinal Martha, and Robert, whom he completely abandoned in his early adult years, leaving them in dire financial straits, with a heavily mortgaged 221 acre farm, which they had to sell under foreclosure. In 1830, He had gotten a new start by running away and marrying 18 year old Sarah, even leaving this first family out of his final will and testament.
Though despicable, his solution for escaping his unhappy marriage was not unusual in the nineteenth century, because it was virtually impossible to trace a runaway spouse. "Robinson's case seems typical. No family member knew of his whereabouts, until he wrote his brother William in 1840. Husbands seldom pursued divorce because the courts generally awarded them custody of the children."
If it were not for a series of unforeseen events that took place thirty-one years after his death, Robinson's early years might have remained a complete mystery. Though Judge Robinson, had worked hard to keep his whereabouts from his first family, they did get just compensation from estate though in 1888. Sarah had cashed $10,000 in government bonds at the Fourth National Bank of Cincinnati in 1888. An employee alerted the heirs of Robinson's first marriage, who contested the will, dragging Robinson's second family into court.
Though it's unknown for sure who is haunting the place, several entities love the new abode. Because it is an exact copy of Robinson's abode, perhaps Judge Robinson and Sarah have moved back in, reliving all the good times they had together in their beloved house, before the Judge became ill.
Or the entities could be tied to other abodes built on the site, or perhaps entities while alive who occupied the businesses and offices also located in the abode.
Several different apparitions have appeared before park employees and tourists. Some are seen as cloud-like vapors while others look like people, dressed in 18th century attire.
A clear apparition of a man dressed in an 18th century shirt and tie can be seen in one of the upstairs rooms, going about his business when the place is quiet and not open.
The entities who reside here like to play with the electrical conveniences like lights, and enjoy an unauthorized ride up and down the elevator on occasion.
Footsteps made by a large man can be heard upstairs.
Women's hair has been tugged at and played with playfully.