Originally featured January 15, 2014 on UC San Diego | Extension
As far as Owen Sutton is concerned, historic preservation keeps him young.
“It’s always a lot of fun restoring old houses,” says Sutton, who has increased his teaching ability by getting two Professional Certificates through UC San Diego Extension — Teaching Adult Learners and Teaching Online. “It’s like the passage of time never happened.”
An historical preservationist and archaeologist, Sutton first earned a degree in Archeology from the University of Memphis .
That was followed some 40 years later by a master’s degree in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Arts and Design (GA), earned in 2009.
“My goal some day is to get my Phd,” he said.
A general contractor, and a member of the Friends of the Villa Montezuma, he’s been one of the driving forces to reopen the Villa Montezuma, a Victorian-style mansion in Sherman Heights built in 1887.
It is scheduled to be reopened for public viewing sometime late this year. Notably, the original home was built for one of San Diego’s most eccentric characters of the day, Jesse Shepard, described as an author, spiritualist and musician.
“We’ve done a lot, but it still needs a lot more work,” said Sutton, who’s also helped restore Balboa Park’s iconic Marston House. “It’s worth every day’s work we put into it.”
Earlier in his career, Sutton became a commercial diver and spent time working underwater off Turkey on an excavation of a 4th century BC Roman shipwreck.
Based in San Diego since 1991, he’s here to stay, much like the buildings he restores.