In 2004 we headed out on a trip of the California coast starting in San Francisco and ending in Monterey Bay.  Marisa, Brandon, our niece Kayelee and myself took the Beamer on this journey of discovery.  During the trip we stopped in for the night at a hotel in San Jose, then in the morning went took a tour of the Winchester Mystery House.  Marisa and I have been to this house a few times but it was a first for Brandon and Kayelee.


          This home was built by Sarah Winchester who was the daughter-in-law of the famous inventor of the Winchester rifle.  Construction began on the house in 1884.  She was a very superstitious person.  After the loss of her only child and her husband, it was suggested by a friend that she seek the help of a  Spiritualist medium about her loss.  The medium told her that her husband was there and that there was a curse on the family, and that the souls of all the people killed by the Winchester Rifle were after her and that is why she lost her husband and child.  She was told to sell her home and move towards the sunset, build a home for herself and all of the souls, and that if she continued to build, she would live, stop building and she would die. She sold her home and with great wealth, she moved to this part of the Santa Clara Valley, purchased a small farm house and continued to build onto this house for the rest of her life.  Construction continued 24 hours a day 7 days a week and only stopped after the death of Ms. Winchester.


          Unlike most homes of its era, this 160-room Victorian mansion had modern heating and sewer systems, gas lights that operated by pressing a button, three working elevators, and 47 fireplaces. From rambling roofs and exquisite hand inlaid parquet floors to the gold and silver chandeliers and Tiffany art glass windows, you will be impressed by the staggering amount of creativity, energy, and expense poured into each and every detail.


          As the construction on the house continued, the house grew rapidly.  Rooms were added to rooms and then turned into entire wings, doors were joined to windows, levels turned into towers and peaks and the place eventually grew to a height of seven stories. Inside of the house, three elevators were installed as were 47 fireplaces. There were countless staircases which led nowhere; a blind chimney that stops short of the ceiling; closets that opened to blank walls; trap doors; double-back hallways; skylights that were located one above another; doors that opened to steep drops to the lawn below; and dozens of other oddities. Even all of the stair posts were installed upside-down and many of the bathrooms had glass doors on them.  We were told during the tour that Mrs. Winchester wanted to know what the servants were doing in the kitchen from the floor above, so she had a skylight installed in the kitchen ceiling, but it was too dark in the kitchen, so she had a skylight installed in the walkway above on the 3rd floor which caused a bad glare and she still couldn't see down in the kitchen, but the kitchen workers could see her watching them.

      One of 2 Ballrooms      

          The total number of bedrooms in this house were approximately 40.  Why approximately?  It's because when they took over the home to open it up for tours, it was somewhat damaged by the earthquake of 1906 which destroyed several rooms including 3 entire floors.  The home at one time was 7 stories high, currently it is 4 stories, and there are still to this day some rooms that are closed to the public because they are still unsafe.

      Stairway to nowhere  
  Easy Riser Stairway  

7 steps per flight, 7 flights of stairs to rise 7 feet  -  what a trip

  One of 47 Fireplaces   Another Fireplace   And Another Fireplace  
  Elevator Motor   19th Century Power Panel      
  Items in Storage       Items in Storage