The Winchester Mystery House® is a 160-room, $5,500,000 Victorian mansion that was owned, designed, and built under the direct supervision of Sarah Winchester. Construction began on the house in 1884 and went on 24 hours a day for 38 years until 1922.
Mrs. Winchester had a great deal of money and very few responsibilities. After her husband died, she received an inheritance of about $20,000,000 along with 3000 shares of stock in the Winchester Repeating Arms Company that gave her an income of about $1,000 a day. Mrs. Winchester owned about 139 acres of fruit orchards, which supplemented her already-large income. She kept her staff of 18 domestic servants, 13 carpenters, and 10 gardeners and field hands constantly busy. She had no master plan for a house and according to her carpenters built whenever, wherever, and however she pleased. Mrs. Winchester was deeply distressed by the deaths of her husband and daughter and supposedly consulted a Boston psychic named Adam Cooms. He explained that the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles had sought their revenge by taking the lives of her loved ones. Further, these spirits had placed a curse on her and would haunt her forever. But Mr. Cooms also stated that she could escape the curse and live forever by moving west, buying a house, and continually building on it as the spirits directed. Some say she received construction plans from nightly seances with the spirits. The mansion grew up to its maximum height of seven stories and out to cover four acres. Outlying structures such as a barn and a water tower were incorporated into the house as the building continued. Along with the infamous "Door to Nowhere," "Stairway to the Ceiling," and numerous doors that open to walls, windows in the floor, and other oddities, the mansion today stands at four stories tall, 24,000 square footprint (first floor only), 10,000 window panes, 2000 doors, 160 rooms, 52 skylights, 47 fireplaces, 40 bedrooms, 40 staircases, 13 bathrooms, 6 kitchens, 3 elevators, 2 basements, & 1 shower.
The Winchester House was designated a California Registered Landmark as well as the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural beauty. Guided tours daily, except Christmas Day. Located just one hour south of San Francisco. Please visit www.winchestermysteryhouse.com or call 408-247-2101 for more information.
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