Winchester Mystery House
How did a small farm house in the Santa Clara Valley become a sprawling seven-story mansion with dozens of staircases---some leading nowhere---hundreds of rooms, and thousands of windows? It’s hard to imagine, until you hear the story of Sarah Winchester. She was born into a wealthy New Haven family and, in 1862, married the heir to the considerable (even by today’s standards) Winchester repeating rifle fortune, William Wirt Winchester. Their happy high-society New England life together was cut short by the death of their daughter in 1866. Sarah’s grief never receded; in fact it only deepened, when 15 years later, William died prematurely.
She sought solace in the flourishing spiritualist movement of the late 1800s. Reportedly, she consulted a medium in Boston who declared that her misfortune and distress were the result of being haunted by the spirits of those killed by Winchester weaponry. The remedy? Appease the spirits by moving west, starting fresh, and building anew. Sarah followed this advice, buying property near her niece’s home in Menlo Park, CA, in 1884, and hiring teams of tradesmen to work on it 24/7 for almost 40 years. On various tours of the estate, you can take in the splendor and mystery of the house and gardens while learning all about the eccentric Sarah.
525 S. Winchester Blvd.
- San Jose, California 95128
- 37.31832100, -121.95093500
- Late May--early Sept., daily 9--7 (final tours start at 5 or 7); rest of the yr., daily 9--5 (final tours at 3 or 5).
- Visit Website
- (408) 247-2101