In March I accompanied my sister to a Conference for the California Association of Public Cemeteries. The Conference was held in Sacramento and you can read more about the actual conference and costume party they held HERE. But today I want to share with you a side trip my sister and I made to a place we have longed to go to for years! The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California.
If you've ever driven anywhere North in California on Highway 99 or I-5 or Highway 1 or 101 you will see signs for the Winchester Mystery House. Every time we would see one of these signs we would say how much we've always wanted to go there, yet we never had.
San Jose is about 120 miles from Sacramento, so it wasn't just a side trip, we actually took the whole last day with the thought in mind that we were going to make this trek and finally get this out of our system.
The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion that belonged to Sarah Winchester, who was the wife of William Winchester who was the son of Oliver Fisher Winchester who was the manufacturer of the Winchester repeating rifle. Mrs. Winchester was married to William in 1862 and they lived in Connecticut. The couple had one daughter named Annie. Annie unfortunately died in 1866 of a mysterious childhood disease and William died in 1881 of tuberculosis, leaving Sarah alone and in a deep depression.
Legend has it that Sarah sought the guidance of a spiritualist who told her that the reasons for the death of her loved ones and for her being left alone was because of all the spirits that had been killed with the rifles manufactured by the Winchester family. She convinced Sarah that she was next, but that she might be able to appease the spirits by moving west and building a house for them and if the house were to be continuously built then the spirits would leave her alone and she might even have eternal life.
So Mrs. Winchester moved to California and in 1884 she purchased a lot with an unfinished farmhouse about three miles west of San Jose. Building then began and non-stop for the next 38 years! Sarah did not hire an architect to build this house, she was her own architect and that is perhaps why this house has 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens! She had doors that led into ceilings and doors that opened out into nothing. In the very top picture of this mosaic you can see double doors. If you were to open them from the other side and not pay attention you would drop down into nothing!
The tour that we took included the inside of the house, but not the gardens, which was a shame because the gardens were beautiful and I wish we could have gotten photos of them. We did walk around the back of the house after the tour and took photos of the back part which had some pretty gardens, but nothing like what we could see out the windows during the tour in the front of the house.
We had a good time touring the house and hearing more about the history of it. It's out of my system now and while I would never pay to see this again, it was worth it the first time just to know that we did it! Now we just need to visit with World's Largest Ball of Twine and we'll be done!
Just kidding...it's a memory my sister and I will always have and I thank her so much for taking me and I thank her husband for staying home so I could go!
Have you ever visited the Winchester Mystery House? If you would like to go and need information on pricing and directions, or just want to read more about it, please click HERE.
And I'm joining Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.