on October 17, 2006
A small detour from San Francisco led us to the wonderful city of San Jose. Just a 30-minute drive from downtown San Francisco, the Winchester Mystery House is located just off of several highways.The mansion was built by Sarah Winchester, wife to the famous rifle company owner. This oddity was created by her after her husband died. A fateful trip to a psychic led Sarah to believe that unless she built room to house all of the spirits killed by way of Winchester rifles, she would be haunted for the rest of her life.Sarah then began to build. The building was helter-skelter, 24-hour a day work, and continued until the day she died - 38 years later.With that bit of history out of the way - the mansion is fascinating! All of the television specials in the world could not have properly shown off this beauty. While only part of the original mansion stands (the rest was lost in the 1906 earthquake), what remains is monstrous. Sarah Winchester was a crazy genius, and it shows through in much of the architecture. As an example, the garden room floors slope slightly downward, plus the tiles can be removed so water can be collected and reused elsewhere after the plants have been watered.A lot of the wild building has been showcased again and again, but some of the highlights include the repeated use of the number 13 throughout the house (13 drain holes in the kitchen drains), the "door to nowhere" and the staircase to the ceiling. Winchester also had a custom-created stained glass window that is absolutely stunning, but she continued to build around it, so no light ever shines through the window.Overall, the mansion may be pricey, it is well worth the price. I would also recommend taking the behind the scenes tour as part of the "Grand Mansion" package. It's not worth the cost by itself, but for the extra $5 as the package, go ahead and splurge!Visit the Winchester Mystery House website for directions and details.
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