The Winchester House: A 110 Room Tour in 65 minutes

 
Disclosure: I received  complimentary tickets to the Winchester Mystery House,
 in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.


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A few weeks ago enroute from Southern Calfornia, we stopped in San Jose for a few days to visit family.  An added bonus was getting to tour this magnificent mystery house: The Winchester Mansion. It's hard to believe I saw so many rooms in just one hour!


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It was very interesting to say the least. This huge mansion has 160 rooms, of which I saw 110!  If you want more of a behind the scenes tour, then can see all 160 of the rooms.. If you know something about the Winchester rifle, then you may be familiar with Sarah Winchester and the bizzare story surrounding her.

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If you do choose to tour this mystery house, enter at your own risk ! According to some guests, there have been spirt sightings and alleged hauntings. Some have also reported feeling the floor move, getting dizzy in certain rooms, and feeling nauseous. My daughter said she experienced a queezy tummy,and felt like the room was spinning  I guess the ghosts didn't like me. I never felt a thing!


History

In the mid 1800's Sarah married  William Winchester , the son and heir to the Winchester rifle fortune. " The gun that won the west." Not long after, Mrs. Winchester suffered two devastating losses: her child and husband both died. and she fell into a deep depression.

After her husband's death she sought advice from a spiritualist in Boston, close to her home. In this meeting she was told that her family and fortune were being haunted by spirits, and that these spirits were the cause of the death of her loved ones.  The spiritualist advised that she could escape this horrible lot by: moving west and appease the spirits by building a great house for them to dwell.

She was also advised that as long as the construction of the house never stopped, then her life would not be in danger.  Sarah decided she did need a change of scenery, and moved to see her niece in the Santa Clara Valley. 

The Construction of the Mystery Mansion

In 1884 she purchased an unfinished farm house, 3 miles from San Jose. For the next 38 years she kept adding onto the sprawling estate, that we know today as the Winchester Mystery House. Mrs. Winchester hired carpenters to work day and night.

By the early 1900's the large estate had grown into a seven story mansion and 160 acres of farmland. Sarah had all kinds of orchards to help supplement her income.  The construction of the house spread over six acres.

In addition to the 160 rooms, the house has 2000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens.  I never walked so many staircases in all my life1 The way they wind all over the house in different directions, is extremely strange! 

Beautiful and Bizzare

One of the staircases is called  the "switchback staircase." It has seven flights and 44 steps.  It only comes off the ground nine feet, and each step is only two inches high. Also, the stairwells are long and skinny, not a good mix when you are clostephobic like me!

You will certainly get your excercize touring this house. There are miles of hallways and many secret passages.  Legend has it that Mrs. Winchester traversed her house in circles, to confuse the ghosts and spirits that were supposedly following her.

There are several trap doors and staircases leading out to windows that she could escape to, when she wanted.  In the middle of the house is a séance room. Every night she would conduct a séance to get inspiration for her building plans and protection from the bad spirits.

There are many more strange theories and stories about the house and Sarah Winchester, read it all here.


The SFO Quake and the Death of Sarah Winchester

The earthquake of 1906 in San Fransisco, dealt a serious blow to Mrs. Winchester's home. It suffered a lot of damage. The 7 story observation tower tumbled to the ground. After the quake was over, the servants had to use a crowbar to pry Sarah out of her favorite bedroom: The Daisy room in the front of the house.

In later years she suffered greatly from arthritis and a weak heart. Sarah passed away in September of 1922.   She left large sums of cash and trust funds to her sister, nieces, and nephews. Also some was left to her favorite servants.

Her favored niece, Mrs. Marian Merriman, was  heir to all her household goods and furnishings. Merriman quickly auctioned off everything.  Supposedly it took six moving trucks, working for  6 weeks, to get everything cleaned and hauled away.

She left no directions in her will, for the mansion itself and the farm.  They eventually became part of the estate, and were sold by her trustees. Today the mansion is privately owned, and is registered as a California Historical Landmark.

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Travel, travelblogger, mysteryhouse, winchesterhouse, sanjose CA


During the tour of the house, no inside photography was permitted.  I am sharing my photos of the outside, which gives you an idea of the vastness of the estate.  The outside gardens and buildings were all so beautiful to look at.

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travel, travelblogger, winchesterhouse,sanjose, ca

Travel, travelblogger, sanjose, Winchesterhouse, CA

I hope you enjoyed the tour and learned something new. There is so much more to learn about this mysterious house. If you are into history at all, you will enjoy it. I absolutely loved the tour and hope to do the behind the scenes option next time





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Along with a guided tour, there are several activities and events you can participate in throughout the year. There is even a spooky night tour using flashlights, I think I will pass on that one! The gardens and landscaping are something to behold as well.  Everything is so beautiful and ornate.



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Have you visited the Winchester House yet? 


                                               
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36 comments

  1. What a gorgeous property, seriously stunning!

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    1. Thanks for stopping in, yes it is so fabulous, wish I had pics of the inside!

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  2. Omg how strange!!! And fun!! Never heard of this!
    Xx
    Kali
    www.lovelaughexplore.com

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    1. Ha Kali..it is so very strange...the tour was so interesting!

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  3. Beautiful house and gardens. I would have loved taking this tour. Love the history you gave us.

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    1. Hi Candace, I hope you can stop by there sometime..it was the most interesting tour ever!

      Valerie

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  4. What a crazy and cool place! I never heard of it.. and kudos to you for getting in so many rooms! ha!

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    1. Ha Ha Lauren crazy tour for sure...so interesting! It was def a huge corn maze of rooms!

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  5. I felt so enlightened reading about the history and background of Sarah Winchester....this is so interesting!

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    1. Thank you Vet, I am glad you liked it..have a great day and glad you stopped by!

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  6. This house is fascinating! Ironically my Timehop reminded me that I was there 2 years ago today!

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    1. Ha ha that's cool Rachel..it is so neat ! Thank you for visiting have a great weekend coming up!

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  7. Nice review and photos, Valerie! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Dominic, thanks for stopping by, hope you are having a great Seattle Summer!

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  8. Nice review and photos, Valerie! Thanks for sharing.

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  9. What a beautiful place and such an interesting history.

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    1. Thanks for visiting Ashley, it is just gorgeous !

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  10. I've always wanted to visit the Winchester House, I saw it on a mystery tv show a few years ago and was instantly fascinated!

    La Belle Sirene

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    1. IT was was indeed that ,I have wanted to for years, finally made it...hope you get to go~

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  11. Girllll these pics are amazing! You must of had THE best time ever!!! xoxo

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    1. Thank you Ms AD..my fav blogger girl..hope you have a great weekend missy!
      xoxoxo

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  12. This is crazy! Loved your perspective!!!

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    1. Thank you Portia for stopping by! Have a nice weekend in the heat! Ha..

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  13. Regularly checking your house for water stains is extremely important. Once you have positively identified the source of the problem, it can be simple to fix and repair what little damage has already occurred.
    our website

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  14. How nice post about this Winchester house tour! :) Nice photos too.

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    1. Thanks so much Tiiyja!!! It’s a cool place !

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  15. I spent a couple of months in San Jose several years ago and learned about this house! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to actually visit it. :( The Winchester's story has always been so interesting to me! Thank you for this article!

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    1. Me too Erika I was so facinated for years and finally made it !!!

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  16. What a cool looking house! I'll have to check it out if I'm ever near San Jose, California.

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    1. Thanks Joeseph I sure hope you can visit!!!

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  17. This looks like such an interesting place! I love stuff like this, so it'll have to go on my list for when I visit California! xx

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    1. Awesome Holly !! I hope you get to go !!!

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  18. What a gorgeous property, I have never heard of this place before. I would love to visit.

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