Winchester House…Check!

I’m sure everyone has a bucket or life list of some sort. If you don’t, I highly recommend putting one together.  It makes life a little more interesting and if you have a type-A personality like me, checking things of the list is a wonderful feeling. 🙂

Now, being in Northern California, there was already a number of things I should do re: foods, historical places, hikes, etc. but what about Santa Clara?  I stumbled upon a checklist created by one of the community facilitators (like resident assistants) and was mentally going through it.

  • Attend student mass at the Mission Church at 9pm (although I’m not Catholic, attending mass in an old mission was probably the best religious or spiritual experience)
  • Watch the sunrise (not a huge fan of alnighters but for some reason we thought it would be a good idea to pull one in order to watch the sunrise last year)
  • Attend Global Village/Participate in a cultural show (I was in the Hawaiian Club freshman year and successfully danced in Global Village as well as the annual lu’au show)
  • Eat at the Adobe Lodge (This is the nicer place on campus where only professors get to eat…basically upscale cafeteria food)
  • Hang out with a Jesuit (went on an immersion trip with one of the most hilarious and down to earth Jesuits – Father Jack Traecy)
  • Attend a Career Fair
  • Visit the de Sassiet Museum
  • Run the campus loop (many a time, as well as around Santa Clara/San Jose)
  • Become a leader in an existing club (Tri-Club President for the win)
  • Pull and all-nighter (Don’t know why this is necessary but fine…check)
  • Work out in Malley Gym (my home away from home…my happy place)
  • Jump in the Benson Fountain (haha. maybe a few times) 😉
  • Study Abroad (BARCELONA I MISS YOU!)
  • Participate in intramural sports (soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball…)
  • Go on a retreat
  • Explore the Bay Area
  • Support Santa Clara Athletics (um, my job on campus…duh)

So, with that laundry list of items, there was something I did not do, tour the local Winchester Mystery house! So, after my Tuesday final and a couple free workout classes (who doesn’t love the word “free”?), I headed over to see what all the fuss was about.  We weren’t able to take photos of the inside, but have included some of the outside oddities.  Supposedly they were filming a movie in the house, so obviously they had to copyright everything. 

The house was owned by Sarah Winchester, wife and widow of the gun magnate William Winchester.  After the death of Sarah’s daughter and husband, she sought help from a medium to understand why so many terrible things happened to her and why she was so unhappy.  She was advised to pick a home and never finish remodeling it.  So, she moved west to the Santa Clara area and began to build and build and build.  The idea was that if she built enough rooms, she would appease the spirits who had been harmed by the Winchester guns in the past and if she built stairways to nowhere in order to scare off the bad spirits.

IMG_1954Some fun facts about the house:

  • Construction occured 1884-1922 (until Mrs. Winchester’s death)
  • Cost of construction $5,500,000
  • # Doors: 2,000
  • # Rooms: 160 (most rooms with patterns of 13 – whether it’s windows, lights, etc)
  • # Windows: 2,000
  • # Bathrooms: 13
  • # Gallons of Paint needed for Exterior: 20,000

IMG_1960 IMG_1964 IMG_1970The Winchester house was on an orchard and besides the fact that Mrs. Winchester kept an inheritance and daily allowance of about 1,000 or what would be $100,000 today, she maintained a dried fruit business. IMG_1974 IMG_1976My favorite part of the house was definitely the skylights in some of the rooms. That will be one element I will certainly have or build in my future home 🙂

IMG_1962 IMG_1978How would you like to live with this in your room?  One wrong turn and bye-bye.  She created a number of these odd doors and stair-cases to nowhere so that she could lead unhappy spirits in the wrong direction.  The house used to be 7 stories, but after the 1906 earthquake, there was so much damage that the tower (with 3 stories) was leaning with a 45 degree angle and had to be removed. IMG_1980The number 13 was her favorite, as it would be for any abnormal individual interested in spirits and such, but this was created by the gardeners.  The tour guide tried to make us believe that the tree grew like that.  Sorry dude, not happening.

“The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment, it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.”
– Orison Swett Marden

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4 thoughts on “Winchester House…Check!

  1. Man! I’ve lived in Northern California most of my life (and driven to the bay to visit family at least several times a year) and I’ve always seen the signs on I-80 for it, but never been to the Winchester Mystery House. I didn’t know the story behind it! Sounds like a must-see for NorCal residents 🙂

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