Sarah’s Story

It’s A Wonder

The Winchester Mystery House® is an architectural wonder and historic landmark in San Jose, CA that was once the personal residence of Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, the widow of William Wirt Winchester and heiress to a large portion of the Winchester® Repeating Arms fortune.

Tragedy befell Sarah – her infant daughter died of a childhood illness and a few years later her husband was taken from her by tuberculosis.

(Pictured: The oldest known photograph of the house)

Photo Credit: History San Jose

The Move Out West

Shortly after her husband’s death, Sarah left their home in New Haven, CT and moved out west to San Jose, CA.  There, she bought an eight-room farmhouse and began what could only be described as the world’s longest home renovation, stopping only when Sarah passed on September 5, 1922.

(Pictured: Sarah’s workers, Photo Credit: Winchester Mystery House®)

The Move Out West

Shortly after her husband’s death Sarah left their home in New Haven, CT and moved out west to San Jose, CA.  There, she bought an 8 room farmhouse and began what could only be described as the world’s longest home renovation, stopping only when Sarah passed on September 5, 1922.

(pictured: Sarah’s carpenters)

These Are The Facts

From 1886 to 1922 construction seemingly never ceased as the original eight-room farmhouse grew into the world’s most unusual and sprawling mansion, featuring:

  • 24,000 square feet
  • 10,000 windows
  • 2,000 doors
  • 160 rooms
  • 52 skylights
  • 47 stairways and fireplaces
  • 17 chimneys
  • 13 bathrooms
  • 6 kitchens
  • Built at a price tag of the $5 million dollars in 1923 or $71 million today

It’s A Mystery

But what remained is indeed a mystery.   Even before her passing, rumors of a “mystery house” being built by an eccentric and wealthy woman swirled.    Was she instructed to build this home by a psychic? Was she haunted by the ghosts of those felled by the “Gun that Won the West”?  Did construction truly never stop?  What motivated a well-educated socialite to cut herself off from the rest of the world and focus almost solely on building the world’s most beautiful, yet bizarre mansion?

(Pictured: Pre-1906 view of the 7th Story Tower from the south water tower; Photo Credit: Winchester Mystery House®)

It’s A Mystery

But what remained is indeed a mystery.   Even before her passing, rumors of a “mystery house” being built by an eccentric and wealthy woman swirled.    Was she instructed to build this home by a psychic? Was she haunted by the ghosts of those felled by the “Gun that Won the West”?  Did construction truly never stop?  What motivated a well-educated socialite to cut herself off from the rest of the world and focus almost solely on building the world’s most beautiful, yet bizarre mansion?

(pictured: pre-1906 view from the south water tower)

Ahead Of Her Time

Sarah Winchester was a woman of independence, drive, and courage who lives on in legend. And the mansion she built is world renowned as much for the many design curiosities and innovations (many ahead of their time) as it is for the reported paranormal activity that resides within these walls.

These mysteries and more are what has drawn over 12 million guests to visit the Winchester Mystery House® since the doors opened June 30, 1923. Will you be able to unlock the mystery?

(Pictured: One of the rare photos of Sarah Winchester in front of her home)

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