Know about The Winchester Mystery House – Haunted House: The Winchester Mystery House is an architectural marvel and historical treasure in San Jose, California. It was once the home of Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, the widow of William Wirt Winchester and heiress to a large part of the Winchester® Repeating Arms wealth.
Sarah’s daughter died when she was a baby from an illness, and her husband died of cancer a few years later.
Know about The Winchester Mystery House – Haunted House
THE MOVE WESTWARD
Sarah left New Haven, CT, soon after her husband died and went to San Jose, CA, in the west. There, she bought an eight-room farmhouse and started what can only be called the world’s longest home makeover. She didn’t stop until Sarah died on September 5, 1922.
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 it is a secret what was left. Even before she died, there were reports that she was building a “mystery house” because she was a strange and rich woman. Was it a psychic who told her to build this house? Was she haunted by the ghosts of those killed by the “Gun that Won the West”?
Did building really never stop? Why did a well-educated socialite cut herself off from the rest of the world and spend almost all of her time making the most beautiful and strange house in the world?
AHEAD OF HER TIME
Sarah Winchester was a strong, independent, and brave woman whose fame goes on. And the house she built is famous all over the world, both for its strange design features and innovations (many of which were ahead of their time) and for the ghosts who are said to live there.
Since the doors opened on June 30, 1923, over 12 million people have come to the Winchester Mystery House to learn about these and other secrets. Will you be able to figure out what’s going on?
THE SARAH WINCHESTER STORY
William Wirt Winchester born in Baltimore, MD. The only son of Oliver Winchester.
Sarah Lockwood Pardee (Winchester) is born in New Haven, Connecticut.
Sarah marries William Winchester, heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, on September 30, 1862
Their only child Annie Pardee Winchester is born on July 12, 1866. Tragically, the child dies a mere five-and-a-half weeks after her birth, from marasmus
The Winchester rifle Model 73, known as “The Gun that Won the West,” is released
Oliver Winchester dies, leaving the succession of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company to his only surviving son, who is already seriously ill with the disease that will shortly take his life.
Only three months after Oliver’s death, his son William Winchester dies of tuberculosis at the age of 43. Sarah Winchester inherits William’s vast fortune, reportedly $20 million dollars plus nearly 50% of the Winchester Repeating Arms stock.
Sarah Winchester arrives in California
Sarah Winchester purchases a two-story farmhouse near San Jose, California, that will soon grow into her beloved Llanada Villa, later known as the Winchester Mystery House, and begins remodeling.
Marion “Daisy” Merriman–Sarah’s favorite niece–moves to Llanada Villa and lives with her Aunt Sarah for the next 15 years.
1890 – 1900
The heyday of the mansion’s construction, when it rises from a small farmhouse to a 7-story Victorian giant.
Daisy Merriman marries Frederick Marriott, Jr. and leaves Llanada Villa.
Great San Francisco earthquake damages the mansion–the 7-story tower and most of the fourth floor are later demolished.
Sarah purchases a second home in Atherton, where she can be closer to her sister Isabelle and her niece Daisy. Sarah spends a great deal of time here until her death.
September 5, 1922 Sarah Winchester passes away at Llanada Villa. Thirty-six years of construction ceases at the news of Mrs. Winchester’s death.
Llanada Villa is sold. Daisy Marriott, Sarah’s niece, inherits $3,000 from her aunt, the contents and personal possessions from both Sarah’s homes, and the income from a $200,000 trust fund for the remainder of her life.
THE “MYSTERY HOUSE”
December 15, 1922: The auction sale of Llanada Villa and it’s surrounding acreage is finalized. This property is further divided and sold
April 1923 – John and Mayme Brown lease Llanda Villa and its remaining grounds and move their family onto the estate. They plan to create a park featuring “Backety-Back Railway,” one of the earliest known wooden Roller-Coasters, designed and initially built by John at an amusement park in Canada.
Due to local restrictions, and overwhelming public interest in the house, they shift their focus to opening the house to the public and the roller coaster is never built.
The Mansion is opened for public tours. Mayme Brown is the first tour guide. Sarah Winchester’s old gardens become “Winchester Park” where families can come and picnic and enjoy themselves.
Famed magician Harry Houdini visits the mansion on Halloween night, seeking to debunk the paranormal stories. He leaves with more questions than answers, and famously referred to it as “The Mystery House.”
House is officially marketed as the Winchester Mystery House. Postcards are created by Frasher Fotos.
The original water tank on top of the tank house burns, damages the tank house as well.
John H. Brown dies in June 1945. His wife and two daughters continue to run daily tours and operations of the house.
Mayme Brown dies in December 1951.
In honor of Sarah Winchester and her home, Santa Clara-Los Gatos Road is renamed “Winchester Boulevard.”
“Winchester Park” closes and Century Theatres are built.
Winchester Wax Museum Opens.
Winchester Mystery House is incorporated. It’s mission is to continue to preserve Sarah Winchester’s home and gardens, making them accessible to future generations.
Restoration of the Mansion and Victorian Gardens begins, and several rooms are furnished. A new Gift shop is opened and Guided Garden Tours begin.
Winchester Mystery House is granted state historic landmark status.
Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
First flashlight tours are given. The Wax Museum closes to make way for a new cafe and conference room
The old “Well House” is moved 100 feet to the west, and a spacious new Central Courtyard is created.
“Behind the Scenes” tour is created, taking guests through the old Stables and into the oldest basement.
The Mansion is named a San Jose City landmark.
The classical statue of the goddess Hebe –one of a pair that flanked the Mansion entrance in Sarah Winchester’s time–is repaired and returned to its proper place in the gardens after a 60-year absence.
The Parlor Hallway is restored, using 130-year-old wallpaper from Sarah Winchester’s stockpile.
”Sarah’s Attic” shooting gallery is created in Central Courtyard.
South Twin Dining Room is restored, using 130-year-old wallpaper from Sarah Winchester’s stockpile, as well as new pieces made from molds of the old patterns.
The “Explore More” Tour debuts in May of 2017. Dozens of rooms never before seen by the public are opened, guests are allowed to enter through the front doors of the mansion for the first time.
Filming begins on Winchester movie.
Winchester: the feature film is released starring Helen Mirren as Sarah Winchester
Winchester Mystery House begins Unhinged, the all-new immersive theatrical horror experience.