This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Winchester Mystery House and a coast drive

On day two of our California trip we woke up early, had a quick breakfast and headed to the Winchester Mystery House. It's a 160 room mansion built by the Winchester Rifle heiress, Sarah Winchester. It is very pretty from the outside, but very disturbing inside.
You see, Sarah Winchester, was a tortured soul and she went crazy thinking that spirits told her to continue to build her house around the clock without stopping. She was the widow of William Winchester who invented the Winchester Rifle. When her husband died he had left her twenty million dollars. She also received nearly 50 percent ownership of the Winchester Company giving her an income of about $1,000.00 a day. This amount is roughly equivalent to $21,000 a day now days. All of this gave her a tremendous amount of wealth to fund the construction of her mansion.
Above is the only known picture of Sarah Winchester. Sadly, she believed that the spirits of all the people who perished from Winchester rifles were trying to haunt her, so she sought a psychic who told her that the only way to ward off these evil spirits was for her leave her Connecticut home, move west, build a home for herself and to continue to build onto her house without ceasing. So she moved from New Haven, Connecticut to San Jose, California and she bought an unfinished, eight-room farmhouse. Construction soon began and continued on day and night for thirty-eight years until her death.
Eric and I are waiting to go inside the amazing mansion.
Because she was left with such a large fortune, she was able to afford the best of the best in everything. These beautiful stained glass windows were found in the storeroom after her death. The estimated value of them at the time of her death was in the millions and today the collection is considered priceless.
They also found bolts of this wonderful raised pattern wallpaper.
Here's a beautiful sitting room.
And a cute little breakfast nook.
This was a guest room even though she rarely had guests. The furniture in these rooms is not original, but is of the time period. When Sarah died they said that the house was jam packed with furniture. She left all her possessions to her niece who had all the furnishings removed from the house, a task which took eight truck loads a day for six weeks!
Aren't these spiderweb leaded glass windows beautiful! They are in the upstairs bathroom.
This is Sarah's room.
She had a seance every night and got instructions on how to build the house the next day. She never used blue prints. The house was made with many confusing and quirky things to confuse the spirits. Here is the infamous staircase that leads to nowhere.
She often did things that made no sense at all. She had this beautiful one million dollar Tiffany window placed on a northern wall INSIDE the house so that the sun never ever shone upon it. On the wall to the left of this picture at the head of the stairs getting full attention was a cheap $2.00 plain window.
There were many beautiful things like these gorgeous mahogany stairs and the beautiful light fixture.
Another guest room.
Grayson and Hayden looking out from one of the many balconies.
Eric looking over the grounds. Winchester's property was about 162 acres at one time, but now the estate is just 4.5 acres.
The rooftops are so beautiful.
She was not the best at home design, but she did have good taste in her furnishings and she had some smart, inventive ideas such as this laundry room with three sinks that had a washboard built right into the porcelain sides of each sink.
She had six kitchens in the house! Here's one of them.
She invented these sideboards on each side of the sink that raise up and down.
Sarah did not trust any of her servants, so she had the carpenters install windows over the kitchen so she could spy on them. This window is looking right down into one of the kitchens. She had a very high turnover rate with her employees; she would fire people at the drop of a hat if they questioned her at all or if she thought they were talking about her.
I love these leaded glass doors that open to one of the many parlors.
This is the new banquet room she was building at the time of her death. It's sad to think that she was building this big beautiful party room, but she had no friends or family that would enjoy it.
We decided to pay the extra money to get the "behind the scenes" tour. We had to put on hardhats and we got to see the out buildings and the cellar.
We saw the stables where the horses were kept.
We also saw the basement of the house.
Hayden in the basement.
Checking out the coal furnace.
More views of the basement.
Here's a side view of the home. I love all the victorian details and the gorgeous landscaping.
Eric, Grayson and Hayden in the garden shed.
Eric and I in front of the mansion. The gardens are beautiful.
The Winchester House has 160 rooms, with a total of more than 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 52 skylights, 47 fireplaces, 40 bedrooms, 40 staircases, 6 kitchens and 3 elevators. It is beautiful, but upsetting at the same time. It is really sad to me that she was so lost and scared. I wished that she would have found Jesus, then perhaps she would have peace and joy in her life.
Well, our tour of the house is over, time to hit the road again!
Our next destination is San Simeon and we decided to take Highway 1 also known as the Pacific Coast Highway. The scenary was absolutely breathtaking!
Eric and I at a rest stop right on the California coast.
Grayson and Hayden.
It was so pretty and also very windy!
It's a narrow, winding road.
But oh so beautiful! It was a lovely drive.
We stopped at Big Sur and had lunch at this cute restaurant.
Finally, we made it to our hotel. We stayed at The Morgan Hotel.
It was another beautiful hotel that we got at a bargain price on Expedia.
Here's Hayden looking at the pool. We walked down the street and had a lovely authentic mexican dinner, which was delicious and then we just hung out and relaxed in the room. Tomorrow is another big day!
We got up early and checked out of the hotel and headed to our next destination which is the Hearst Castle!

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. " Psalm 19:14

Hugs, Sharon


gin said...

oh, I loved the tour. that Winchester House has an amazing story. I love touring mansions and castles and everything in between!! I'll catch up with you tomorrow for day 3.

Amy said...

Wow! That is scary that Sarah messed around with all that spirit stuff. That is some scary stuff. However, that is a beautiful home. The outside is GORGEOUS! Next time we are in San Jose, we will have to stop by there. We have a friend who is a pastor there and have been to visit once. Ready to go back...I just love California.

Mardell said...

I have never heard of the Winchester House. WOW! It is just so hard to fathom. She was certainly an "odd" one! The house is gorgeous. Hard to imagine working for 38 straight years on it. And the stained glass window that doesn't see light? What was she thinking? Thanks so much for the tour Sharon. So glad they allowed you to take pictures. :o)

And I might add, that you look pretty savvy in that hard hat! ♥


grey like snuffie said...

I've seen the Hearst Castle...but now I want to head out to see the Winchester Mystery House. That is a sad story. I would LOVE to see all the stained glass.

Joy said...

Amazing place, I wonder if that is where Stephen King
got his idea for that Rose Red movie of his...
Hope you have a great time.

Linda said...

Hi Sharon, I'm so happy to see you are back. Love your new blog!

Isn't the Winchester a wonder? You were just about 100 or so miles from where I live. I enjoyed all your travel pics and I had fun catching on all the family happenings. How neat to re-connect with your childhood friend and your Daddy's eggs do look delish.

Hope you enjoyed the castle....hugs, Linda

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