Winchester House Facts
If you already watched the movie, Winchester, then you have a pretty good idea about the Winchester Mystery House. Voted as one of the most haunted places on earth, the Winchester Mystery House is open to the public since 1923. It gives everyone an opportunity to unravel its mysteries personally. Here are the 50 facts about the Winchester House that will capture your imagination.
- The Winchester Mystery House has 160 bedrooms.
- The mansion has 47 fireplaces and staircases.
- It has 10,000 windows and 2,000 doors.
- The Winchester Mystery House is 2,229 square meters big.
- The construction of the house started in 1884.
- The Winchester Mystery House is in San Jose, California, United States.
- Sarah Winchester’s husband, William Wirt Winchester died of tuberculosis on March 7, 1881, at age 43.
- Sarah’s inheritance included a 50% stake in the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
- Sarah’s net worth back then was $20 million. That’s more than $530 million in today’s money.
- Sarah Winchester used her inheritance to continue the construction of the Winchester mansion.
- William and Sarah’s only child, Annie Pardee Winchester was only 1 month old when she died of marasmus (June 15, 1866 – July 25, 1866).
- Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester bought a farmhouse in 1886, which was remodeled into this mansion ever since.
- Sarah Winchester died in her sleep from heart failure on September 5, 1922.
- Sarah’s niece, Marion Marriott moved in with her aunt and they lived together for 15 years.
- The valuables in Winchester Mystery House were given to Marion. Marion only took what she wanted and auctioned the rest.
- According to popular stories, Sarah Winchester knows to herself that she was cursed.
- After Sarah’s death, her mansion was auctioned to the highest bidder.
- Winchester Investments LLC is the current owner of the mansion.
- Several months after Sarah’s death, the Winchester house was opened to the public. Mayme Brown served as its first tour guide.
- The Winchester Investments LLC represents the descendants of John and Mayme Brown.
The mansion already had "ghosts" since its construction.
Since the start of Winchester House’s construction in 1886, the mansion and property were already linked with ghosts killed by the Winchester rifles.
The mansion's owner is one of the world's richest.
The former owner of the Winchester Mystery House, Sarah Lockwood Winchester earns approximately $1,000 per day. In today’s money, it’s equivalent to $26,000 per day. Sarah Lockwood Winchester is one of the wealthiest women in the world during her lifetime.
A psychic told Sarah to leave her house in New Haven.
After Sarah Winchester’s infant daughter died of an illness and her husband died of tuberculosis, a psychic told Sarah that she must leave her home in New Haven, Connecticut, and travel West.
Sarah Winchester planned to build a house for the ghosts.
Sarah Winchester eventually moved to California after she left Hew Haven. She moved to divert her attention from her depression and to seek a new hobby. However, according to her story, the ghosts continued to hunt her fortune, and the only way to satisfy those spirits is by building them a house.
Sarah did not hire an architect to build the Winchester House.
By 1884, Sarah Winchester bought an unfinished farmhouse in the Santa Clara Valley, California, and started building her house. Carpenters work day and night non-stop until it became a seven-story mansion. Interestingly, Sarah did not hire an architect which led to the mansion’s unique fashion.
The Winchester Mystery House has numerous oddities.
Although Winchester Mystery House may look normal on the outside, its inside had numerous oddities such as windows that are overlooking other rooms, doors and stairs that lead to nowhere, and stairs with odd-sized risers. According to beliefs, these oddities were no accident—they were all Sarah’s personal preference due to her belief in ghosts.
The Winchester Mystery House was originally 7 stories high.
Before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the Winchester Mystery House originally was 7 stories high. Repairs were done immediately although as of today, the mansion only stands now at 4 stories.
Redwood is the predominant material of the mansion.
Sarah Winchester liked the house’s materials made from wood. Thus, redwood is the predominant material of the house. However, Sarah did not appreciate the aesthetics of the house. Hence, she had faux grain and stain applied instead. That’s the reason why almost all the wood in the home is unseen. It took more than 75,000 liters of paint to paint the house.
The mansion survived two earthquakes.
The house has a floating foundation. It is a type of land-based foundation that protects against the settlement of soft soil from seismic activity. Because of this, the Winchester Mystery House survived a total collapse in the 1906 earthquake, including the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
The mansion has 3 elevators.
The Winchester Mystery House has 17 chimneys, 2 basement levels, and 3 elevators.
Most of the house's windows came from The Pacific American Decorative Company.
Most of the house’s stained glass window came from The Pacific American Decorative Company and designed specifically for Sarah’s preference including a “spider web” window. It’s one of her most favorite web designs, and the repetition of the number 13, another personal preference.
Famous designer Louis Tiffany created some of the windows in the mansion.
Other windows of the mansion were designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Louis was an American designer who specialized in decorative arts and best known for his work in stained glass. He designed a window that created a rainbow across the room when the sunlight shone in.
It took 6 trucks and 6 weeks to remove all the valuables in the mansion.
When Sarah Winchester died, all of her valuables were given to her niece. Her niece, Marion Marriott, took everything she wanted and gave some of those possessions to Sarah’s secretary before selling it all in an auction. It took six trucks that worked 8 hours a day in 6 weeks to remove all of those valuables and furniture from the mansion.
Back then, appraisers valued the house as "worthless."
Interestingly, Sarah Winchester did not mention the mansion in her last will and testament. Furthermore, appraisers valued the house as “worthless” because of its damages from the earthquake, the “abstract” nature of its construction, and the unfinished design.
After the owner's death, the mansion's value was only $135,000.
The mansion was sold via auction from local investors but the bid went only over $135,000. John and Mayme Brown rented the mansion for 10 years who later purchased it. By the first quarter of 1923 or less than a year after Sarah’s death, Mayme Brown opened it to the public and served as the first tour guide.
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The mansion had 13 bathrooms with only one shower.
Sarah Winchester spent over $5 million on her mansion. After she died, the house’s starting bid was only $5,000. Thomas Barnett won the bid for exactly $135,531.50. Fascinated with the number 13, she had 13 bathrooms, however, there was only one shower in the whole mansion.
The mansion's construction came from Sarah's beliefs in spirits.
The current owner of the mansion, Winchester Investments LLC continued the unique customs of Sarah Winchester including her beliefs in spirits. Sarah Winchester’s view in spirits massively inspired her as to the way the house should be built.
Tour guides claim that Sarah owns some patents.
Although there are no direct US Patent and Trademark Database for Sarah Winchester, tour guides at the mansion usually make claims of her having some patents on several architectural features of the house.
The Self-Guided Mansion Tour starts at $19.99.
The Self-Guided Mansion Tour of the Winchester Mystery House starts at $39.99 for adults, $32.99 for seniors, and $19.99 for children (ages 6 to 12).
With the Self-Guided Mansion Tour, visitors will be able to experience the house’s mysteries like never before. Each group of visitors will have enough time and space for each room, separated from other visitors. New audio and exhibit signage will unveil Sarah Winchester’s shocking stories while highlighting each detail hidden through her mansion.
The Victorian Candlelight Tour starts at $24.99 for adults.
The Victorian Candlelight Tour starts at $49.99 for adults (ages 13 and up) and $24.99 for children (ages 5 to 12).
The all-new Victorian Candlelight Tour features the unusual and most chilling ghost stories. Today, the basement (which has been off-limits for a long time) is open for visitors to explore. It is a wonderful chance for adventurers to have a glimpse at one of the world’s most “haunted mansions.” For the adventurous, you may even go alone through a self-guided adventure.
You can tour the mansion online.
Don’t have the means to visit the Winchester Mystery House in California? The Winchester Mystery House’s Immersive 360° Tour offers unparalleled access to the most stunning and bizarre Victorian Mansion. Priced at $8.99, this virtual access at 360° is finally open to all who have internet.
The mansion's online tour is worth it.
First introduced on April 22, 2020, due to COVID-19, the Winchester Mystery House Immersive 360 Online Tour enables visitors around the world to freely roam on each level of the mansion from the 4th floor down to the basement. The $8.99 online fee will grant you lifetime access to the Immersive 360 Tour. You may log in, log out, and enjoy the tour experience in perpetuity without a monthly subscription.
The online tour does not have audio at this point in time.
For the Winchester Mystery House Immersive 360 Online Tour, viewers do not need any special hardware to access this tour. Gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, or computers will do including VR headsets, they are completely compatible. If there’s one downside, the online tour does not have audio at this point in time. There are icons throughout the mansion that can be clicked/tapped and these icons will show the information and details about what you are looking at in each room.
Sarah Winchester was ahead of her time.
Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester was ahead of her time in many aspects. As a woman from her generation, she displayed independence, boldness, and courage. Above all, the mansion that she built is world-renowned for its numerous design curiosities and innovations.
The Winchester's house started from an eight-room farmhouse.
When Sarah Winchester bought her house in California in 1866, it was an eight-room house, initially. She then hired a group of carpenters and start expanding the house. Through decades, this big house became an enormously huge mansion. According to her story accounts, Sarah Winchester constructed it out of fear from ghosts rather than wanting to own a mansion.
The construction in Winchester's mansion was round the clock.
The house construction began immediately right after Sarah hired the carpenters. This group of people had a split shift so they could work day and night, seven days a week. Exhausting Winchester House facts!
The Winchester mansion's construction ended right after Sarah's death.
The mansion’s construction has been ongoing consistently for more than three decades. On the 5th of September 1922, Sarah Winchester died of heart failure while sleeping. The carpenters instantly stopped working upon hearing the news, leaving some of the nails protruding from the walls.
The Winchester mansion's design is alike to a maze.
No one knows the exact layout of this extraordinary mansion as Sarah Winchester is the only architect of this house. She may be the only one who knows the real meaning of its layout. When movers came in after she died, one felt confused for the maze-like design of her home including those numerous winding hallways. The other mover told that the mansion was a place “where downstairs leads neither to the cellar nor upstairs to the roof.” Cool Winchester House facts!
Other theories suggest that Sarah Winchester was crazy.
However, historian Janan Boehme points out a different perception stating that Sarah and her husband built their house in New Haven together. Also, “I think Sarah was trying to repeat that experience by doing something they both loved.” Moreover, Boehme also assumes that Sarah was just a good-hearted philanthropist and used her money to provide a livelihood to the San Jose community.
The Winchester Mystery House already had 12 million visitors.
Since the opening to the public of the Winchester Mystery House in the early 1920s, the mansion already drew over 12 million visitors. Today, it’s recognized among the Top Destination by USA Today, Most Mysterious Place on Earth” by MSN, 10 Haunted Place by The Travel, Top Haunted Destination, by Travel Channel, Top 10 Haunted Place by Time Magazine, and Top 10 Best Haunted Destination by USA Today.