The big attraction in San Jose is the Winchester Mystery House. Sarah Winchester was the widow of the man who made his fortune in Winchester guns. When he died at 43, he left a fortune worth $2 billion in today’s dollars. Sarah was told by a psychic to build a house, and she did, with hammers working 24 hours a day for 38 years. There are staircases that lead to nowhere, cupboards and doors that open to a wall. In all, there are 160 rooms…some small sitting rooms, others larger, such as bedrooms and a ballroom. It is bizarre to be inside and see the building madness. Sarah had an obsession with spider webs and the number 13, which is reflected in the windows and even the closets….exactly 13 hooks for coats! She ordered a chandelier for the ballroom from Germany, but it arrived with “only” 12 light sconces, so she added another. There were approximately 50 servants in the house…supporting only her. She died in 1922, and the house was purchased for today’s equivalent of about $150,000 by the family who still owns it today. Many of the house’s secrets, and explanations for why the house looks as it does, died with her.
Here are several shots of the outside features of the house (no photos allowed inside), along with some of the garden roses. After that, we took a walk through downtown San Jose, which is very pretty, and shown in the last two photos.