Winchester Mystery House, San Jose
||San Francisco, CA|
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The Winchester Mystery House looks out of place on a busy, plain street corner in San Jose. It's so beautiful with its lush green lawns and intricate architecture. You can park and take a look without paying to go inside. Or if you like to creepy things, take a tour. The house was built and constantly expanded by Sarah Winchester, the widow of the Winchester gun magnate William Wirt Winchester. When her husband and baby daughter died suddenly she went into shock and consulted a psychic who told her she was being haunted by the many people who had lost their lives by Winchester guns. She was advised to leave the East coast, move west, and build a house without ever stopping construction. She built this mansion in San Jose, with staircases that lead to nowhere and a recurring theme of spider web motifs and the number thirteen (such as chandeliers with thirteen instead of twelve candles). Her wealth from the Winchester company gave her a daily income the equivalent of $21,000 modern dollars. This gave her plenty of money to continually add to her house. The land on which the house was built used to be 162 acres but is now only 4.5 acres.
After looking at the house, walk one block east along Olsen Dr to colorful Santana Row, a European-style development with sunny outdoor cafes, flower baskets galore, and pretty architecture.
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Winchester Mystery House in the early morning.
Winchester Mystery House is on the SW corner of S. Winchester Blvd and Olsen Dr, at 525 S. Winchester Blvd. There is plenty of parking. Tours cost around $30, and $22 for children. Call (408) 247-2101.
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.