Winchester House – 38 year long remodel !

I’d seen signs for the Winchester House on the drive to San Francisco many times.  This time I stopped.

  • 160 rooms
  • 47 fireplaces
  • 10,000 panes of glass
  • 950 doors
  • 600 remodeling phases

Winchester_house_aerial

Wow !   I’ve worked on some long remodels before, but Mrs. Winchester takes the cake !

The Backstory

Sarah married William Wirt Winchester, the heir and President of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.  There was serious money in guns!  After their baby daughter died of a rare disease, Mr. Winchester died of TB.  In search of the reasons for all the bad luck in her life, Sarah sought out a psychic.  Told that the bad luck was due to all the angry souls of the dead from the Winchester guns, the solution was to move west and build a house and never stop building so that the ghosts could never take residence !  What a story !  Well, she believed it and spent the next 38 years building.

The Cash

Luckily, the death of her husband left her well off.

  • She inherited $20 million in 1866 !
  • Owned half the stock in the company giving her $1,000 a day income – today that equals about $30,000
  • She spent $5.5 million fixing up the house – today about $ 75m

The house was 7 stories before the 1906 earthquake – now its 4 stories and she closed off a whole side of the house that had been damaged and left it. Continue reading “Winchester House – 38 year long remodel !”