In 1884, Sarah Winchester, heiress to the titular rifle fortune, purchased a ramshackle farmhouse on 160 acres of farmland and orchards in the Santa Clara Valley. Over the course of 38 years, it’s where she built the Winchester Mystery House, a residential spectacle that draws crowds to this day.
Unfortunately, the sprawling Queen Anne Victorian, like most museums and businesses, has temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We depend on our guests to help us continue her legacy and keep the history and intrigue of the house alive,” Winchester Mystery House General Manager Walter Magnuson said in a statement.
And with that, the Mystery House will offer free virtual tours of the noted abode in lieu of physical tours. The San Jose landmark will offer a 40-minute video tour of the property from now until April 7.
The house comes with 160 rooms spanning 24,000 square feet, including 40 bedrooms, six kitchens, 47 fireplaces, a hydraulic elevator, and an aviary full of tropical birds. Eschewing blueprints, Sarah used made notes and sketches on napkins when planning the architectural marvel.
As Curbed noted of the architectural marvel in 2018, “It’s difficult to apprehend its hugeness when you’re inside, as the space is so compartmentalized and divided,” adding, “the house seems designed to confuse anyone other than its owner; it is a place in which you might lose yourself.”
Ticket holders can keep their tickets as vouchers that can be used in the future, with no blackout dates.