Restoration and Upkeep

A Work in Progress...

Restoration and Upkeep

Just like the original construction, restoration and maintenance work at the Winchester Mystery House™ never stops. The actual amount of material required is staggering. For example, its over 20,000 gallons of paint to cover the exterior – and by the time the workers have finished, they have to start all over again!

Continuous work is being done on the massive structure, with carpenters, painters, and gardeners toiling away just as they did during Mrs. Winchester’s day. The sons and grandsons of Mrs. Winchester’s original employees have been some of these workmen!

Since 1973, millions of dollars have been invested to ensure that this unique landmark will be preserved as the premiere showcase of Santa Clara Valley’s gracious past.

The restoration work is very demanding. Each curved shingle has to be hand cut before being nailed down onto a turret. All of the doors and windows have to be specially shaped and angled. “There’s not a square corner in the house,” says one of the craftsmen who has been working on the restoration of the house for over fourteen years.

A single room can take months to be perfectly redone. Often the hardware, Victorian fixtures, moldings and other materials have to be specially ordered or manufactured on the spot to match the originals.

Fortunately, Mrs. Winchester had a substantial supply of replacement materials on hand, such as windows with magnifying glass, priceless Tiffany doors, and rolls of beautiful Lincrusta wall coverings imported from England.

Almost everything will be restored, although you can find spots where the cracked plaster hasn’t been fixed after the 1906 earthquake. This has been left on purpose, like a frozen moment in time, to show people how the house actually looked when Mrs. Winchester lived there.

An ongoing search continues for fine examples of period furnishings, similar to what Mrs. Winchester herself would have used. Her original furnishings were auctioned off after her death and have never been recovered.

The job overseeing the restoration is a painstaking one. The historical accuracy of every project is researched and approved by the Restoration Board of Directors. Winchester Mystery House™ receives no funds from any government agency; the continuous restoration and maintenance programs are funded entirely from tour, café, and gift shop revenues. Since 1973, millions of dollars have been invested to ensure that this unique landmark will be preserved as the premier showcase of the Santa Clara Valley’s gracious past.

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Wander through 110 of the 160 rooms of this Victorian mansion, designed and built by the Winchester Rifle heiress. Tour the estate daily. Keep up to date on all the happenings, worldly and otherwise, only with the exclusive "13th Hour" newsletter.

Sarah often used the most current innovations in her home. For example, the Servant Call System, or "annunciator," allowed Mrs. Winchester to summon a servant from anywhere in the house. A card would drop showing the servant which room she was in so she could easily be found.