The Winchester Mystery House Hits the Big ScreenVictorian Staircase, San Francisco
Photo: Margot Hartford © 2016 Houzz
What Houzz contributors are saying:
Bizarre Stairways and Other OdditiesCertainly, the house has peculiarities. Why does this staircase lead to the ceiling? Some say that Winchester was trying to thwart evil spirits. But there are more down-to-earth reasons.The San Francisco earthquake inflicted massive damage to Winchester’s home. The tower collapsed, taking with it the top three floors. Rather than rebuild, she ordered the debris removed, and sealed off open chimneys, staircases and porches. According to Fred Marriott, her niece’s husband, she was embarrassed that her building directives didn’t stand up to the quake.Although legend has it that building on the house continued nonstop for 38 years, Winchester moved to a new home in Atherton, about 20 miles northwest, after the earthquake. By this time she was approaching 70, in an era when an American woman’s life expectancy was about 49. She took up projects at her other properties on the San Francisco Peninsula and carried out only maintenance work in San Jose.