Sarah Lockwood Winchester was an American heiress who amassed great wealth after the death of her husband, William Wirt Winchester. Her inheritance from his estate included $20 million as well as a 50% holding in the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, which made her one of the wealthiest women in the world at the time. She is best known for using her vast fortune to continue construction on the Winchester mansion in San Jose, California, for 20 years. Popular legends, which began during her lifetime, held that she was convinced she was cursed, and the only way to alleviate it was to add on to her California home. Since her death, the sprawling Winchester Mystery House has become a popular tourist attraction, known for its staircases that lead to nowhere and its many winding corridors.
|Born:||Sarah Lockwood Pardee, 1839, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.|
|Died:||September 5, 1922 (aged 82–83), San Jose, California, U.S.|
|Resting place:||Evergreen Cemetery, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.|
|Known for:||Winchester Mystery House|
About Sarah Winchester
Famous for ordering the construction of a unique California estate known as the Winchester Mystery House, she oversaw four decades of continuous additions to the mansion because she believed her family was cursed and took the word of a psychic medium that tragedy would ensue if the labyrinthine home was ever completed.
Upon her husband’s death of tuberculosis in early 1881, she was given ownership of half of the Winchester Company, meaning that she lived on approximately one thousand dollars per day (which, in 2015, would equal close to 25,000 dollars a day).
Although Winchester’s biographer disputes the claim, legend holds it that, due to Winchester’s obsession with the number thirteen, many architectural features of the Winchester Mystery House (such as bathrooms, windows, etc.) were constructed in numbers or clusters of thirteen.
Born on an uncertain date in March of 1839 to Leonard Pardee and Sarah Burn, Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester spent her youth in Newhaven, Connecticut. In 1862, she married Winchester Repeating Arms Company heir William Wirt Winchester; tragically, the couple’s one child, Annie Pardee Winchester, died in infancy.
Like Winchester’s father-in-law, Oliver Winchester, railway and shipping mogul Cornelius Vanderbilt amassed enough wealth through his business pursuits to fund his descendants’ construction of magnificent estates that later served as tourist attractions.
Information related to Sarah Winchester
- http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/ Official website of Winchester Mystery House
- http://www.thetruthaboutsarahwinchester.com/ The Truth About Sarah Winchester
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