Monday, November 21, 2011

Winchester House & Stanford

Sat, Nov. 19th & Sun, Nov. 20th

A few views along the coast from Monterey north to San Francisco on Saturday.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse just south of Half Moon Bay.

Ritz Carlton Resort Hotel and golf course at Half Moon Bay looking north.

Turning around looking south toward more of the golf course. I wonder how many golf balls go in the ocean.

We were sitting in the car at the beach near the Cliff House in San Francisco when this guy plopped down on the hood of our car. It gave us both a start. Then I just hoped he wouldn't poop.

Sunday we went on a tour of the Winchester House in San Jose. Sarah Winchester was married to the second president of the Winchester Repeating Rifle Company. They had only one child who died at six weeks old and her husband died about ten years later. She went into a depression and consulted a psychic who told her she needed to start a project that would never end. So she took the $20 million cash and 3,000 shares of Winchester stock she had inherited and bought a 160 acre farm with an unfinished house. She started adding onto the house and the work continued 24 hours a day for the next 38 years until her death. She believed that she needed to appease the spirits of all the Native Americans who were killed by Winchester rifles. There are 160 rooms. The tour took us thru 110 rooms in 65 minutes walking over a mile. There are 10,000 windows, many stained glass and leaded glass made by Tiffany. One of them cost $1,500 in 1910 (now priceless) and was supposed to create 13 rainbows when the light would shine thru it. Unfortuantely she placed it on a north wall where the sun would never hit it. Then she proceeded to make another addition with a wall right behind the window. Right next to it was a $2.00 window with an elevator shaft right behind it. She was obsessed with the number 13. 13 palm trees lined the entrance to the estate (nine remain). 13 windows in some rooms, 13 steps in some staircases, a chandelier with 12 candles had one added to it to make 13 and 13 bathrooms, but only one shower. She had 30 some bedrooms and slept in a different one every night to confuse the spirits. Every piece that she had custom made for the house, she ordered two or three, in case she ever needed to replace it. So there are store rooms full of stained glass windows, hand crafted wood work, siding, gutters, etc. Next to the sewing room was a room with huge drawers where she stored bolts of fabric. Whenever she saw something she liked, she bought it all up, so no one else would be able to have a dress made out the same fabric as her. She had a seance room that she was the only one ever to enter. She went there for advice on what to add to her house. It had one entrance and three exits, one of which dropped straight down 14 feet to the kitchen sink. There were doors to nowhere, stairways from floor to ceiling and 47 fireplaces, many of which were connected to a chimney that stopped at the ceiling on the third floor and was never completed. One stairway had 2 inch steps with switchbacks of seven flights to get 9 feet up to the next floor. In the 1906 earthquake a seven story tower fell over, the front 30 rooms were damaged and Mrs. Winchester was trapped in one of the bedrooms for several hours before the servants could find her. The $3,000 European Art front doors had just been installed before the earthquake. She and the two men who installed them were the only people to ever use them, as she blocked off the 30 damaged rooms and never used them again. A rumor says that when Pres.Teddy Roosevelt was in San Francisco he stopped by to visit her, as her husband had been in the Rough Riders with him. When he was asked to use the servants entrance, he left in a huff. This shows one of the doorways to nowhere on the second floor with an 8 foot drop to the ground. When she died her niece, who was her personal secretary, inherited the furniture. After taking what she wanted, the rest was sold at auction. It took 8 truck loads a day for 6 and a half weeks to empty the house. The whole thing is just totally bizarre!

In the afternoon we drove to Palo Alto and walked around the Stanford campus. After walking thru the entrance, we walked for about six blocks down this palm-lined street before we even saw a building. There are park-like areas on either side that are used for event parking. The night before had been the big game with Cal, so the reminents of the tail gating were still very evident.

This is Hoover Tower built in honor of Herbert Hoover who was in the first class at Stanton and later became president of the university and the country. Another person who was in the first class, and a friend of Hoover's, was the wife of the man who built Scotty's Castle in Death Valley.

Stanford was built on donations from Leland Stanford and his wife. He was a railroad baron and one of four men who practically owned California back in the day and was also governor.
Last year when we were in Sacramento, we went thru the Governor's Mansion that he lived in.

It is a beautiful campus. I wish we'd had more time to walk around, but it got dark and we had to head home.

This is the back side of the football stadium. I thought it was interesting. The pine tree is engraved on the wall to the right and the two real pine trees on the left are reflected back on the wall behind them.

This is one of the libraries. Right behind me is another one just as big.

I should have another blog in a few days. We will be at John's sister's place by Wednesday for Thanksgiving and a very long, extended visit. Are you ready, Kathy? Here we come.

Happy Turkey Day, Everybody!


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