The Winchester Mystery House is San Jose, CA's legendary tourist attraction, built by Sarah Winchester, widow of the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune, who believed that she was haunted by the spirits of Native Americans who'd been murdered with the guns and designed and ordered the construction of over 160 rooms that she designed by means of automatic writing in a special seance room.
It's just been granted a permit to allow for overnight stays in the house, along with the right to sell booze throughout the property. Now I know what I'll be doing the next time I'm in northern California.
A special use permit approved March 5 by the San Jose planning department would allow overnight guests at the city landmark, but it doesn't look like the existing bedrooms in the structure are included in the permit. Instead, a staff report singles out certain structures on the site, including the pump house, caretaker's residence, and foreman's quarters as lodging possibilities.
The target market won't be traditional travelers, but rather those who want the full Winchester Mystery House experience.
"It wouldn't be a hotel type of thing," said Kristinae Toomians in the city's planning department. "Some people just have a fascination with it."
In addition, the city approved converting the existing cafe (a humble affair) to a bona fide restaurant open to the public, not just guests at the attraction. Winchester Investments LLC, the owner of the business, was also granted approval to allow the consumption of alcohol across the entire site (except the parking lot). That will presumably boost the attraction's events business.
Winchester Mystery House, Silicon Valley's haunted mansion, wins approval for overnight stays [Nathan Donato-Weinstein/Silicon Valley Business Journal]
(Image: Winchester House, Benmlee/Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA)