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An odd structure purposefully commissioned to be so by the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune, the Winchester Mystery House is a ridiculous Victorian mansion with 160 rooms of various sizes and little utility, with dead-end hallways and a staircase that runs up to a ceiling all jammed together like a toddler playing architect.
A campus landmark at the east of the Main Quad, the 285ft-high Hoover Tower offers superb views. The tower houses the university library, offices and part of the right-wing Hoover Institution on War, Revolution & Peace (where Donald Rumsfeld caused a university-wide stir by accepting a position after he resigned as Secretary of Defense).
At the top of the Plaza de Cesar Chavez, the pueblo’s first church. Originally constructed of adobe brick in 1803, it was replaced three times due to earthquakes and fire; the present building dates from 1877.
Five miles south along the coast, the 115ft Light Station is one of the tallest lighthouses on the West Coast. The 1872 landmark had to close access to the upper tower when chunks of its cornice began to rain from the sky (restoration is in progress), but the beam still flashes brightly and the bluff is a prime though blustery spot to scan for breaching gray whales.