Friday, 23 January 2015

Miramont Castle Museum, Manitou Springs

Driving through Manitou Springs we found the road to Miramont Castle Museum. Our truck doesn’t have a very good turning circle, so getting into the parking area from the narrow road behind the castle took a bit of maneuvering.   It’s quite small and if there’d been more than a couple of cars it would’ve been nigh on impossible for us to park there.
Miramont Castle.
The castle was built by Jean Baptiste Francolon, who became the parish priest of Manitou Springs in 1893.   Building on the castle started after he made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1894.   When Father Francolon and his mother Marie Francolon de Beaulieu moved into the completed castle in 1896, it was thoroughly modern, and had indoor plumbing and electricity. 

The castle from a different angle, the windows  at the right of the photograph are the solarium.

A grand charity ball, in honour of George Washington’s birthday was held in 1897, when 300 members of Colorado high society donated to the Manitou Free Reading Room and then danced the night away in colonial costume.   For a dollar you could watch, wouldn’t that have been fun?   In 1899 the property was sold to The Sisters of Mercy and the Francolons left the area.   The Sisters ran a sanitarium from 1904 to 1928, after that only Sisters visiting from other parishes could stay in the castle.

Miramont means ‘look at the mountain’ and the views are lovely, especially from the solarium.   This would be a lovely spot in which to curl up with a hot chocolate and enjoy the view. 

After becoming derelict, the building was bought and restored by the Manitou Springs Historical Society in 1976 and listed on the National Historic Register in 1977.
One of the many rooms inside the castle.
We liked these unusually shaped windows.

The bed in this room was brought from France for Marie Francolon de Beaulieu. Somewhere in the castle there are reputed to be secret tunnels and a secret compartment containing hidden jewels, we didn’t find either, but, as the castle is built into the side of the hill, who knows. 

The castle is full of unusual, quirky things and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. 

Have fun, we are!

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