Monday, February 15, 2010

Miramont Castle

As my close friends will undoubtedly attest, I have a fascination and addiction to everything Scotland. No, really. It's true! *smile*

Scotland is rich in history and its beauty is unsurpassed. Magnificent castles grace the rolling green countryside and are a staple of everything that is Scotland. From Edinburgh Castle to Eilean Donan Castle, the massive stone structures are rich in history and intrigue. If only the walls could talk!

Did you know there are plenty of historic castles within the United States to investigate and explore? USA Castles should not be overlooked and provide a vast array of history.

My dh and I had the pleasure of touring such a castle in Manitou Springs, CO. Miramont Castle is a must-see for any historical lover.

Jean Baptiste Francolon was a Catholic priest born in Clermont, France in 1854. He was the son of a wealthy diplomat.

In 1878, he was summoned by Bishop Lamy to travel to Sante Fe, NM, where he became the Bishop's secretary.

In the early 1890's, Father Francolon suffered an ailment. He was transferred to Manitou Springs in the hopes that the many mineral waters the area provided would restore his health. 

He began planning the Castle's construction and intended the structure to be a home he could share with his mother, Marie. It was to be called Miramont, meaning "look at (or see) the mountain."

The Castle was completed in 1896 and had running water and electricity. All of the comforts of home!

The Castle was adorned with many wealthy furnishings including a mahogany table inlaid with jewels, tapestries, oils, statuary, antique investments and laces.

There are nine distinct architectural designs within the Castle: Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, English Tudor, shingle-style Queen Anne, Flemish stepped gables, domestic Elizabethan, Venetian Ogee and half-timber Chateau. Father Francolon had apparently collected ideas from his early years of traveling the world with his father.

The Castle is built on four levels which boasts 14,000 square feet and 46 rooms. It has five fireplaces, the largest being sixteen feet wide and weighing 400,000 pounds.

An addition was made to the Castle sometime after its completion in 1896, but no records have been located in order to verify the date. The newer part of the Castle added a chapel, grand staircase and solarium. Pictures do not compliment the architecture of the Castle.

Miramont Castle was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 3, 1977.

If you are traveling to the Colorado Springs area, place Miramont Castle on the top of your list.