House With the Eye Museum - Atlas Obscura

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House With the Eye Museum

This 19th-century house museum features a horse-drawn hearse and other antique oddities. 

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In Leadville, Colorado, there is an old red wooden house, best known for its stained glass eye gazing from the roof. Eugene Robitaille, a Canadian architect and carpenter, built the house in 1879. According to a historic landmark plaque outside, the eye embodies the all-seeing eye of God, a symbol of truth.

There is a rumor that Robitaille added the eye to put a curse on the nearby red-light district. However, this is not the case. The eye is just an example of an architectural trend at the time where builders added unusual stained glass windows to the fronts of houses.

Robitaille lived in the house only briefly, moving next door and using the House with the Eye as a model home. After Robitaille died in 1935, the house was opened as a museum from 1964 to 1987. After 1987, the museum was closed for 24 years before finally reopening in 2012.

The restoration of the house was a massive effort, requiring the careful replacement of the distinctive eye window.

Today, the House with the Eye features hundreds of unique and interesting 19th and 20th-century objects, including paintings, catalogs, a whiskey still from the Prohibition era, a glass case full of pistols, and even a horse-drawn hearse.

None of these items ever belonged to Eugene Robitaille. All of the objects were donated by Leadville citizens. While the House with the Eye doesn’t offer a glimpse into an everyday home of the late 19th century, it instead is a living tribute to Leadville’s vibrant history.

Know Before You Go

The House with the Eye is open every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day. If you’re in the area, take a look at the other houses on 4th Street. Eugene Robitaille designed two morecan you spot them?

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January 25, 2024

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