Miramont Castle Museum - Atlas Obscura

Miramont Castle Museum

This enigmatic building features numerous architectural styles.  

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In Manitou Springs, Colorado, stands a beautiful but unusual building. To call Miramont Castle “Victorian” wouldn’t be wrong, but it wouldn’t be quite right either. In fact, the house claims at least nine different styles of architecture. The front door is Gothic, the gables are Flemish, and the battlements are medieval. Queen Anne, Romanesque, Tudor, Elizabethan, Venetian Ogee, Byzantine, and Moorish influences can also be found throughout the castle. 

Miramont Castle was built in 1895 by Father Jean Baptist Francolon, a Catholic priest from France. Coming from a wealthy family, he did not subscribe to the ascetic lifestyle of many other missionaries. In addition to the fantastic architecture, Francolon filled his home with expensive furniture, tapestries, statues, and Native American artifacts. The Francolon family was reportedly unpopular in Manitou Springs, and in 1900 they deserted the property, never to return to Colorado.

Despite the luxurious trappings of his home, Father Francolon was still somewhat charitable. He shared his home with the Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic institute for women, and donated it to them outright after he left for good. They converted the home into a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. The healing waters of Manitou Springs lent credence to its reputation as a place of respite and recovery for those afflicted with the disease.

In 1928, the castle’s role as a tuberculosis hospital was no longer a viable business model. The sisters used it as a high-end boarding house for some time and finally sold the property in 1946. Today, Miramont Castle is a museum of itself, showcasing its eclectic mix of styles and possessions to anyone who visits. There is also a tea room, which serves multi-course teas and delicious lunches.

Know Before You Go

Admission is $14 for adults, with discounts for seniors and children. Active duty military, firefighters and children under four years old visit for free. It is open from 10 AM to 4 PM, Tuesday through Sunday. Don’t miss the rustic and beautiful rock garden outside.

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