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Montcalm Castle (Miramont)

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1889–1897, The Reverend Jean Baptiste Francolon. 9 Capitol Hill Ave. (NR)

Castellated battlements, Flemish stepped gables, Queen Anne shingled dormers, ogee arches, Moorish doors and windows, Elizabethan half timbering, and other elements vaguely Byzantine, Chateau Style, Queen Anne, Romanesque, and Tudor haunt this 14,000-square-foot castle, which might be used to define the word eclectic. Father Jean-Baptiste Francolon, a French priest, helped design this four-story edifice on a steep hillside as his residence. He explained that no one style would do: “Romanesque style was too uniform, Ionic too classic for romantic Manitou, Gothic too pious for a residence, Moorish too pagan for a clergyman, and Colonial out of order for a mountain region.” Angus and Archibald Gillis and stonemason William Frizzell worked from Father Francolon's drawings and instructions, which constantly changed. The sandstone and granite exterior, rumored to resemble the cleric's family chateau in France, has ten entrances and sixty windows, while the twenty-eight rooms feature oak wood-work, carved stonework, and stained glass. By 1904, Father Francolon had converted his fantasy into the Montcalm Tuberculosis Sanatarium, staffed by the Sisters of Mercy. Converted to apartments during World War II, the house has been refurbished as a museum by the Manitou Springs Historical Society.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel

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