Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday August 10, 2010-Garden of the Gods Campground

Here are Tyler and Cameron at the entrance to the Miramont Castle. The castle was built in the 1890's for a French priest named Father Francolon, son of a wealthy and aristocratic family. He came to Manitou Springs because of the "healing waters" here in hopes of restoring his health. He was known as a loner and was reportedly unpopular with the local residents. Fr. Francolon asked a group of nuns to come to the home to establish a sanatorium, primarily for the treatment of tuberculosis. The nuns also offered lessons in piano, violin, guitar, mandolin and banjo according to an advertisement in the 1896 Manitou Springs Journal. The castle sat vacant from 1928 to 1946 when it was sold to private owners. The property was acquired by the Manitou Springs Historical Society and they immediately began the restoration of the property.

Here is Cameron demonstrating the 2 foot thick walls of native sandstone. Miramont, which means "look at the mountains", was built with indoor plumbing and electricity, which was available in the late 1880's.

This is an anchor that is placed in one of the walls that is holding the castle against the mountain. Both Cameron and I tried to move it but we were unable to...LOL.

This is one of the suits of armor displayed in the castle. What was surprising to us was how skinny the wearers of this were. They were pretty tall, but thin.

One of the long rooms, probably a dining room, on the third floor of the castle. The hardwood floors squeak a lot when you walk across the room.

This is one of the bedrooms in the castle, showing examples of the dresses worn at the time. Many of the furnishings were loaned to the Historical Society for display here.

This is the same bedroom, showing the other furnishings of the room and the leaded glass windows in the room.

This is one of the bathrooms in the castle. Notice the clawfoot tub? I've seen reproductions of these in some very expensive homes today so this style hasn't gone out of style.

This could have been a sitting room or another bedroom. I believe there were 48 rooms in the castle, so there may have been even other uses for this room at one time. We were told that when the nuns operated this as a sanatorium, this could have been used as a medical procedure room. It is very well lit and a very nice-sized room.

This is a better photo of the lead glass windows. There are several stained glass windows on the lower floors, some modern and some old.

This was a living room/sitting room on, I believe, the third floor.

This is a dining room on the third floor. The upper floors were served by a rear, very narrow stairway that was used by servants. There are also two chair lifts, but they have been installed fairly recently and were not a part of the original construction.

This is a kitchen, showing the old coal-fired stove. Many of the old kitchen "appliances" and furniture is in this room. It is quite interesting to see how things were over a hundred years ago. See the photo below for more kitchen furnishings

The black and silver appliance is a water warmer. The other appliance is a clothes washing machine.

When we left the castle, we cruised through a neighborhood and saw a large mule deer walking around in someones front yard, eating their trees and grass. I was out of the truck when I took this photo and the deer seems to be saying "I wonder what the heck he's doing, looking at me like that".

"Well, he doesn't seem to be bothering me, so I'm gonna eat some more. This grass is delicious!"

"I've got better places to be, so I'm leaving"
We continued on with our museum visits this afternoon. We went to the American Numismatic Museum (say that a few times!) or the money museum as it is better known. There is a very interesting history of money including paper, coins, tokens, medals and other forms of currency used all over the world. There is a large exhibit of money from the Civil War era into modern times. Unfortunately, I became ill during this visit and did not take any photos. Some of the coins are very intricate in their design and VERY valuable. I met a very friendly security guard while I sat while the rest of the family visited the museum.
After leaving the money museum, I began to feel a little better, so we decided to visit a motorcycle museum that is in the same general area of Colorado Springs. When we arrived at the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum, we found that it is being moved into a nearby Harley Davidson building. We went into the original location which is still open, but none of the motorcycles were marked. There was a man in one of the offices who told us that the museum was moving, so we went to the Harley store to see more. When we got there, a very surly clerk told us that the museum wasn't open yet. I guess that since we were just looking for the museum, two senior and their grandchildren weren't going to buy a bike, so she was very unhelpful. If I were in the market for a motorcycle, I certainly wouldn't buy one here.
We returned home and ate supper. The boys went outside and rode their ripsticks, enjoying the cool weather. I like it because I can walk around the park, even during the middle of the day, and not break into a sweat. I can see why exercise is so popular here.
So long.

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