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Dark Destinations > Locations - M > Miramont Castle


 
Miramont Castle Other destinations within a
mile radius.

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Availability: Open to the Public
Filed Under: Bars/Clubs/Restaurants
Conventions/Festivals/Events
Halloween Events
Museums/Libraries/Exhibitions
Paranormal Hot Spots > Haunted Museums
Theme Attractions > Bars/Clubs/Restaurants
Added By: Tom G
Added On: October 19, 2008 - 10:01 PM UTC
Last Modified: October 21, 2010 - 02:35 PM UTC
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Address
9 Capitol Hill Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829, USA (Manitou Springs, Colorado)
 
Information
Miramont Castle
Miramont Castle was built for Father Jean Baptiste Francolon, a priest who came from a family of wealthy French aristocrats. He moved to Manitou Springs, Colorado in 1892 and built a home there. In 1895 he donated that first home to be used as a sanatarium for tuberculosis patients. Manitou Springs was a popular place for those suffering the effects of tuberculosis. It was believed that the local mineral springs and the fresh mountain air would restore health and lessen the effects of the disease. The springs are also what brought Father Francolon to the area. The priest suffered from a stomach ailment that he hoped might be lessened by the alleged curative powers of the city's springs.

Upon giving up his first Manitou Springs home, Father Francolon ordered the construction of a castle that would share the same property as the sanatarium. Miramont Castle was finished in 1896. The priest and his mother lived there until 1900, when they moved away.

Montcalme Sanatarium
In 1895, Father Francolon managed to get the Religious Order of the Sisters of Mercy to open a Sanatarium in his former home. Within 7 months, the Sisters of Mercy were already having to expand the sanatarium to compensate for the large number of tuberculosis patients they were receiving. In 1904, the Sisters of Mercy acquired Miramont Castle, which had lain empty since the Francolons' departure. The move was necessitated by a fire that destroyed the furnace room of the original sanatarium.

The sanatarium employed the holistic medicines of Father Sebastian Kneipp. Kneipp believed that drinking large quantities of the local spring water and bathing in it would cure tuberculosis. Some of Kneipp's practices are still used by practitioners of Naturopathic medicine.

The castle's name was changed to Montcalme and continued to function as a sanatarium until 1928 when advances in surgery and pharmacology eliminated a need for tuberculosis sanatariums. The castle then served as a retreat for nuns until its sale in 1946. The castle was turned into an apartment building and continued in that function until 1975, when the building became condemned. The following year it was purchased by the Manitou Springs Historical Society, who began restoring it. The castle was eventually (mostly) restored to its original appearance and name. It is once again Miramont Castle.

The Return of Miramont Castle
The castle now serves as a museum dedicated to the Victorian era. Each room is an example of life during the era in which Father Francolon built the castle. Visitors can witness first hand the eccentric and extravagant architecture. Rooms are rarely square in the castle, with one room having 16 walls. There is also a secret passageway that runs the entire length of the second floor. The castle was built into the side of a mountain and slopes with it. The front entrance is located on the first floor and the rear entrance is on the fourth floor. There is also a chimney from one of the fireplaces (the largest sandstone fireplace in the US) that burrows through the mountain itself.

Miramont Castle also has the Queens Parlour Tea Room. The Tea Room serves food and drink of the Victorian era and offers a "High Tea" in the afternoon on certain days of the week. Reservations must be made in advance in order to partake in the High Tea. There is a chapel in the castle that can be reserved for weddings. Lastly, the castle has a gift shop offering Victorian dolls and other items associated with that era.

The Haunting of Miramont Castle
There are multiple witness accounts of ghost sightings in Miramount Castle. Both staff and visitors to the castle have been witness to unexplained phenomena. Accounts include apparitions of men, women and children in Victorian attire wandering about the castle. A Victorian woman has been said to appear at times in mirrors that people gaze into. The ghost a little girl with a doll has been spotted on occasion in the "Christmas Room." Another witness account has a woman with no visible head walking into the same room.

There have been other visitors who have experienced feelings of unease in the Christmas Room. Disembodied voices are heard throughout the castle. There are also tales of objects being moved by unseen hands and a cold spot in the chapel.

The most likely time to spot a ghost in the castle is during the afternoon...right around the time for High Tea.

The Emma Crawford Wake
Annually, the city of Manitou Springs is host to the Emma Craford Festival (see Emma Crawford Festival and Memorial Coffin Race). The festival commemorates an incident in Manitou Springs in 1929, when the coffin of a young woman buried at the top of Red Mountain in 1891 was uncovered by erosion and washed down the side of the mountain. The festival takes place the weekend prior to Halloween. It involves a coffin race and other activities, such as ghost walks. The night before the race, Miramont Castle plays host to an annual wake for Emma. It is perhaps fitting that a place that once served as sanatarium for tuberculosis patients should also hold a yearly tribute to a young lady who died from it. It puts a face on the many TB victims who came to live (and die) in the city before medical science improved.

The Emma Crawford Wake allows participants to step back in time to attend a fictitious wake the deceased. There is a buffet of Victorian food for dinner and costumed actors portray people of the era and interact with the guests. Actors portray Father Francolon and his mother as they host the wake in their home. An astonishing feat, as the priest arrived in Manitou Springs months after Emma's death and the castle didn't exist until a few years later. However, this event is not about historical accuracy in that sense. It is about capturing a feel for the time period and paying tribute to a woman whose misfortune is the basis for the festival.

Emma's coffin (not the actual one) is lain out for "mourners" to pay their respects. Also on hand are actors portraying famous individuals of the time, including "Wild" Bill Hickok. Perhaps there may be a few actual mourners in attendance as well, unseen by the living and paying tribute to one of their own...or perhaps they just find it charming to see a common event of their time re-enacted in modern times. The Emma Crawford Wake was featured on the Fine Living Network's Freakiest Festivals television special in 2010.

Visiting Miramont Castle
Hours of operation for the castle and details about the Emma Crawford Wake can be found at the castle's Web site, which is listed below.
 
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Related Sites
Miramont Castle
Web site for the haunted Victorian castle in Manitou Springs, Colorado that is also home to the annual Emma Crawford Wake event.
Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce
Manitou Spring's Web site includes information about events including ghost walks and the Emma Crawford Festival and Memorial Coffin Race.
 
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See Also on TheCabinet.com
Blog: The Mysteries of Miramont Castle (03/30/09)
 
Available from Amazon.com
Miramont Castle: The first hundred years
Miramont Castle: A brief history
The Ghostess of Miramont Castle
 
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The above content is for informational purposes only. Before making any travel arrangements, it is highly recommended that you contact those in charge of the property to check for updated availability and hours of operation. While we do our best to keep this information updated, we cannot guarantee that it is completely valid and up to date. Any destination marked "Closed to the Public" is marked that for a reason and we discourage any visits or attempts to gain access to that facility. Similarly, take note of any "Travel Advisory" that may be associated with a destination. Finally, treat any location and its local residents with respect. Any vandalism and/or unruly behavior is completely despicable and only ruins the experience for future visitors.

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