A pink marble home constructed to outlive a biblical apocalypse is now a labor of affection for a pair in Alcoa and a medieval roadside oddity for anybody passing by.
ALCOA, Tenn. — Have you ever ever seen a home constructed to outlive a biblical apocalypse? Do you know one exists in Alcoa, Tennessee?
William and Emma Nicholson believed in an interpretation of the Bible that stated Armageddon was coming in 1959 they usually had been among the many 144,000 righteous individuals who would survive after which dwell for 1,000 years.
Primarily based on this perception, the Nicholsons began constructing the then-unnamed Millennium Manor in 1937.
“It needed to do two issues: survive Armageddon and final for 1,000 years. In order that’s why it was constructed so extremely robust,” present proprietor Dean Fontaine stated.
Beginning when he was 61 years previous, William did many of the work by hand, utilizing levers, pulleys and ramps to raise the Tennessee pink marble from Friendsville and different supplies in place to assemble a Roman arch and keystone design, much like the Alamo in Texas.
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“He by no means used any contractors that helped him construct it. He by no means employed any huge shifting gear. He did this all on his personal sheer willpower,” present proprietor Karen Fontaine stated.
In a testomony to William’s craftsmanship, the Fontaines stated the Military tried to purchase the castle-like constructing in 1943, fearing saboteurs would possibly bomb Alcoa and Oak Ridge throughout World Struggle II.
“Why? Fallout shelter. They acknowledged that this was a protected place, and the Military needed a protected place to have the ability to, you understand, do what they do,” Karen stated.
Emma died in 1950, and William’s authentic date for Armageddon got here and went. He instructed reporters on the time that he had executed his math incorrectly and the world would really finish in 1969.
Deserted Locations: Millennium Manor
William died in 1965, and his apocalypse-proof house’s future was unsure.
“You do not want a will in the event you’re not gonna die so [William] did not have one,” Dean stated.
The Nicholsons’ eight youngsters fought over who would take possession of the home however forgot in regards to the $3,968 in property taxes and misplaced it to a girl named Juanita Shaw.
Shaw owned the home within the late 70s and early 80s, utilizing it for the Jaycee’s Haunted Home.
“It is nonetheless talked about by locals that stated this was the perfect ever haunted home. It, sadly, was shut down by the town of Alcoa for security causes,” Karen stated.
Millennium Manor was deserted for a number of years, turning into an overgrown hub for vandals, squatters and rowdy youngsters who loved throwing beer bottles at passing automobiles. The neighbors petitioned the town to get the home cleaned up, and Shaw was given 90 days to repair it, promote it or tear it down.
She initially tried promoting it for $75,000 however couldn’t discover a purchaser. When nothing occurred to the home, the town put out a bid and slated it for demolition.
“I can not discover what that bid was, but it surely was a stunning sufficient quantity that [the city] gave her one other 90 days they usually stated, ‘We are going to do it and invoice you for it,’” Dean stated. “If it was potential to demolish it simply, it could have already been demolished.”
Shaw lower the promoting worth in half, and that’s the place the Fontaines joined the manor’s story.
Dean purchased the Millennium Manor for $40,000 in 1995 and has been slowly fixing it up for almost three many years.
“I labored for the [Knoxville Fire Department] so I see homes destroyed each month, and also you spend your complete life and your financial savings, your time and your effort constructing a home, after which any individual drops a cigarette, and poof, it is all gone. So I actually appreciated the permanence of it,” Dean stated. “And I am a historical past buff, and I actually appreciated being part of historical past so it actually appealed to me.”
His spouse, Karen, would be part of within the effort a number of years later after the couple met on-line the place Dean simply occurred to say the manor on his profile.
Whereas the years of abandonment and vandalism stripped away something left behind by the Nicholsons, the citadel’s two-foot thick marble partitions held agency. The Fontaines stated one researcher claimed one other Millennium Manor could possibly be constructed on high of the present construction and assist the load.
Dean can personally attest to the citadel’s sturdiness. He almost slept by way of a twister that blew by way of Alcoa in “the dungeon,” the Fontaines’ identify for the manor’s basement.
A lot of the work has been to protect William’s handiwork and assist the apocalypse-proof manor actually survive 1,000 years, however Dean has added his personal touches as properly. Embracing the home’s castle-like look, he has put in a cannon out entrance, positioned gargoyles above the doorways and home windows, put up fits of armor inside and hung medieval flags alongside the partitions of “the dungeon.”
After all, he nonetheless acknowledges the home’s survivalist roots by hanging a Zombie Outbreak Shelter signal outdoors and a Fallout Shelter signal within the basement.
Although the Nicholsons by no means named the home, it has been referred to as Darby’s Fort, Stone Home and Millennium Manor over time. When the Fontaines took over, they determined to name it the Millennium Manor, which was initially coined in a 1957 article by Hal Boyle, a columnist and pal of the Nicholsons.
The Nicholsons are nonetheless part of the citadel with their prolonged household coming to go to and share tales.
“[William’s] household has grown and grown with out him being right here, and they’re so proud to know that he constructed it. After which we’re caring for it to hold his namesake on,” Karen stated.
The Fontaines initially meant to maneuver into the manor as soon as they had been completed however have began leaning towards utilizing it for weddings and different occasions as an alternative. In reality, the couple has already hosted half a dozen weddings and some “doomsday events” on web site.
“At any time when any individual says the apocalypse is upon us, we all the time have a celebration. What else you gonna do with an apocalypse home?” Dean stated.
In 2020, the Fontaines made additional strides in preserving the citadel’s story when it was positioned on the National Register of Historic Places. The couple additionally bought the Millennium Manor its 501(c)(3) non-profit standing for its first 12 months of standard excursions.
“After all, I just like the place, however I am all the time amazed simply how a lot everybody else does too. I do not actually really feel like an proprietor. I really feel extra like a caretaker as a result of that is their place, individuals in Alcoa,” Dean stated.
Whereas nobody is aware of when the world goes to finish, the Millennium Manor stands sturdy as a labor of affection for the Fontaines and a roadside oddity for anybody passing by.
When the manor just isn’t closed for renovation, you may schedule a tour of the Millennium Manor Castle with the Fontaines by way of electronic mail ([email protected]) or by calling (865) 406-3887.
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