Briarhurst Manor, Front View
|Location||404 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, Colorado|
|Architect||Varian & Sterner; Frederick Sterner|
|NRHP Reference #||73000473|
|Added to NRHP||April 23, 1973|
|Manitou Springs, Colorado|
Construction began in 1872 on Briarhurst Manor. Dr. William Bell left for England to marry a woman named Cara, who agreed to live with Bell in Colorado as long as her children were born in England. The Tudor Revival style home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Fountain Creek passes through the estate and the home is in the shadow of Pikes Peak.
Under Mrs. Cara Bell's direction, Briarhurst Manor became "the social center" of the community, hosting the internationally famous of the day. On occasion, a tribe of friendly Utes camped on the Briarhurst estate grounds while preparing to go into the Garden of the Gods, for them a holy place of worship.
One winter night in 1886, while Dr. Bell was away on business, Mrs. Bell awoke to a bedroom filled with smoke. Burning embers escaped from a fireplace in Briarhurst. She woke the children and servants. Cara stayed in the burning house and with the help of gardener Schneider, they rescued a prized oil painting by Thomas Moran, the "Mount of the Holy Cross". The family escaped safely, but lost all of their belongings and returned to England. They returned in early 1887 to begin reconstruction of a second, more elaborate Briarhurst Manor, complete with schoolroom, conservatory, cloister and a library with a special alcove to display the "Mount of the Holy Cross."
Today, 5 acres (20,000 m2) of the original Briarhurst estate is a restaurant and event venue. The restaurant seats over 400 guests and features Colorado cuisine. The remainder of the estate, now Blue Skies Inn Bed and Breakfast, features the original 1873 carriage house to the east of the estate. Many weddings are celebrated in the gardens that Ferdinand Schneider started over a hundred years ago.
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