As Americans moved farther and farther west across the continent, they encountered conditions, terrain and weather they had never seen before. For those and other reasons, it wasn’t uncommon for most first homes to be temporary. A great example is Fountain Colony (now Colorado Springs), which in 1873 had about 240 residents, most of whom were living in simple timber shelters.
Arriving from Philadelphia during the post Civil War period with his wife Elizabeth Cooper, Maj. Henry McAllister clearly liked what he saw in Fountain Colony and decided he would build a house that could withstand the very worst of the elements. Legend has it that McAllister chose to build the house with brick after hearing the wind in Colorado Springs was strong enough to blow a train off the tracks.
Today, that sturdy and distinctive house¹ stands as an example of what it was like for a family to move west and adapt to their new environment while retaining important aspects of their own culture as Quakers from Philadelphia.
To make the tour even more interesting—and revealing—the house has been filled with amazing examples of Victoria era furniture, all of which was painstakingly culled from countless sources by the Colonial Dames in Colorado.
¹The house was built by Winfield Scott Stratton who was a carpenter in Colorado Springs in the 1870s and 1880s. Stratton became famously wealthy striking gold in Cripple Creek in the 1890s and spent the remainder of his life giving his wealth away to people in need.