Truth or Tall Tale: Inside Millennium Manor

8:33 AM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Around this time every year, locals get the chance to look inside what could be our region's most unique home.

Every Memorial Day, Millennium Manor in Alcoa opens to the public for one day.

The overall look of the house - both inside and out - is enough on its own to get people talking. But if you dig a little deeper and go back in time, you'll find the real story.

The history behind Millennium Manor stretches back nearly a century. It's East Tennessee's very own limestone and concrete castle built in the 1930s by a man named William Andrew Nicholson. He believed the end of days was near and that he could build a home that would allow him to live on.

"[Nicholson] was a sharecropper down in Georgia who moved to [East Tennessee] for a job at ALCOA", explained current owner Knoxville Fire Department Capt. Dean Fontaine. "He was 61 years old and in a [kind of] cult called House of David. He believed Armageddon was coming soon so he built this place to survive the Armageddon and live 1,000 years."

Nicholson died in the 1960s a few years before he believed Armageddon would take place. But his dream has new life at the modern-day Millennium Manor.

Capt. Fontaine bought the property more than 10 years ago. Ever since that purchase, Fontaine has been fixing it up - from a new kitchen to bathrooms to a fully restored master bedroom with a chandelier. People in the community seem to notice, too.

"I was amazed when I bought it at the interest the community has in it - they love this place," said Fontaine. [The] brass door was a visitor's idea, and it looks terrific."

There are plenty of urban legends surrounding Millennium Manor, including stories of haunted stairwells, ghosts and other super-natural events, but Fontaine dismisses them as tall tales. The Tennessee truth is that his renovated house is reinforced to carry out its original purpose: to stand the test of time.

"Everyone has a dream about something that's difficult - maybe really impossible," explained Fontaine. "But he [Nicholson] did it. He did it."

Millennium Manor will be open to the public on Memorial Day. The hours are from noon to 6 p.m. There is no charge, but any donations will be used to cover costs associated with ongoing property upkeep. The address is 500 North Wright Road in Alcoa.

Most Watched Videos