Millennium Manor Castle    
 

Millennium Manor Castle
500 North Wright Road / Alcoa, Tennessee 37701

 
 

| Unlikely Stories | Newspaper Articles | Photographs |

 
 
 
Millennium Manor was built from 1938 to December, 1946, by William Andrew Nicholson and his wife Fair. They had moved to Alcoa, Tennessee, from Pickens County, Georgia, where he was a mason and carpenter. In 1937 he got a job with the Alcoa plant as a replacement for striking workers. Mr. Nicholson started construction of Millennium Manor at the age of 61 while maintaining a full time job at the Alcoa plant across the street.
Millennium Manor Castle   Millennium Manor was built to survive Armageddon and a thousand years beyond. If any structure can endure that fate, it is this one. Millennium Manor was built using Roman architecture which can still be seen standing in structures after more than 2,000 years. The light colored stone of Millennium Manor is Tennessee Pink Marble found in nearby Friendsville, Tennessee. The "Arch and Keystone" visible over doors and windows continues throughout the entire house, including the floor and roof. First built was a wooden "form," shaped like the inside of the building. A rubber tarp was laid over this form. Stone was stacked on top of the form and a "Keystone" inserted. (At this point in the construction, the wooden form could
have been pulled completely out, and the roof would still stand on its own without any mortar). Cement was poured over the stacked marble rock, and the cement sifted through to the rubber tarp and hardened. Wrinkles in the rubber sheet can still be seen on the inside ceiling The form was then removed, at which point that part of the roof (or floor) was finished. In theory, it should be possible to remove ALL cement from the entire building and have it continue to stand, since the only function of the mortar was to hold the rock in place and not to bear a load.

Over 4,000 bags of cement were used, and in some places agricultural lime was used instead of sand for less water seepage. The thinnest inside wall is 19 inches. The thinnest outside wall is 25 inches. The roof is greater than 3 feet thick, and the floor is greater than 4 feet thick. The roof alone supposedly weighs 423 tons. All walls are load bearing. There are 14 rooms and a two-car underground garage, for a total of about 3,000 square feet under roof. The upstairs has 7 chimney flues. A six-story deep well is 5 feet in diameter. In November of 1943, Wright Road was widened, and the city tore down the entire wall facing the street. Mr. Nicholson promptly rebuilt it 6 feet further back. The Castle sits on 6 lots equaling about an acre, and another 1/2 acre next door has been leased. A small white frame house that currently sits on the back lot was originally next to the Castle. It was a "kit home" built to give the Nicholsons a place to live until the Castle was finished. The frame house was then moved to its present location. I am currently using this house for its original purpose, and I'll tear it down when I move into Millennium Manor.
 

William Andrew (W.A.) Nicholson, builder

 

Millennium Manor Castle


Millennium Manor Castle
W.A. Nicholson
In 1950 Fair Nicholson died of cancer at age 72. Mr. and Mrs. Nicholson had been married over 50 years. William Nicholson was quoted as saying, "It was hard to be parted from her after so many years. My wife believed in me but her faith in eternal life was weak. She tried to believe, but she had her doubts. There came times when she talked of dying." Fifteen years later, at the age of 88 and nearly blind and deaf, Mr. Nicholson joined her in Clarks Grove Cemetery. The day before he went to the hospital he told the pastor from the church next door to the Castle that "if God doesn't intervene soon, I will die." I have not yet been able to locate his grave in Clarks Grove Cemetery, because the gravestone has been taken.

Millennium Manor Castle

Millennium Manor Castle
W.A. (above) - W.A. and son, Andrew


Millennium Manor Castle
Lower Courtyard, Millennium Manor

  The Nicholsons left 10 children, but none came to live in the stone house after William Nicholson's death. Soon vandals had stolen or broken everything inside, and 6 years after Mr. Nicholson's death, the Castle, once valued at $150,000, was sold at auction for only $3,900. Juanita Shaw and her son bought the building to use as a meeting place for the "Odd Fellows," as a rental property, and as a "Haunted House" for the "Jaycees." I purchased Millennium Manor on February 21, 1995, before the city of Alcoa was able to complete its attempt to condemn the structure. I am now slowly renovating and restoring the home to use as a primary residence. I am working toward having the home placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Millennium Manor Castle
William Andrew (W.A.) Nicholson builder

 

Millennium Manor is now occupied and owned by Dean J. Fontaine. He is a Firefighter/Paramedic for the Knoxville City Fire Department. He was Born in Columbus Ohio and moved to Tennessee in 1976, attending Sevier County High School. He joined the Army Infantry and did a tour of duty in the former West Germany before returning to East Tennessee and UTK. He is dedicated to repairing the castle and anticipates it to be a life-long endeavor.
Since Millennium Manor was published, it has caused a flood of visitors. To date I have collected a total of 33 old newspaper articles about the place, but I am interested in any and all information on this structure and its history.
If anyone has old photographs, articles, personal stories,
or any other information on this landmark, please contact me.

Millennium Manor Castle
D. J. Fontaine
The Information and Materials in this web are reproduced with the
permission of D.J. Fontaine 1999tBW!
EMAIL


W.A. Nicholson  

W.A. Nicholson

 

Millennium Manor- New and improved! Now with artillery! The castle has just gotten a 38 inch solid brass howitzer. It shoots a 3 pound ball almost a mile. It's a fully funtional gun with a two and a half inch bore. The smooth bore barrel alone weighs over 250 lbs. I built the naval carriage myself out of red oak, and it's just about the finest home defense cannon you can get.