|Millennium Manor Castle|
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Special to the
News Sentinel (Knoxville)
ALCOAN WORKS ON OWN HOME FOR YEARS;
WIFE HELPS IN CONSTRUCTING STONE WALL
CONSTRUCTION IS IN SPARE TIME; MARBLE ALSO BEING USED
|'Millennium Manor' In Alcoa Stands As Testimony In Stone To A Mighty Faith
(EDITORS NOTE: This is the first of a series of columns written by Associated Press Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Hal Boyle while a guest of the times for Hillbilly Homecoming last week. See Just A-Ramblin' on page 4 for a story about Boyle.)
By Hal Boyle
ALCOA, Tenn. (AP) William Andrew Nicholson is an 80 year old carpenter who built an everlasting home because he confidently expects to live forever.
It is a fortress-like stone dwelling of 14 rooms and was hand-built by Nicholson and his wife over an eight-year period. It is known locally as
"millennium manor and "the house that faith built."
"It cannot rust or rot." Said Nicholson, whose keen blue eyes and white hair make him look like a patriarch in a striped sport shirt, "and if nothing
wrecks it there is no reason why it shouldn't last a million years."
And Nicholson himself is serenely certain that a million years from now he will be happy, alive and content with his house and lot.
His reason is simple. He loves Jesus Christ and he accepts as a statement of literal fact that Biblical promise that whosoever loves Christ will have
"I believe in the Bible, and I believe in life," he said. "I believe in preparing to live instead of preparing to die."
So it was that in 1938 the kindly carpenter and his wife, who had borne him 10 children, began at the age of 61 to build an eternal shelter for an
eternal life on earth.
There was to go into it nothing that could corrode or decay- neither wood nor nail. Only cement, rock and Tennessee pink marble.
Nicholson worked eight hours a day at his trade, then worked six to eight hours more on his home. He pushed 300-pound marble stones to their place in a wheelbarrow. His wife poured the mortar. The job took them eight long, exhausting years.
The house, completed in December, 1946, is two stories tall. Its outside walls are from two to three feet thick, its ceiling three to five feet. It has two bathrooms furnished with huge stone and cement chairs. The roof alone contains 432 tons of rock.
Six years ago Mrs. Nicholson died of Cancer, leaving her husband lonely but still sure he himself will enjoy eternal life.
"It was hard to be parted from her after so many years," he said. "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."
Nicholson's unusual home has become something of a tourist attraction. He says he has been offered $150,000 for it, but has no intention of selling.
"What would I want with the money?" he asked. "I have everything I need."
"I haven't been sick for 40 years. I don't worry about the atomic bomb- or anything else. I let nothing bother me.
I keep healthy by serving God the best I know how. I don't go to church. I used to belong to a church, but got out. They didn't like my views."
One of Nicholson's views that have led some of his neighbors to regard him as eccentric is his conviction that the world will be destroyed soon
(probably by 1959), but that 144,000 righteous, including himself, will be saved.
However long he lives himself, the rugged, picturesque home he built stands as a temple of love- a poor man's pyramid- the testimony in stone of a
mighty faith that stirred a simple heart to a dream of timeless grandeur.
(picture) Times Staff Photo, Stone
House Faith Built- W.A. Nicholson, 80, sits on the steps of his house of stone in Alcoa. Note roof is from three to five feet thick. This picture was
furnished the AP Wirephoto service by The Times.
If anyone has old photographs, articles,
personal stories, or any other information on this landmark,
please contact me.