McAllister House Museum in Colorado springs Captures a Bygone Era

frontofhouseWhen most of the houses of the some 240 residents of Fountain Colony, later known as Colorado Springs, were little more than temporary timber shelters, Major Henry McAllister and his wife Elizabeth Couper McAllister built a house of bricks.


The house plans were prepared by the Philadelphia architect, George Summers, who also designed General Palmer’s Glen Eyrie residence and Grace Episcopal Church.


Henry McAllister took great interest and care in the construction of this house for his family who was so far from their long-established community of Darby, Pennsylvania. After a high wind destroyed some houses in the new colony, he decided to add another layer of bricks to the building.  It is commonly thought that these bricks were transported by train from Philadelphia.  It is known that he did import the three marble fireplaces that exist in the house.  Some of the interior finish work and the porch rails were constructed by Winfield Scott Stratton, who later became a mining millionaire after discovering the Independence Mine in Cripple Creek, CO.  The unique truncated gables seem to anchor the house to the open prairie.


kitchenitems04Major McAllister made his home in this small house until his death in 1921.  For the next 30 plus years the house was rented by the family to Mrs. Fanny Robbins who used the house for a candy and “wedding gift” shop.  Upon her death in 1958, the family sold the house.


In 1961 a historic preservation group, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in Colorado, with the help of the El Pomar Foundation and Shepard’s Citations, was able to buy and restore the house.
The McAllister House Museum, located at 423 North Cascade Avenue, was the first brick house built in Colorado Springs and the third oldest permanent residence in the city. Constructed in 1873-1874 by Major Henry McAllister, the home has been lovingly restored to its original floor plan and appearance, which contributes to its historical significance.


The museum was opened to the public in 1961 after undergoing extensive restoration and is operated and managed by the McAllister House Museum Committee. The goal of the Committee is to restore and furnish the home to its original appearance utilizing the 1874 -1884 period of significance in order to present an accurate interpretation of life in Colorado Springs during its earliest years. This project is paid for in part by a History Colorado State Historical Fund Grant. Additional grant matching funds have been provided by a wide range of community partners including: El Pomar Foundation; Webb Family Fund at the Pikes Peak Community Foundation in memory of Mrs. Barbara Webb; UMBFC Charitable Foundation, UMB Bank, n.a. Trustee; McAllister Foundation; BCER Engineering, Inc.; and numerous private donors.

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