The Villa was built in 1926 by oil magnate Waite Phillips who used it to oversee his three hundred thousand acre cattle ranch in northeast New Mexico. It was built in a Spanish-style motif befitting the American Southwest. Phillips named the house by combining the first half of his name with monte, the Spanish word for mountain. In addition to the Villa, Phillips built several other retreats on his ranch’s property, including Fish Camp on the Agua Fria Creek and a Hunting Lodge near Cimarroncito.
Phillips donated the Villa to the Boy Scouts in 1941, supplementing a 1938 gift of 35,857 acres that had created the Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp. The Boy Scouts of America has retained control over the property since that time, opening the Villa to Scouts and visitors alike as a museum; it is open for regularly-scheduled tours during the summer months.
The Villa is lavishly furnished, and retains many of Phillips’ original furnishings and collections, including particularly notable displays of antiques and weapons. The building features a large courtyard with a fountain in the center, large columns, and numerous porticoes. The interior was decorated using an eclectic mix of European, American, and Southwestern furnishings.