Manitou May Surprise You

Published: April 28, 2022

A town stranger than fiction

If you think Manitou is quirky—you don’t even know the half of it! From the town’s long history of healing waters to the little surprises hidden in the library’s card catalog, the unexpected is all that can be expected here in Manitou Springs.

Mountain-air vibes

Tuberculosis huts or gnome homes?

Back in the 1900s, patients suffering from tuberculosis were sent to Colorado in droves, with a prescription from their docs for fresh, mountain air, sunshine and the dry, arid climate. These red-roofed tuberculosis huts along Manitou Avenue were designed to maximize air flow and the healing powers of the high altitude. Today, the huts maximize sweet and savory flavors at Totally Nuts & Company. 

We don’t know about any healing powers, but these huts’ nuts are just what the doctor ordered. 

The Cliff House opened its doors to the public in 1873—making the inn older than even Colorado’s statehood.

Celebrity spottings

Famous residents of The Cliff House

The Cliff House has been welcoming the “who’s who” of guests, including: Theodore Roosevelt; Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Austria; Charles Dickens Jr.; P.T. Barnum and Thomas Edison. Guests would close out their evenings with a refreshing glass of fresh spring water from Soda Springs.

bottoms up

Healing mineral springs

The eight famous mineral springs around Manitou are naturally carbonated by aquifers deep underground and—well, science. Each spring has a unique taste based on its mineral composition. Stop by the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau for a cup, a map, and a guide to the mineral make-up of each spring. 

A fruity concoction: Mineral water helps replace lost electrolytes—say, after hiking the Manitou Incline. Whip up a spa-like agua fresca by mixing 3 parts mineral water to 1 part fruit. Find a spot along the creek to relax and soak up some vitamin D for total zen.

Seeds are categorized by color—green, yellow, and red—indicating how difficult they are to grow.

pushing up daisies

Cataloging the seed library

The latest in George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones isn’t the only food for thought worth checking out of the Manitou Springs Public Library at the MAC. Tucked inside the drawers of a vintage card catalog is a library of vegetable seeds for the taking. Simply share the fruits of your labor for other gardeners to enjoy!

remembering emma

Coffin racing down Manitou Avenue

If you’re new to all things Manitou, you maybe haven’t heard of a little event called the Emma Crawford Coffin Races. 10,000 of Emma’s closest friends descend on Manitou Avenue in celebration of Emma’s unfortunate trip through town after her burial in 1891—dawning ghoulishly good costumes and tricked out coffins. The coffins will race again on October 29th, 2022!

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