What’s all this hullabaloo … ‘The Great Fruitcake Toss’, ‘Pots by the Pound’, ‘Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cookoff’, ‘Mardi Gras Carnivale Parade’, ‘Victorian Easter Egg Hunt’, ‘Verne Witham FREE Pancake Breakfast’, ‘Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival’, Huck Finn Day’, ‘Good Ol’ Summertime Ice Cream Social & Pie Baking Contest’, and the ever-curious ‘Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade’? Where else can you find, enjoy and participate in such history-making events?
Just a stone’s throw away, about five miles west of Colorado Springs, nestled among the picturesque hill and dell, lies the small, not-so-sleepy town of Manitou Springs. Once known as the “Saratoga of the West,” Manitou Springs was and is one of the most visited and most popular small towns in the country.
Steeped in rich history and unforgettable beauty this quaint little town spans an area of three square miles with a reported population of 5,113 in 2011.
Laid out in 1872 and first called Villa La Fonte, the adopted name would soon become "Manitou" so as to honor and romanticize the Indian heritage of the area. Manitou, in the Algonquian language (one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups) translates to “Great Spirit” or “Supreme Being.”
The name ‘Manitou Springs’ … “Manitou.”, though, a minor variance of spelling (Manito) was referenced in the 1855 poem, “Song of Hiawatha” by Longfellow. And ‘Springs’ represents the bubbly, naturally carbonated mineral healing waters.
So without further ado, let’s explore the rise and lull in the upcoming series of “The history and mystery of Manitou Springs” --from the 1889 Wheeler Town Clock, to the haunting at Redstone Castle to the famous Cog Railway to the pioneers and famous people who put this hidden treasure on the Colorado map.
Respect, enjoy and preserve!