My nostalgia for Manitou Springs has been burgeoning this past year. I am relieved to see that I am not the only nutty Springs-aphile out here on the 'net.
I lived in Manitou Springs when I was a kid around 1960-63 or so-ish. It was absolutely, without the least doubt, a FABULOUS place to be a child. I explored my way through the whole town right up the Incline and then romped down trails towards Pikes Peak from the top. My mother would have grounded me forever if she knew how far my little brother and I ranged when we were off on our adventures.
I am shocked, SHOCKED! to see here where the Ruxton Avenue creek was "turned off"!!! That was my very favorite way to walk home from school - I'd go to the park and then up through the creek, jumping from rock to rock. It took a wonderful long time to get home that way.
Between town and closer to the Iron Springs Chateau, I had my own lovely "private" waterfall (because I never saw anyone else there - just me hopping from rock to rock on my home from school). In the winter it was a glorious, magical sight, frozen solid in mid-flow. I guess it's not there anymore since the water was shut down?
I am equally shocked to see several photos of Pikes Peak WITHOUT ANY SNOW. That never happened for as long as I am aware in my lifetime. It's nudity is obscene, especially if it reflects climate change.
I am sorry to see that the Incline has died, too. I spent a LOT of time playing in and around there both at the top and the bottom. In the summer, the huge metal cartons that held the cars during the winter stood empty underneath a quiet section of the building that was like a big carport. They were perfect for the kids of the neighborhood to play inside. And in the winter, when the Incline was asleep and that huge parking lot was abandoned to unploughed snow, we made huge snow forts to fight many a battle. I NEVER puts rocks in my snowballs - I was too nice for that, but others...
Is it still controversial what to do about the Incline track scar? My thoughts are these:
+ It seems to make a good outdoor athletic draw with a spectacular payoff at the top for those who make it. (Are the hiking paths still up there at the top of Mt Manitou or have they ground in by now?)
+ Even if the track is allowed to grow in, different plants will populate it first. When pine trees got around to growing there, it will take generations for them to fill it in. Even then, that very straight mark is so man-made, that it may be detected for 100s of years in the coloring and postioning of the trees. Just guessing, though.
+ It helps me orient myself when I look at photos of Manitou since my little kid geo-spatial memories are imperfect.
Tell, me -
* Is the "Spa Building" what we called "The Arcade" in my day? There were many small shops and one of the springs was inside the arcade. There were lots of arches to let light in and for people to wonder in and out of.
[My very favorite shop there was a place that sold all sorts of trinkets, clothing, paper lanterns, etc, imported from China. The shop was kept dark with burning incense. VERY atmospheric: like crossing the threshold to be transported away to a distant exotic land. I can't tell you how many people received decorative pencils, compressed paper that would "bloom" into a flower in water, and sticks incense from me for Christmas from that shop. All their stuff fit neatly into a kid's budget.]
* Does Santa still come to town every Christmas Eve on a fire engine and give every child in town a bag of fruit, candy, and little trinkets? He was very a egalitarian Santa. Then we'd all attend the Christmas Eve service in a gorgeous church that was nearby the town square where the town Christmas tree was. It was ALMOST enough to make me want to remain religious.
* Is the Pikes Peak Marathon still held every year? Even as a kid, I realized that what those runners were doing was remarkable. They ran down the mountain along the cog track (what a killer for their knees) and swept past us on Ruxton Avenue, probably towards awaiting ambulances!
* Do they still have the "Buffalo barbecue" every summer in the park? Ground buffalo isn't exotic anymore, so probably not. I can even buy the stuff here in NYS in any supermarket. But back then, the thought of eating real buffalo drew a big crowd.
* Is Cherry Mash candy still available? They weren't exactly bars, more like mounds. Ground buffalo has made it to NYS, but not Cherry Mash!
* Did I ever hurt anyone when my brother and I sent snow balls tumbling down the foothills? They quickly tuned into mammoth hurtling walls of snow. I apologize if I did. I've felt badly about the whole thing for some time now. Again, if my mother had known...
* We didn't hurl fruitcakes back then, at least not the way you mean! .^_^.
Ah, Manitou Springs.