COBWEB CORNERS: More tourist stories
By Mel McFarland
When you have a place for tourists to stay, like I mentioned last week, you need something for them to do. In this area, that is no problem. I do want to mention here that some of our favorite tourist activities came from the need to entertain. Sure, there are Flying W, Garden of the Gods, Pike's Peak, etc., but we have some good stories too.
The Cliff Dwellings were put here for the tourists in 1906. The Mount Manitou Incline started as a way to supply pipe up to Ruxton Park for our water system. Rather than abandon it, it was rebuilt with seats. There was another incline up Red Mountain. If it had not been built, there would be no Emma Crawford Coffin Race! There was even a wall around Balanced Rock and you had to pay to see it. What would Manitou be without the arcade?
Now, I have mentioned that I collect post cards, and before there were such, over in the arcade a variety of photographers would sell their shots of our scenery. A bit over a hundred years ago the post office allowed people to actually mail cards with pictures on them, as long as they followed the rules for envelopes. Later on, after great demand, People were allowed to write messages on the same side as the address.
Along Manitou Avenue, some retail locations were only a few feet deep, and long, for special summer businesses. Some of these were places where you could get your own postcard made. These places had stuffed animals, such as buffalo, deer, elk, mountain lions, and bear. You could get your picture taken next to, or on top of these animals. Some even had saddles and the like. For a few cents you could get one or more copies of the picture in minutes.
These shops vanished about fifty years ago, some becoming T shirt shops. I have a shot of myself as a "little fella," seated behind the rack of a tremendous buck. I sometimes wonder where those animals went - probably dumped, all threadbare from thousands of tourists sitting and leaning on them. You know one Manitou place that has not changed much: Patsy's.