Manitou's other Incline


The old cog railway heads up Red Mountain.
  • The old cog railway heads up Red Mountain.
I "know" a lot about Red Mountain.

I put know in quotations for a reason. As is the case with a lot of Manitou history, the local knowledge of Red Mountain is part fact, part fiction. And as a long-time Manitoid, I'm sure I'm not immune to the exaggerations and story-telling common in our local culture. But here's what I "know":

• The famous Emma Crawford, for whom our annual coffin races were named, was buried on Red Mountain. During a particularly bad rainstorm, her coffin emerged from its burial site, drifted down the side of the mountain, and apparently floated down Manitou Avenue. She was later reburied elsewhere.

• There used to be a cog railway that went up the side of Red Mountain, and it was even steeper than the famous Manitou Incline. It was built under questionable quality standards, and never quite reached the popularity of the Incline. It closed after a few years in business. 

• The old Red Mountain cog railway took people up to some sort of bar and dance floor. So basically, people would get slammed and then take this super-dangerous train back down the mountain. The foundations from these structures are still visible.

• The climb up Red Mountain isn't as hard as the Incline, but it's damn steep in places and the view is top-notch.

Anyway, I have no idea how much of that is true and how much is local legend. But the good news is that I can find out soon. The Manitou Springs Heritage Center is putting on an exhibit on the old Red Mountain cog railway. And it looks like those folks will also be discussing poor Emma. 

If you want to check it out, the details are below:
Red Mountain – Manitou’s Other Incline

An exhibit on the fascinating history of this little known and short-lived second incline railway

Manitou Springs Heritage Center
517 Manitou Avenue

Friday, August 15, 2014

Red Mountain Incline Exhibit Opens at Manitou Springs Heritage Center
Manitou Springs, CO - (August 9, 2014) – The Manitou Springs Heritage Center will open its newest exhibit titled “Red Mountain – Manitou’s Other Incline” on Friday, August 15th from 5:00-8:00pm during the Third Friday ArtWalk.

The exhibit features rare photos and information on this little-known incline railway that operated intermittently from 1912-1922 and is associated with the famed story of Emma Crawford.

Heritage Center volunteer David Walker has assembled information, photos and artifacts from the Heritage Center’s archives and other collections. “It was a challenge tracking down information on the Red Mountain Incline. Compared to the more famous Manitou Incline, it was almost like this second funicular railway didn’t want to be found.” stated Walker. “A last minute find of images in the Old Colorado City History Center and Tom Daniels collections was like striking gold!” The Heritage Center still hopes to find someone who has family photos, memorabilia, or information from an ancestor who actually rode the Red Mountain Incline.

The same evening anyone looking for something to do after the Third Friday ArtWalk ends can find out “What Goes Bump in the Night” during a Paranormal Investigation hosted by the Heritage Center. Participants will go ghost hunting with the experienced, Manitou-based Haunted Dimensions team of investigators using their equipment. Tickets are $10 and participants meet at the Center at 10 pm. No reservations are necessary.

The Manitou Springs Heritage Center is dedicated to the Preservation, Interpretation and Education about the History and Culture of Manitou Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. It’s regular hours are Fridays through Mondays from 12 to 4pm. To find out more about the Manitou Springs Heritage Center visit the website or contact the Center at the addresses and number below.

Manitou Springs Heritage Center
517 Manitou Avenue
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
(719) 685-1454
Open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from Noon to 4:00 pm

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