List: The springs of Manitou Springs

December 8, 2015 Updated: December 8, 2015 at 2:12 pm
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photo - Stratton Spring in at "The Loop" in Manitou Springs where Ruxton and Manitou avenues meet.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Stratton Spring in at "The Loop" in Manitou Springs where Ruxton and Manitou avenues meet. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

The springs of Manitou Springs fell out of vogue until the 1980s, when there was a resurgence of interest in natural health treatments.

Local citizens became interested in the waters and in 1987 the Mineral Springs Foundation was born.

Eight springs in Manitou are under the purview of the foundation, while the rest are privately owned.

THE SPRINGS

Find a map of the eight springs managed by the Mineral Springs Foundation at manitoumineralsprings.org/map.html.

7 MINUTE

The 7 Minute Spring produced a geyser every seven minutes when it was first drilled in 1909. The spring is located across the street from Memorial Park in Manitou Springs. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Directions: Adjacent to Memorial Park, 502 Manitou Ave., across the street from SunWater Spa, 514 El Paso Blvd.

Taste: Slightly bubbly and sweet. It makes a perfect lemonade, said Mitzi Pasternak, lead aquatic therapist at SunWater Spa and mineral springs tour guide.

History: The spring was drilled adjacent to the former Manitou House Hotel in 1909 and produced a geyser every seven minutes. After years of disrepair, restoration efforts began in 1992 when a new well was drilled four times the depth of the original. The water now flows continuously and the SunWater Spa, which is located across the street, uses the spring water to fill its seven cedar hot soaking tubs.

Shoshone Springs is the warmest of the springs in Manitou Springs with a temperature of 70 degrees. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

SHOSHONE

Directions: Across from Barker House, 819 Manitou Ave.

Taste: The spring has the highest mineral content and alkalinity of all the downtown springs, according to the Mineral Springs Foundation.

History: The water here is the warmest, at over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and may contain the greatest amount of deep-seated water rising from the aquifer system. The round house that encapsulates the well was built during the 1890s using red-orange Lyons sandstone from Kenmuir Quarry which is now Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

NAVAJO

Directions: Behind Patsy's of Manitou Springs, 930 Manitou Ave., across from Manitou Springs Penny Arcade, 930 Manitou Ave.

Taste: Bubbly, sweet and mild.

History: Much of the water here supplied the nearby bathhouse and Manitou Mineral Water Co., a bottling plant that produced Manitou Table Water, Manitou Ginger Champagne, cola drinks and other beverages that were shipped around the country.

SODA

Soda Spring is inside the lobby of the Spa Building next to the Creekside restaurant. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Directions: Inside foyer of Manitou Spa, 934 Manitou Ave.

Taste: Bubbly with hints of club soda.

History: The spring was originally in an open air pavilion in Soda Springs Park. At some point the land was parceled out for use by the private sector and the font was enclosed in a building in the 1930s. The enclosure created unrest in the Native American community, which believed the springs should always be available to the public, as they had been for centuries. Legend has it they put a curse on the building and deemed any future inhabitants unsuccessful.

The building was condemned in 1999 and closed to the public. When renovations began in the early 2000s the Mineral Springs Foundation approached the builder about the font due to an agreement it made with the Native American community. The foundation agreed to make the water of any spring it helped restore available to the public all year round, said Dave Wolverton, head of the Mineral Springs Foundation. Two options were suggested: Keep the foyer of the building unlocked or construct a new font outside the building and bring out a string of water. Both options were rejected by the builder and the font is now managed by the homeowners association in the building.

Cheyenne Springs flows next to Manitou Avenue near the Spa Building in Manitou Springs Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

CHEYENNE

Directions: Small park in front of Manitou Spa, 934 Manitou Ave.

Taste: Sweet.

History: The soda spring was developed after the 1890s when the Manitou Mineral Water Co. built a stone house around it and used the water and gas in the bottling plant. Now the house is shut off and the water is pumped to a cast bronze font a few feet away.

WHEELER

Directions: On Park Avenue, next to the post office, 307 Canon Ave.

Taste: The year-round warm water has the highest concentration of copper and feels less effervescent and sweet to the palate.

History: It was drilled in 1920 by the son-in-law of Jerome B. Wheeler, a famous, wealthy banker and miner. Located just across the street from the Cliff House, it was visited by many guests of the famous hotel. The fountain used to erupt regularly but now produces a steady flow after being restored in 1989 by the city of Manitou Springs and the Mineral Springs Foundation.

STRATTON

Stratton Spring in at "The Loop" in Manitou Springs where Ruxton and Manitou avenues meet. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Directions: On the corner outside The Loop, 965 Manitou Ave.

Taste: Sweet and bubbly soda water.

History: Millionaire and philanthropist Winfield Scott Stratton brought transportation, jobs and a trolley to Manitou. The turnaround point for the line was on the corner of Ruxton and Manitou avenues and nicknamed "The Loop." The popular Mexican restaurant The Loop now holds court in the same spot. The well was drilled in 1936 and hit water flowing at 25 gallons per minute. Prior to industrialization, Native American tribes would lay gifts, including tobacco, at the foot of the spring. Today the spring is topped by a bronze sculpture of a young girl reaching down to scoop the water.

TWIN

Directions: From Manitou Avenue, walk up Ruxton Avenue two blocks and Twin Springs is on the left.

Taste: Tangy and minerally.

History: The strong-flowing spring has also been known as Crosby Spring, Twin Link Spring and Twin Lithia Spring for the traces of lithium found in the water. Lithium has been used since the 1960s for treatment of bipolar disorder. Originally drilled in the 1920s, the spring was restored in 1994 by the Mineral Springs Foundation and its private owner, Kerstin Ericsson.

IRON GEYSER

Directions: Upper Ruxton Avenue near Pikes Peak Cog Railway, 515 Ruxton Ave.

Taste: Iron rich and strong-tasting.

History: The water flowing along the upper Ruxton corridor is the richest in iron and fluoride, among other minerals, and has attracted throngs of tourists and health-seekers. Joseph G. Heistand, a photographer, mineralogist and taxidermist, drilled the geyser in 1910 adjacent to the trolley line upstream from the Colorado Midland Railway viaduct. Research suggests the pavilion surrounding the geyser could be the oldest standing structure sheltering a mineral spring in Colorado. At one time water shot up into the air from the ground similar to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.

UTE CHIEF

Directions: Manitou Avenue and Serpentine Road

Taste: This font has the lowest mineral content but still has two and a half times the mineral content of Perrier mineral water.

History: The spring is owned iby O Yoon Kwon, a Korean pharmacist living in New York City who owns the Ute Chief bottling plant. It was available to the public in the past but shut down about three to four years ago because of safety concerns, Wolverton said. The Mineral Springs Foundation offered to take over the spring and refurbish the location, but Kwon didn't move forward on the proposal.

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