by Angel Wolf
Relics of Manitou’s ever changing mercantile landscape lay like corpses – or, in some cases, like old tires reborn as flowerpots – throughout the town’s outskirts: a now abandoned gift shop/trading post and old west tourist town by the dry Ute Chief Spring and across from it, a stone staircase leading to nowhere; and storefronts turned apartment housing and a trolleyless set of trolley tracks far up Ruxton way.
These were once part of Manitou’s business district, reaching far throughout the town to accommodate the now defunct Red Mountain and Incline rides, yet now all attention has receded strictly to a small east-to-west stretch on Manitou Avenue from the Stage Coach restaurant to the roundabout in front of the Mountain Man. And even though members of the city council were swindled by a Chicago-based parking corporation, the soul of this town still belongs to the mom-and-pop shops that haven’t acquiesced to financial hardships and continue to drive the town’s tourism industry forward.
On Ruxton, slightly farther up the roundabout, we have art galleries, Ruffrano’s Hell’s Kitchen pizza, Ruxton’s Trading Post, the new Tophat Tattoo studio, the Phoenix Yoga Lounge, Seldom Open Antiques, The Climb Book Store, and quite a few others who’ve rolled the dice and taken it upon themselves not to let the once bustling Ruxton Ave. become just another relic in this town’s map. Yet the much parochial and complacent members of Manitou’s political leadership have unintentionally(?) failed to routinely route street sweepers this way along with the rest of the business district, and further punching these businesses in the face by making parking “Residential Only” on weekends. And though its more popular-star-quarterback-straight-A-homecoming-king sibling gets all the praise, Ruxton is being resurrected with the memory of what once was, and what will be again.