COBWEB CORNERS: Manitouís former limestone quarry

By Mel McFarland

       A while back I wrote about the limestone quarry near the Midland railroad tracks above Manitou. I have learned a bit more about its opening in 1918.
       The builder was the Gan-nister Mining Company of Canon City. Its president, F. Jewett, said that virtually the entire output of the quarry would be sold to the Colorado Fuel and Iron company of Pueblo for use in its big smelters.
       Miles Cook, who negotiated the sale of the property to Gannister, looked for more property in that immediate vicinity. The company expanded into the largest limestone operation in the Pike's Peak Region. Jewett thought that the quarry had enough limestone to furnish a large output for many years.
       The company had, at the start, a weekly output of 15 carloads of lime rock. It was refined in the company's kilns at Canon City. The company's was said to be superior in quality to almost any field in the state. Side tracks from the Colorado Midland railroad had been built, and the rock was loaded directly from the quarrying pits into the cars.
       The owners soon found that it was expensive to ship the limestone to Canon City, then back to Pueblo. Ovens were built to roast and refine the rock.
       Eventually the operation was sold to the Golden Cycle Mill, which operated it until the 1950s.
       The Midland Terminal had special cars to haul the limestone from Manitou to the gold mill. The cars, liberally coated in white dust, had large doors in their roofs. Today the hillside still bears scars of the operation, if you know where to look. The spot is the valley just north of the Manitou water tank.
       Those of us who are interested in history can get really frustrated with the problems of the past. Manitou and Colorado Springs both did not like to recognize industrial activities. Old pictures rarely showed the working places that were all around. And in the ones that did, artists often changed how such a place looked! Like this spot!