COBWEB CORNERS: Remembering fun places

By Mel McFarland

       I just noticed something the other day. Over in Manitou the last miniature golf place is now a garden shop! As a young person, I visited miniature golf places in Manitou regularly. I remember the one where the Taos places are just below Manitou High School.
       I even remember The Miracle House! Oh that was a fun place, the miracle was that it was able to survive as long as it did. On the outside it looked all right, but inside was another story. The walls were not straight, the floor and the ceiling were off too! A stream of water from the faucet did not go where you expected! An optical illusion caused people across the room to look huge, while the other way they looked smaller. It was not even done with mirrors! Next door were two miniature golf courses, one easy, the other a bit more difficult. In the '60s there was a trampoline center along the avenue, about where the 7-11 is located.
       Up in downtown Manitou, the Arcade has changed some, but still retains some resemblance to the past. The old penny machines are about worn out, but nickel and dime machines can still be found. I never got the hang of skiball. Then the more modern video games came along, but still pin ball hung on. My favorite thing, which I have mentioned here a couple times, was the stuffed animals where you could get a quick picture made into a post card. These stalls became Tshirt shops.
       There are still some fun places in the area. If you look, there are some stores using very classic buildings, such as the Gardiner tents from the old tuberculosis sanitariums. Patsy's is a grand landmark! Across the street you can see the stairway up to where there were several grand hotels. In the '50s, every afternoon people came down this way from hotels and rental cabins in the evening.
       I do miss the old Indian statues at the west entrance to Manitou, mainly the one at the spring. The one there now replaced a more robust one that was destroyed nearly thirty years ago, I think. There was another on a plinth across the street in the 1950s. The businesses on the west end benefited from the bypass. There are not many runaway trucks coming down US 24 into some of these buildings anymore!