Emma Crawford Festival What would you do to remember a beloved member of the community? I bet coffin racing didn't come to mind.
Since October 1995, Manitou Springs, Colorado, has made this an annual tradition in honor of Emma Crawford. Of all things they could do, why coffin racing?
Emma came to Manitou Springs for the miracle mineral springs in 1889. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which back then was a death sentence. Unfortunately, she lost her battle on December 4, 1891. Her dying wish was to be buried on top of Red Mountain. Her fiance, William Hildebrand (a civil engineer on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway), and eleven other men carried her body up the 7,200 ft. slope. In 1929, after years of stormy weather, her remains washed down the side of the mountain. Only her casket handles, a nameplate and a few bones were found. Some say she haunts Red Mountain.
Emma was buried some years later in Manitou Springs' Crystal Valley Cemetery in an unmarked grave. A Memorial Stone was erected in 2004 by Historic Manitou Springs, Inc. (which operates the Manitou Springs Heritage Center) to honor her life.
Now, the townspeople honor her every year in late October with The Emma Crawford Festival. The 18th Annual Coffin Race and Parade takes place on October 26th, 2013, from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm.
"Ghost Stories of Old Manitou" Walking Tours start at the Manitou Springs Heritage Center (517 Manitou Avenue) beginning at 5:30 pm. Tours leave every 15 minutes until 9:00 pm. (See "Ghost Tours" page.)