Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Just west of Colorado Springs, CO, on U.S. Highway 36, are the Manitou Cliff Homes, a privately owned tourist destination that has replica Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and informative exhibits. In Manitou Springs, Highway 24. In 1904, the attraction was built using copies and reconstructions of Pueblo cliff homes, and it was made public in 1907. A connected private museum showcases professionally produced exhibits about the Ancestral Puebloan peoples, including displays of tools, ceramics, weapons, and archaeological relics from Indigenous sites and/or replicas made by the firm that runs the site.

Harold Ashenhurst and Virginia McClurg had the idea to establish the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum and Preserve. In order to conserve and safeguard the exquisite masonry building of the cliff dwellers, which at the time was unprotected from vandals and artifact hunters, it was decided to establish a museum. The negative effects of these irresponsible individuals posed a threat to the outstanding architectural accomplishments of the Ancestral Puebloans. Dr. E. L. Hewett, the creator of the Antiquities Act and director of American Archaeology, praised our preserve in 1907 for its meticulous craftsmanship and educational intent.

A few miles west of Colorado Springs is a faux Indian settlement called the Manitou Cliff Dwellings that was created to replicate the far more well-known ruins of Mesa Verde National Park.

The replica homes were built as part of a business initiative to attract visitors away from Southwest archaeological sites by building a Pueblo home that was simpler for early 20th century American tourists to reach. Even though the Manitou Cliff Dwellings are not authentic, visitors can walk through the replica homes, and different displays and informative materials try to give the entire attraction a sense of authenticity.

You can design your own trip since the Manitou Cliff Dwellings are accessible for self-guided walking tours. You have the option of staying to explore all afternoon or leaving right away. However, it will take you around 1-2 hours to see the full museum and gift store area.

The 40-room facility was formerly situated close to McElmo Canyon, which is in Colorado's southwest region close to Mesa Verde and Dolores. These cliff homes were moved between 1904 and 1907, when the preserve was made accessible to the public. The Colorado Cliff Dwellers Association's founding founder Virginia McClurg engaged William Crosby and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Ruins Company to start this process. They aimed to stop looters and relic hunters from damaging and destroying the Ancestral Puebloan architecture.

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