Emma Crawford Festival
This weekend I plan to take my out of town guests to the coffin races. Since 1994, the community of Manitou Springs has memorialized Emma Crawford by holding coffin races.
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, at the age of 19. 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 Cemetery in an unmarked grave. A grave marker was erected in 2004 by Historic Manitou Springs, Inc. 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 27th, 2012, from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm.