7 Minute Spring
In 1909, 7 Minute Spring was drilled adjacent to the site of the former Manitou House Hotel. Aptly named, the newly-drilled spring produced a geyser every 7 minutes.
Through the years, the 7 Minute Spring site has undergone many changes. Around 1920, a ramshackle building surrounded the spring offering concessions and curios. A sign read: “Mansions 7 Minute Spring,” indicating a connection with the nearby Mansions Hotel, built in 1875 and located just west of Manitou’s current fire station.
In the 1930s and 40s, the location took on a more rustic look. Enclosed in a rectangular log structure, 7 Minute Spring was still the main attraction among the curios and trinkets, but now a miniature railroad could be found encircling the property.
The 7 Minute Spring grounds eventually fell into disrepair. A few modest attempts were made to restore the spring, but none were very successful until the site was developed into 7 Minute Spring Park in 1993. The centerpiece of the park is a gazebo incorporating an 1880s design of a structure that once sheltered Ute Iron Spring on Ruxton Avenue. The park also features an outdoor amphitheater, sculpture garden, and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. 7 Minute Park is the crowning jewel in the legacy of achievements on behalf of the community by the Mineral Springs Foundation.
|Total Dissolved Solids
The Font Artists
The two 7 Minute Spring fonts were a collaboration. One by myself and one by Don Green, both with Maxine Green. It seems that our proposals had tied in the competition, and the committee decided to provide two fonts. Don’s piece would contain a spout in order for people to fill pitchers and jugs to take home. My sculpture was to simply display the water and be located inside the building. While working independently, we each took a cue from the lines and angles of our mountains and designed structures that would give strong accents to the flow of water. I made my design to accentuate that downward flow by having a pool near the top from which water would overflow onto ramps down two sides of the structure. On these ramps I installed glazed ceramic “washboard” plates arranged perpendicular to the fall of the water. This fracturing of the water gave it more visually interesting reflections and shadows, while also providing a different texture to the surface.
I was given the opportunity to design the ceramic components of the 7 Minute Spring’s two designs, one done by Don Green and the other by Bill Burgess. The basin- and ripple-designed tiles on each sculpture are glazed with a light blue color to compliment the weathered, oxidized patina of the metal forms: the sculpted font, done by Green, and the other by Burgess that is designed as an aesthetic extension to the font. The high-fire glazed tiles grace the sides of each construction and add interest and unity to each sculpture, while the basin lends ease of filling the containers brought by the visitors who come to this part of Manitou Springs. The gazebo adjacent to the 7 Minute Spring is used for many activities and brings visitors to enjoy the array of flower gardens, as well as an opportunity to taste the various differences of each mineral spring in the unique historic village of Manitou Springs.
The health-giving waters of Manitou’s famous mineral springs filter through deep underground cracks, crevasses, and rock faults picking up various minerals and colors that add an individual and distinctive taste to each of the eight working fountains in the town. This imagined subterranean passage served as the stimulus for the metal sculpture out of which gushes the 7 Minute Spring. The conglomeration of shapes, lines, rust colors, and mineral coating of the steel are intended to evoke the mysterious and tortured paths the water follows in order to reach its rather explosive arrival above the fountain’s distinctive blue ceramic basin and ripple band of tiles to the base.