The first Europeans to explore the rugged beauty of our area were fur trappers. They named the creek that rushed from the Ute trail around Pikes Peak the
Fountaine qui Bouille (the Fountain that Boils) in honor of the many natural springs tributary to the stream. Today Fountain Creek passes through the south
side of the Blue Skies Inn property.
The advent of railroads to the Pikes Peak area brought the inevitable surveyors, two of whom were so struck by the beauty of Ute holy grounds in 1859 that
they named them "The Garden of the Gods."
Soon after the building of railroads, Dr. William Bell chose to build a home here in a city that was developing as a a town dedicated to healing for Easterners
afflicted with "consumption" and asthma. The pure mountain air and the healing waters of the natural springs were part of the cure.
The town that Dr. Bell founded here was ultimately named "Manitou Springs." Dr. Bell platted out a ten-acre estate just east of downtown on Fountain Creek
on Manitou Avenue. He called his estate "Briarhurst" and in 1871 built a magnificent manor house and carriage house.
The original manor house burned down twelve years later, whereupon Dr. Bell built an even larger version. That mansion survived the intervening years well
and is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dr. Bell's Carriage House, which is (we think) the oldest standing structure in Manitou Springs, was used for many years for their carriage and horses. The
eastern part of the Briarhurst estate which hosted this charming carriage house -- a splendid example of the Gothic Revival architecture popular at the end
of the Victorian era -- was split off from the manor house portion of the Briarhurst estate and was sadly neglected for years.
The Carriage House was being used as a storage shed for the Buffalo Bill Wax Museum when Sally first discovered the property in 1995. It has been restored and
renovated and now serves as the innkeepers' home.