Cañon City (/ˈkænjən/ KAN-yən)[8] is a home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Fremont County, Colorado, United States.[1][9] The city population was 17,141 at the 2020 United States Census.[5] Cañon City is the principal city of the Cañon City, CO Micropolitan Statistical Area and is a part of the Front Range Urban Corridor. Cañon City straddles the easterly flowing Arkansas River and is a popular tourist destination for sightseeing, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing. The city is known for its many public parks, fossil discoveries, Skyline Drive, The Royal Gorge railroad, the Royal Gorge, and extensive natural hiking paths.[10] In 1994, the United States Board on Geographic Names approved adding the tilde to the official name of Cañon City, a change from Canon City as the official name in its decisions of 1906 and 1975.[11] It is one of the few U.S. cities to have the Spanish Ñ in its name, others being La Cañada Flintridge, California; Española, New Mexico; Peñasco, New Mexico; and Peñitas, Texas.

Cañon City, Colorado
Downtown Cañon City, 2010
Downtown Cañon City, 2010
Flag of Cañon City, Colorado
Climate Capital of Colorado
Gateway to the Authentic West
Location of the City of Cañon City in Fremont County, Colorado.
Location of the City of Cañon City in Fremont County, Colorado.
Cañon City is located in the United States
Cañon City
Cañon City
Location of the City of Cañon City in the United States.
Coordinates: 38°26′35″N 105°13′13″W / 38.44306°N 105.22028°W / 38.44306; -105.22028[3]
Country United States
State Colorado
CountyFremont County[2]
IncorporatedApril 3, 1872[4]
 • TypeHome rule municipality[1]
 • MayorPreston Troutman
 • Total12.404 sq mi (32.127 km2)
 • Land12.392 sq mi (32.095 km2)
 • Water0.012 sq mi (0.032 km2)
Elevation5,312 ft (1,619 m)
 • Total17,141
 • Density1,383/sq mi (534/km2)
 • Metro
 • CSA
 • Front Range
Time zoneUTC−07:00 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−06:00 (MDT)
ZIP codes[7]
81212, 81215 (PO Box)
Area code719
FIPS code08-11810
GNIS ID2409976[6]
Major Routes

History edit

Cañon City was laid out on January 17, 1858, during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, but then the land was left idle. A new company "jumped the claim" to the town's site in late 1859, and it put up the first building in February 1860. This town was originally intended as a commercial center for mining in South Park and the upper Arkansas River.[12]

1860s to 1900 edit

Bird's eye view of dwellings, commercial and civic buildings between the Arkansas River and mountains in This drawing of Canon City, Colorado, 1882.

In 1861, the town raised two companies of volunteers to serve with the Second Colorado Infantry during the American Civil War. This regiment fought in skirmishes in nearby New Mexico and as far east as the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) and Missouri before ending its organization in 1865.

In 1862, A. M. Cassaday drilled for petroleum 6 miles (10 km) north of Cañon City, close to a known oil seep. Cassaday struck oil at the depth of 50 feet (15 m), and he completed the first commercial oil well west of the Mississippi River. He drilled five or six more wells nearby, and he refined kerosene and fuel oil from the petroleum. Cassaday sold the products in Denver.[13]

A number of metal ore smelters were built in Cañon City following the discovery of gold at Cripple Creek in 1891.

Historical designations edit

The Cañon City Downtown Historic District is an historic district that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.[14]

Geography edit

Cañon City is located in eastern Fremont County. It sits primarily on the north side of the Arkansas River, just east of where the river exits from Royal Gorge. It is bordered to the south by the unincorporated community of Lincoln Park. Via U.S. Route 50, Pueblo is 39 miles (63 km) to the east and Poncha Springs is 62 miles (100 km) to the west. Colorado Springs is 45 miles (72 km) to the northeast.

At the 2020 United States Census, the city had a total area of 7,939 acres (32.127 km2) including 7.9 acres (0.032 km2) of water.[5]

Climate edit

The city's nickname, "the Climate Capital of Colorado", derives from the combination of unique geography and 5,300-foot (1,600 m) elevation protecting the city from harsh weather conditions. The average daily high temperature in January is 14 °F (7.8 °C) warmer in Cañon City than in Grand Junction, even though the elevation of Cañon City is higher.[15]

The average minimum temperature in January is 20 °F (−7 °C). During July, overnight lows are 59 °F (15 °C) on average. Cañon City has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk).

Climate data for Cañon City, 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1893–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Mean maximum °F (°C) 68.1
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 49.4
Daily mean °F (°C) 33.9
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 18.4
Mean minimum °F (°C) −1.5
Record low °F (°C) −24
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.55
Average snowfall inches (cm) 6.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 3.7 4.7 5.6 6.8 8.4 7.4 11.6 12.0 6.5 5.4 4.5 4.1 80.7
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.4 3.9 3.0 2.1 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 2.5 3.8 20.1
Source 1: NOAA[16]
Source 2: National Weather Service[17]

Neighborhoods edit

Located in Cañon City's National Historic District, the St. Cloud Hotel has stood at the corner of 7th and Main since 1888. It is currently unoccupied and in disrepair after a string of failed attempts to revive the business. The hotel was moved, brick by brick, from Silver Cliff, Colorado, in 1888.
Royal Gorge Bridge in 1987
Arkansas Riverwalk in Cañon City is part of John Griffin Regional Park. It is owned and operated by the Cañon City Area Metropolitan Recreation and Park District.

As Cañon City has grown, the city has both annexed surrounding communities and developed new subdivisions to create the city that exists today.

  • Dawson Ranch
  • Eagle Heights
  • Fireman's Bluff
  • Four Mile Ranch
  • Gold Cañon
  • Meadowbrook
  • Orchard Park
  • South Cañon, a historic neighborhood located on the west side south of the Arkansas River
  • Sunrise Mesa
  • Western Meadows
  • Wolf Park
  • Five Star Mobile Home park

Parks and recreation edit

Cañon City is home to many city-owned parks, as well as parks owned by the Cañon City Area Recreation and Park District.

City-owned parks edit

  • Centennial Park, commonly known as "Duck Park"
  • Denver & Rio Grande Western Park, commonly known as "Depot Park"
  • Greydene Park
  • Magdalene Park
  • Margaret Park (originally Margarette Park)
  • Mountain View Park, home of the city's skate park
  • Red Canyon Park, a 500-acre (200 ha) park located 10 miles (16 km) north of the city
  • Royal Gorge Park, home of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
  • Rudd Park
  • Temple Canyon Park
  • Veterans Park, known for Entertainment in the Park concerts during the summer

Cañon City Area Recreation and Park District edit

The Cañon City Area Recreation and Park District, commonly called the Rec District, was created in 1965[18] to better serve the community's recreational needs with parks, the R.C. Icabone Pool (a public swimming pool), a dog park, an archery range and a ropes course along with a rec district office with a community room.

The following parks are operated and owned by the Rec District:

  • John Griffin Park, located near the Sell's Avenue Trailhead of the Riverwalk
  • Harrison Park, the former playground of the former Harrison Elementary School which had been relocated to a newer, larger school building housing both elementary and middle school students
  • Pathfinder Regional Park, a joint-managed park located in the county between Cañon City and Florence
  • Rouse Park

In addition, the city maintains the Tunnel Drive Trail, a four-mile long out-and-back trail that follows the course of an old irrigation canal. The trailhead is located at the west end of Tunnel Drive, just inside the city limits.

The Guy U. Hardy Award for Service to Outdoor Recreation was created in the name of Guy U. Hardy to recognize people in the community who "help preserve, protect and advocate for providing outdoor recreation opportunities." Hardy had a significant impact on outdoor recreational opportunities in the Royal Gorge area.[19]

Demographics edit

Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2020 census,[20] there were 17,141 people residing in the city. The population density was 1,312.1 inhabitants per square mile (506.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.4% White, 1.0% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.1% Asian, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 10.2% of the population. There were 7,448 households, out of which 22.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them. The average household size was 2.05.

The age distribution was 22.6% under the age of 18 and 24.6% who were 65 years of age or older. Women represent 52% of the population.

The median income for a household in the city was $46,464. The per capita income for the city was $25,232. About 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line.

Law edit

Along with a police department, sheriff's office and detention center, and a municipal court, Cañon City is home to the courts for Fremont County and the 11th Judicial District of Colorado. It has been described as "America’s cheeriest prison town".[21]

Government edit

Cañon City is governed via the Council–manager government system. The city council consists of seven members who are elected from districts. The mayor is elected by the entire city.

Economy edit

The area being situated along the Arkansas River has allowed for soil suitable to orchards, ranching, and farming, but has largely grown to rely on the large number of state and federal prisons in the area, as well as to tourism, education, manufacturing, medicine and many other sectors.

Major employers edit

Cañon City depends on the Colorado Department of Corrections and federal prison system, and its tourism industry which includes the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, Red Canyon Park, The Abbey winery, and various other attractions. The major local employers include downtown shops, the entrepreneurial TechSTART initiative that attracts major technology-based entrepreneurs, and Centura Health (owner of St. Thomas More Hospital and the Progressive Care Center).

Prisons edit

Prisons have served an important significance to both Cañon City and the surrounding areas of Fremont County, as well as to the state of Colorado. The Museum of Colorado Prisons has been given the role of preserving and presenting the past of the state's corrections system. Colorado Department of Corrections operates the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in Cañon City.[22] In addition to several correctional facilities near Cañon City in unincorporated areas in Fremont County, Colorado State Penitentiary, the location of the state death row and execution chamber[23] is in Fremont County.[24] Other state prisons in Fremont County include Arrowhead Correctional Center,[25] Centennial Correctional Facility,[26] Fremont Correctional Facility,[27] Four Mile Correctional Center,[28] ADX Florence, and Skyline Correctional Center.[29]

On October 3, 1929, a riot at the prison claimed 13 lives.[30]

The Colorado Women's Correctional Facility near Cañon City in unincorporated Fremont County was decommissioned on June 4, 2009.[31][32]

Tourism edit

From Cañon City's Downtown Historic District located in the heart of the city to the Royal Gorge Bridge, there are many places to see and visit in the area. [citation needed]

Media edit

Cañon City is home to a daily newspaper, called the Cañon City Daily Record; an FM radio station, Star Country 104.5 FM; and a long-running AM radio station, known as KRLN NewsRadio 1400 AM.

Transportation edit

Transportation in the Cañon City area consists of cab service, shuttle bus service, and a downtown wagon ride. The Royal Gorge Bridge trolley had also been used during special events (it was destroyed in the Royal Gorge Fire, but it was reserved for use by the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. Jeep tours and Segway tours are also available to explore local parks such as Red Canyon Park or scenic places such as Skyline Drive.

The town is served by the Fremont County airport (1V6) which is 6 miles to the East and currently has no scheduled passenger service.[33] Within an hour's drive is the Colorado Springs airport with daily service by major airlines.

Major roads and highways edit

The area is served by one state and one U.S. highway with a mix of city and county roads to navigate the city or connect to neighboring areas.

State and national highways edit

City and county roads edit

  • 4th Street - connecting Downtown with South Cañon, Oak Creek Grade, Prospect Heights, and Capitol Hill
  • 5th Street - serves as a north-south connector from Downtown north, allows traffic from Skyline Drive to return to U.S. 50
  • 9th Street - serves as a carrier of CO 115 from the roundabout to the junction with U.S. 50, heads north and ends at Washington Street
  • 15th Street - main route north to the hospital, a fire station and a small cluster of businesses
  • Orchard Avenue
  • Raynolds Avenue/Ash Street - runs from center of East Cañon to CO 115 via a county road, changes to a gravel road and becomes Chandler Road
  • MacKenzie / Four Mile Lane - routed to connect from CO 115 as a carrier of CR 20 until the city limits, at Hwy 50, heads north as Four Mile Lane

Bus service edit

  • Cañon City is part of Colorado's Bustang network. It is on the Alamosa-Pueblo Outrider line.[34]

Scenic routes edit

  • Skyline Drive, major scenic route overlooking Cañon City that was originally built by local inmates at the Territorial Prison

Railroads edit

Education edit

See also Cañon City School District

Cañon City's school system is under the direction of the Cañon City School District Fremont RE-1.[35] The district currently has four elementary schools, one charter school, one school serving as both an elementary school and middle school, one middle school and one high school, Cañon City High School.

For the higher education needs of the community, Pueblo Community College provides a branch campus on the west end of the city along U.S. Highway 50.

Places of interest edit

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places edit

Other sites edit

Defunct sites edit

Notable people edit

In popular culture edit

The movie Canon City (1948) depicts the real-life 1947 escape of 12 prisoners from nearby Colorado State Penitentiary.[36]

A diner in Cañon City is the setting of the song "Navajo Rug", which was named by the Western Writers of America as one of the Top 100 Western Songs of all time.[37]

A fictional version of the city is depicted in Philip K. Dick's alternate history novel The Man in the High Castle (1963) and its eponymous 2015 television series adaptation. Cañon City is in an ostensibly-demilitarized "neutral zone" between the puppet regimes of the Japanese Pacific States, in the west, and Greater Nazi Reich, in the east, in the former United States.[38]

Sister cities edit

Cañon City's sister cities are:[39]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Active Colorado Municipalities". Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "Colorado Counties". State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Local Government. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  3. ^ "2014 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Places". United States Census Bureau. July 1, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  4. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. December 1, 2004. Retrieved September 2, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d "Decennial Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data". United States Census Bureau, United States Department of Commerce. August 12, 2021. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  6. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Cañon City, Colorado
  7. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original on September 3, 2007. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
  8. ^ New details released in Cañon City manhunt. KOAA5. January 8, 2024. Event occurs at 00:04. Retrieved May 2, 2024 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  10. ^ Welch, Michael; Turner, Fatiniyah (2007). "Private Corrections, Financial Infrastructure, and Transportation: The New Geo-Economy of Shipping Prisoners". Social Justice. 34 (3): 57. JSTOR 29768464.
  11. ^ "Cañon City". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  12. ^ "Canon City, its rise and progress," Canon City Times, November 10, 1860, p.4.
  13. ^ Francis M. Van Tuyl and Arthur E. Brainerd (1960), Historical summary, in Mineral Resources of Colorado First Sequel, Denver: Colorado Mineral Resources Board, p.491-492.
  14. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  15. ^ "United States of America Travel Weather Averages (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
  16. ^ "U.S. Climate Normals Quick Access – Station: Canon City, CO". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  17. ^ "NOAA Online Weather Data – NWS Pueblo". National Weather Service. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  18. ^ "Cañon City Area Recreation and Park District: About Us". Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  19. ^ "Nominees for the Guy U. Hardy Award for Service to Outdoor Recreation are due Sunday". Cañon City Daily Record. November 25, 2019. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  20. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  21. ^ "America's cheeriest prison town does not want to lock more people up". The Economist. August 10, 2017.
  22. ^ "Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility Archived 2014-08-09 at the Wayback Machine." Colorado Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "125 West US 50 Canon City, CO, 81215."
  23. ^ "Death Row FAQ." (Archive) Colorado Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010.
  24. ^ "Colorado State Penitentiary Archived 2014-08-04 at the Wayback Machine." Colorado Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "E US Highway 50 Evans Blvd Cañon City, CO, 81215"
  25. ^ "Arrowhead Correctional Center Archived 2012-08-01 at" Colorado Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "E US Highway 50 Evans Blvd Cañon City, CO, 81215"
  26. ^ "Centennial Correctional Facility Archived 2014-08-04 at the Wayback Machine." Colorado Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "E US Highway 50 Evans Blvd Cañon City, CO, 81215"
  27. ^ "Fremont Correctional Facility Archived 2014-08-04 at the Wayback Machine." Colorado Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "E US Highway 50 Evans Blvd Cañon City, CO, 81215"
  28. ^ "Four Mile Correctional Center Archived 2014-08-04 at the Wayback Machine." Colorado Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "E US Highway 50 Evans Blvd Cañon City, CO, 81215"
  29. ^ "Skyline Correctional Center Archived 2014-08-04 at the Wayback Machine." Colorado Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "E US Highway 50 & Evans Blvd Cañon City, CO, 81215"
  30. ^ "1929 Colorado State Penitentiary riot". The Archive.
  31. ^ Mitchell, Kirk. "Cañon City women's prison closes today." The Denver Post. June 4, 2009. Retrieved on August 15, 2010.
  32. ^ "GDE Testing Centers by City Archived 2010-04-20 at the Wayback Machine." Colorado Department of Education. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "Colorado Women's Correctional Facility 3800 Grandview Ave. | Canon City, CO 81215."
  33. ^ "Airport". Archived from the original on February 13, 2018.
  34. ^ "Bustang Schedule". RideBustang. CDOT.
  35. ^ "Cañon City Schools". Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  36. ^ Canon City. IMDb. June 30, 1948. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  37. ^ Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on October 19, 2010.
  38. ^ Enger, Jeremy (November 19, 2015). "Red, Reich and Blue: Building the World of 'The Man in the High Castle'". The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  39. ^ "Sister Cities: Valdai, Novgorod Oblast, Russia". Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center. November 21, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2021.

External links edit