Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cañon City

Saturday's posting was all about Cañon City's Skyline Drive, though those pictures and the ones that follow all were taken on the same ride, I've decided to try and separate things a bit more this time around. Let's see how that works out for you readers.

Continued from yesterday's posting:

Having ridden the Skyline Drive twice, it was time to explore some of the old buildings I'd glimpsed as I traversed the town of Cañon City itself. I'd read it boasts or is home to several prisons. The main one that is obvious to anyone riding on US50 heading west is the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility.

Courtesy of the Prison's website
From their website:
Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility (CTCF) is the department’s oldest facility, originally constructed in 1871 as a territorial prison and became a state prison in 1876. The original building was located in the middle of a twenty-five acre site donated by local settler Jonathan Draper. It was constructed of native stone which was quarried on-site.

Sorry for the small picture above, let's just say I felt funny about stopping in front of their main gate, with armed guards in their towers looking down at me as I took pictures!

The state's Prison Museum is located here in Cañon city of course. The CTCF is built on land which butts up against a ridgeline on the west side of the city. They've crammed a lot of buildings in those 25 original acres. I found what used to be the Deputy Warden's house on the east side of the prison:

Watchtower and the Deputy Warden's old house

You can see an active guard tower above and it turns out, it was convict labor that was used to build Skyline Drive!

On the west side of the prison, up on a small rocky hill, and nowadays partially obscured by a large tree, the remnants of an old watchtower.

That's US50 in the foreground, I'm standing on a railroad line
For a photo of this tower, Circa 1890
go to DPL: Call# x-21058

Main Street, which kind of parallels US50 but is much more sedate in terms of traffic; I rode down to a building I recalled seeing on Denver's Historical Photos archive:

Pretty much looks like when it was first built, the town having grown around it

Built in 1874, for a photo of the McGee Building Circa 1880
go to DPL: Call# x-6967

Turns out, there's several buildings still standing that date back to the early part of the last century. This small town is worth a visit as you ride your way to perhaps the Royal Gorge Bridge or points west on US50. Gorgeous canyon scenery is guaranteed west of this town.

The return home from Cañon City proved to be a bit more "time intensive" than I had planned and so will be detailed in my next posting. Here's some more then and now shots but from a site I found on Google while researching the photos that I had taken.

St. Cloud Hotel 2007
Courtesy: realty
For a photo of the St. Cloud Hotel Circa 1883
go to DPL: Call# x-17981


chessie said...

Excellent...I'm coming out to ride CO. in the near nice to see things off the "beaten" path!

Charlie6 said...

thanks Chessie, CO weather can range from cold to hot within hours of each other....throw in a bit of wind, hale, rain and did I mention wind and you get lots of varied conditions. Don't leave the cold weather gear at home, I'm just saying....