Two-Lane Tidbit: Warden’s House, Cañon City, CO

Cañon City, CO is home to more than the famous Royal Gorge Bridge, it’s also home to the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility. Despite digging we can’t quite get a straight story, but as we once heard, way back in 1868 (before Colorado was a state), Cañon City had the choice of the state prison or the university. They chose the former and Boulder became home to the University of Colorado. Opened in 1871, the Territorial Prison is the oldest jail in operation in the Centennial State and in its past has housed some famous inmates, including Colorado’s Notorious Cannibal, Alferd Packer (a story for another day), and the Unibomber. The Warden’s House, located next to the prison, was built in 1907 using stone quarried from behind the prison, labor from the prisoners, and was heated by the prison’s boilers. It remained a private residence until the 1970s, after which it housed Department of Corrections staff until 2007. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, and a study determined that it needs more than $500,000 to renovate. As there is no funding currently available it has been added to Colorado Preservation’s list of endangered places in hopes that it will someday be rehabilitated.

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