A Brief History of Cañon City, Colorado
The Cañon City Historic District was first organized by the Cañon City Claim Club in March of 1860. The six members were responsible for developing minerals in the area. Residents in the area voted to name the settlement “Town of Canyon City” but the reporter for the meeting used the Spanish “cañon” spelling, giving the city its official name. As prospectors and settlers streamed in from the east in search of mineral and agricultural riches and a new way of life, the town grew rapidly and by 1862, one year after the onset of the Civil War, Cañon City was the booming county seat of Fremont County.
Located just eight miles east of the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park on Highway 50 (also known as Royal Gorge Boulevard), Main Street Cañon City offers a diverse, historic downtown commercial district. Downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the largest intact historical districts in Colorado. The 80 buildings comprising the district form a cohesive grouping that reflects Cañon City’s development as a regional commercial center. The authentic small-town Main Street atmosphere is evident from “Old Max” (the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility) at First and Main Street to the Post Office at 15th and Main. A stroll down Main Street will introduce you to the city’s cultural and social center.
Coffee shops and restaurants featuring Mexican, Italian, Chinese and down-home cuisine, as well as a variety of watering holes, are abundant along Main Street. Families can enjoy sharing a handcrafted pizza while being entertained by a magician; visitors and locals sit side by side on bar stools devouring burgers and ice cold microbrews after a game of pool; while others people-watch and savor homemade pastries and desserts.
Boutiques, Galleries & More
Shoppers will find small business owners offering books, musical instruments, clothing, shoes, furniture, groceries, fresh flowers, electronics, art, jewelry and so much more. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to pick up that perfect souvenir to commemorate your Cañon City visit. A handful of second-hand stores will satisfy the bargain hunters in your group and the many local art galleries and museums will keep everyone busy for hours.
The people of Cañon City invite you to explore downtown, chat with some locals and get acquainted with the community.