Colorado Homes at CENTURY 21 Canon Land & Invesment Co.

CENTURY 21 Canon Land & Investment Co.1025 Royal Gorge Blvd., Canon City, Colorado 81212  •  Phn: (719) 275-8622 • Fax: (719) 275-5717

The history of the Canon City area is abundant and diverse.

For more information on the history of Canon City, Colorado and the surrounding area, including the dinosaur fossils, visit the Local History Center at the Canon City Public Library.

Among it's earliest residents, Cañon City counts early dinosaurs whose remains are scattered in the region, notably in the Garden Park Fossil Area north of town. Early man migrated through the area from the mountains to the plains as early as several thousand years ago.

Cañon City's mild climate, abundant water and wildlife combined with its central location made it a rest stop for Native Americans and white men alike during its colorful history. Indians, primarily Utes, were said to value area hot springs for medicinal purposes and driving out evil spirits. The Royal Gorge Hot Springs, located near the Arkansas River right at the Royal Gorge canyon mouth, were also a predominate tourism attraction for regional travelers.

Early trappers and traders lived in relative peace until the Pikes Peak Gold Rush of 1858 and 1859, which drew many settlers into the region. Historical mining town Cripple Creek lies 30 miles to Cañon City's north. In its boom, Cripple Creek's prospectors, proprietors and crooks numbered nearly 100,000, making it a prospective state capital. The mining region 125 miles upstream, Leadville, caused the railroad boom that sparked a war between the Denver-Rio Grande and Sante Fe railroads. Small rock fort remnants built by railroad men can still be seen along the Arkansas River near the Royal Gorge. The Denver and Rio Grande line won out, laying its tracks through the narrow Royal Gorge and upper Arkansas River Valley to Leadville and westward.

Cañon City was central to the Arkansas River's entry to the eastern Colorado plains in addition to being a key stop on the Denver-Rio Grande line. Just as important, access to mining country along the Shelf Road and Phantom canyon provided men and materials to the north. The Phantom Canyon route and Shelf Road, a railroad bed and coach road respectively, meander nearly 30 miles into Cripple Creek. Today, these routes comprise the Gold Belt Tour, a drive into the historic mining country.

Hot Springs at the east entrance to the Royal Gorge provided leisure and therapy to early settlers passing through Cañon City. This pavilion at Soda Point, on the west edge of the town, was a more modern structure housing the "Soda Springs." The Colorado Territorial Prison and Fremont Peak lie nearby. Soda Point was destroyed in 1949 to make way for U.S. Highway 50.

Sources: Cañon City History Center at the Canon City Public Library

 

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