Prospect Heights Jail – Cañon City, Colorado - Atlas Obscura

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Prospect Heights Jail

This 19th century jail was mainly used to incarcerate the drunk and disorderly. 


TheThe only municipal building constructed for the town of Prospect Heights in Colorado, a jail to incarcerate the drunk and disorderly.

The settlement dates back to the 1880s, and is associated with the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (CF&I). Most of the surrounding communities were “dry,” which did not particularly suit the lifestyle of miners of the time very well.

In 1905, mine workers, seeking an advantage over the neighboring “dry” community of Cañon City incorporated the town of Prospect Heights in 1905 as a “wet” community, operating numerous saloons 24 hours a day where smelter workers, miners and other workers could “wet their whistles” after a long day. The jailhouse quickly became a necessity, but was only used as a detention facility through 1913, after which is served as a performance hall, and as a storage room, before being left abandoned for many years.

The town of Prospect Heights dwindled following the closing of the U.S. Smelter Company in the early 1910s and the closure of many mines in the area. Prohibition ended its prospects.

Constructed in 1906, the structure is only 22x20 feet, with exterior walls of locally quarried and cut sandstone blocks over and rubble stone foundation. It has a low slope roof, forming a parapet wall stepping downward from the front of the building. The only openings are a door and a window on the front, covered by hinged metal bars, but the interior contains three rooms; a front office and two jail cells.

Know Before You Go

The interior is accessible on Saturdays between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. throughout the summer.

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