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Cañon City in Fremont County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

First People, Explorers & Settlers

 
 
First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
1. First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker
Inscription.  The Ute Indians inhabited this region long before European explorers set foot on this continent. Other tribes like the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, and the Comanche moved through the area following herds of buffalo. The Utes left traces of their culture in the landscape and a few of their stories became local legends.

Spanish explorer Coronado first claimed this area for Spain in 1540. It was not until 1806 that American explorer Zebulon Pike led an expedition up the Arkansas River. Pike and his men camped along the river at the entrance to the "Grand Canyon of the Arkansas". The U.S. Government sent out Major Stephen Long to study its new border with Spain in 1820. John C. Fremont guided four different expeditions through the region in the 1840s.

Early fur traders established trading posts Fort Le Duc (1838) and Hardscrabble (1840s) in the eastern part of the county. With the discovery of gold in Colorado in 1859, people flocked to this region to try finding their own riches. The Cañon City Claim Club formed in 1860 and the town was plotted. The start of the town was short-lived with the onset of the Civil War.

Most
First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
Courtesy PBS
2. First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker Detail
Francisco Vázquez de Coronado
of the town's residents left to serve in the war. Only a few people like Anson Rudd Sr. and his family stayed behind. Following the Civil War, Cañon City saw a resurgence in the population and in the economy. Both Confederate and Union veterans found a home here after the war. The 1862 Homestead Act helped to rebuild the town. On April 2, 1872, County Commissioners met in a public room above Murray's Saloon (305 Main Street) to accept a request from local citizens to incorporate the town of Cañon City.

Tyhe spelling of Cañon City has been a subject of much debate through the years. The tilde (˜) over the first "n" is a Spanish diacritical mark, which gives the name its pronunciation of "canyon". The town likely got the name from early pioneers who settled at the entrance to the "Grand Canyon of the Arkansas" and understood that this region was once Spanish territory.

(Captions)
Top row, left to right:
• Native American petroglyphs north of Cañon City, 2012
• Francisco Vázquez de Coronado
• Zebulon Montgomery Pike
• John Charles Fremont
Photos of explorers courtesy of the Library of Congress and PBS.
Bottom row, left to right:
• Murray's Saloon on the right; ca 1878
• Anson Rudd Sr. and his son Anson Jr., ca. 1870
• Flour Mill, ca. 1870

Timeline
Pre-1540:
First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Library of Congress, July 18, 2020
3. First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker Detail
Zebulon Montgomery Pike
Ute Territory • 1540 to 1682: Spain • 1682 to 1763: France • 1763 to 1800: Spain • 1800 to 1803: France • 1803 to 1819: America • 1819 to 1821: Spain • 1821 to 1836: Mexico • 1836 to 1845: Rep. of Texas • 1845 to present: United States of America
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ExplorationNative AmericansSettlements & SettlersWar, US Civil.
 
Location. 38° 26.403′ N, 105° 14.497′ W. Marker is in Cañon City, Colorado, in Fremont County. Marker is on Main Street east of 4th Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 410 Main Street, Canon City CO 81212, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 405 Main Street (a few steps from this marker); Raynolds Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); The Banana Belt of Colorado (within shouting distance of this marker); St. Cloud Hotel (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hotel St. Cloud (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Presbyterian Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Bustling Center for Trade, Transportation, and Tourism (approx. ¼ mile away); The Gold Belt Tour National Scenic Byway (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cañon City.
 
First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Library of Congress, July 18, 2020
4. First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker Detail
John Charles Fremont
First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
5. First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker Detail
Murray's Saloon on the right; ca 1878
First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
6. First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker Detail
Anson Rudd Sr. and his son Anson Jr., ca. 1870
First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
7. First People, Explorers & Settlers Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 18, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 48 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on July 18, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Feb. 26, 2021