ADVENTURES IN OUR AMERICAN DREAM travel blog


We went exploring again today. Our first stop was in Canon City at the Chamber of Congress. It is located in a beautiful old Peabody House. We picked up a lot of brochures and information about the area.

We were told not to miss Skyline Drive. It was built by the local prisoners in 1905. There are 13 prison in the area. It was a fun drive with great views of the city below.

Here is a paste of information:

In 1905 Skyline Drive was completed through the use of inmate labor. At the height of construction, the Skyline Drive project employed sixty prisoners. It was Senator Lewis of Florence who sponsored the legislation bill that allowed prisoners to work on this public road. Prisoners working on Skyline Drive received a reduction of ten days on their sentence for every thirty days they worked on the road.

According to articles in the CaƱon City Record, a contest to name the road was held following its completion. S.A. Van Buskskirk recommended Skyline Boulevard and the name was incorporated into the deed, although, it is now referred to as Skyline Drive. The drive was originally built for biking, horses, and walking. Cars were prohibited because they scared the horses. However, popular demand to allow cars provided for their use on the drive after February 1907.

During the Best administration, the penitentiary repaired the road and built an arch at the entrance of Skyline Drive using a stone from every state in the union. When F.B. Rice, the gentleman in charge of procuring stones from individual states, contacted New York on April 12, 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the governor. Roosevelt wrote back asking Rice to ask for information regarding the nature of the project, inquiring whether or not it was a public or private enterprise. Rice informed him that it was public, and Franklin agreed to send the stone. (The Roosevelt letters are in the Skyline file at the Local History Center.)

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