Cañon City, Colorado

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The City of Cañon City (pronounced /ˈkænjən ˈsɪti/) is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Fremont County, State of Colorado.[4] The United States Census Bureau estimated that the city population was 16,000 in 2005.[5] Cañon City is noted for being the location of nine state and four Federal prisons and penitentiaries. Cañon City straddles the Arkansas River, and is a popular tourist destination for sightseeing, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing.

In 1994, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved adding the tilde to the official name of Cañon City, a change from Canon City as the official name in its decisions of 1906 and 1975.[6] It is one of the few U.S. cities to have an eñe in its name.



Cañon City was laid out on 17 January 1858 during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, but then the land was left idle. A new company "jumped the claim" to the town's site in late 1859, and it put up the first building in February 1860. This town was originally intended as a commercial center for mining in South Park and the upper Arkansas River.[7]

In 1861, this town raised two companies of volunteers to serve with the Second Colorado Infantry during the War Between the States. This regiment fought in skirmishes in nearby New Mexico and as far east as the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) and Missouri before ending its organization in 1865.

In 1862, A. M. Cassaday drilled for petroleum six miles north of Cañon City, close to a known oil seep. Cassaday struck oil at the depth of 50 feet, and he completed the first commercial oil well west of the Mississippi River. He drilled five or six more wells nearby, and he refined kerosene and fuel oil from the petroleum. Cassaday sold the products in Denver.[8]

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