Deputy Warden’s House

Located on the grounds of the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility, the Deputy Warden’s House is an unmistakable architectural landmark in Cañon City. Designed by architect C.C. Rittenhouse in the Queen Anne Style, the house was built in 1901 for $7,500 using prison labor both to quarry the stone from the hill behind the prison and to construct the house. The Deputy Warden’s House was purposefully built outside the walls of the prison to avoid having the Warden and Deputy Warden housed within its confines. The three story tower that dominates the facade of the house is the most prominent architectural feature of the building. It is believed that the architect incorporated this feature to provide some balance against the imposing 20 foot tall prison walls next door. The house was used as a private residence until the mid 1970s, when it was converted to serve as a foster home for juvenile delinquents and ultimately into administrative office space for prison staff. The Deputy Warden’s House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

In 2007, the Department of Corrections moved staff out of the house and it has been vacant since. Failing HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems combined with a compromised roof and gutters are contributing to the house becoming increasingly derelict. The Department of Corrections is strained to prioritize the maintenance and upkeep of the Deputy Warden’s House as it has an additional 800 buildings to manage. A historic structure assessment completed in 2003, before the house was vacated, identified almost a half million dollars in necessary rehabilitation work. DOC has no funding appropriated to complete the needed rehabilitation work, nor plans to reoccupy the space, and so the Deputy Warden’s House may continue to languish – vacant and not maintained.

Colorado Preservation, Inc. in collaboration with the successful and highly respected Colorado Prison Museum have proposed a scenario that would involve transferring ownership of the Deputy Warden’s House to either Cañon City or the Colorado Prison Museum so that the house can be fully rehabilitated and used as an interpretive and meeting space.


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