Deputy Warden’s House

Year Listed: 2011
County: Fremont County
Construction Date: 1901
Threat When Listed: Demolition by Neglect – Vacant



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.

A partnership with CPI, HD and ICAA brought interested individuals on a tour of Deputy Warden’s House. This tour reengaged the Colorado Prisons Museum and the Department of Corrections. CPI learned the DOC is interested in moving forward with a project but wants to learn more on grant funding potential and determine an appropriate reuse. The site needs a feasibility plan and renewed conversation between the Museum and the DOC.

Additional Links:
Colorado Prison Museum
Canon City