Did You Know? Colorado Used To Be Home To A Jail For Drunk People
Imagine this... you're out on the town with some friends for a night out when things start to take a turn - it's become one of "those" nights. You know, the kind of night where you've had a little too much to drink.
Regardless, you're determined to stay with your friends until the end of the night, so you choose to ride it out... that is until you can't any longer - your night was just busted by a big-boned bouncer kicking you out of the bar for mishandling your liquor intake.
Not only that, you threw such a fit (not that you'd recall) in the midst of getting kicked out, the bouncer called the cops - and now you're going to jail.
Not just any jail, however - this is a jail specifically for those of your kind.
Did you know that Colorado used to be home to a jail that operated specifically to incarcerate drunk people?
History Behind The Prospect Heights Jail
The Prospect Heights Jail was built over a century ago - in 1906 - and once stood as the only municipal building in Prospect Heights, a tiny suburban neighborhood located along the southern and westernmost edges of Cañon City, CO.
The jail was built to incarcerate drunk and disorderly individuals who frequented the multiple 24-hour saloons in the area.
Cañon City, CO repealed the ordinances granting liquor licenses in the city in 1901; when that happened, all six saloons in the community closed.
In 1905, local mine workers sought an advantage over the neighboring “dry” community of Cañon City and incorporated the town of Prospect Heights as a “wet” community.
What is a "wet" community? For a period of time, Prospect Heights - an area that was otherwise considered "dry" aka free from alcohol - was home to multiple saloons that operated 24 hours a day,
It was at these saloons where smelter workers, miners, and other workers would get together and drink after a long day on the job. The saloons were a hit, and so was the jailhouse which quickly became a necessity in the community as disorderly conduct only continued to rise.
Prospect Heights Falls
Fremont Heritage says the peak of Prospect Heights, CO all came crashing down in 1909 when the U.S. Smelter shut down which, in turn, hurt local businesses - including saloons; in the midst of the shutdown, saloons were threatened with legal action.
"Legal action ultimately led to the shutdown of all saloons in Prospect Heights in the fall of 1909, when a local law was put in place to ban all alcohol sales in the community.
According to the Fremont County Historical Society, the last time the jail was used was back in the early 1910s when U.S. Army troops were called into the area to quell the violent Coal Strike of 1914.
On March 12, 2003, the Prospect Heights Jail was added to the Colorado Register of Historic Places and was also listed as an official Fremont County landmark in 2014.
Prospect Heights Jail Undergoes Renovations
Being over 100 years old, the jail was eventually in need of some TLC.
In 2008, reconstruction of the landmark began; the interior of the jail was restored that year -
while the exterior of the jail was all fixed up in 2018.
These days, the Prospect Heights Jail is owned by the Fremont County Historical Society. The jail is opened to the public multiple times a year, including for tours.
Interested in even more history about the Prospect Heights Jail? Visit fremontheritage.com for more info.
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