Colorado and the American Civil War

Most would assume that there is not much of a connection between Fremont County and the American Civil War. At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be. Colorado was far to the west and wasn’t yet a state, just a territory. In fact, it had only been a territory for little over a month before war broke out on April 12, 1861. Colorado was unspecified as being either a free or slave area, a point that was never addressed due to the outbreak of war. By a tiny margin it was primarily pro-Union but did have its share of support from Confederate sympathizers.

The American Civil War began on April 12, 1861 when shots were fired at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. It is estimated that 620,000 soldiers died from combat, accident, starvation, and disease during the course of the war. To date, this is the most Americans to die in a single war. It wasn’t until the Vietnam War that the amount of American deaths in foreign wars eclipsed the number who died during the Civil War. South Carolina was the first state to secede in December 1860 with Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee following throughout 1861.

Even without the title of statehood, the Colorado Territory provided men for both sides of the conflict. Jesse H. Leavenworth was tasked with raising six companies of volunteer infantry for the Union from the territory of Colorado. These, along with the two independent companies of Captain Dodd and Captain Ford and two independent companies of dismounted cavalry under Captain Backus and Captain Sexton, would make up the Second Volunteer Infantry. The independent companies of Dodd and Ford were organized in and around Cañon City. Captain C. D. Hendron and Lieutenant J. C. W. Hall helped Dodd find men to recruit. Captain Dodd’s and Captain Ford’s companies were the first volunteers to leave the territory as companies A and B. In 1861, the Cañon City Times ran an ad to call for volunteers on October 7th:

Volunteers Wanted! For C. D. Hendron’s Company of Colorado Volunteers, to serve for three years or during the war. This company to be stationed at Fort Garland. Only able bodied men; between the ages of 18 and 45, and otherwise filling the requirements of the War Department, will be received. Recruits will be received at Head Quarters in Canon City and at their stations in the mountains:

Lieut. J. C. W. Hall

Recruiting Officer

A group of Confederates sometimes called the Reynold’s Gang after brothers James and John Reynolds, also functioned in the region. This group acted on military orders to disrupt Union supply lines in Colorado Territory.

After the war, veterans from both sides of the conflict settled in Cañon City and the surrounding region. After the destruction of war in the east, the west seemed to offer bright new horizons far removed from the recent brutality. Marshall and Amanda Felch were just a few of these people who built a new life in the west.

Marshall and Amanda met during the war while she was a nurse and Marshall a hospital steward with the 4th Vermont. They were married in Vermont on December 16, 1865, a second marriage for both. During the war Amanda was always known as Mrs. Farnham.

Amanda was a well-known nurse and was at many bloody battles including Gettysburg and worked under Dorothea Dix. After the war, the couple lived on a ranch in Garden Park where Marshall found recognition through his work in paleontology.

Amanda passed in 1893 and Marshall in 1902 and both are buried in Greenwood Pioneer Cemetery.

Are you interested in learning more? Stop by the museum during our open hours Wednesday through Saturday from 10 AM – 4 PM, call us at (719) 269-9036, or email us at


What A Guy!

Guy U. Hardy, ca. 1920; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center

Guy U. Hardy, ca. 1920; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center

There are quite a few things we have here in Fremont County that we should thank Guy U. Hardy for: the Royal Gorge Park, Red Canyon Park, Temple Canyon, and the Cañon City Daily Record. He arrived in Cañon City in 1894 and immediately threw himself into the community.

Guy Urban Hardy was born April 4, 1872 in Abingdon, Illinois and received his teacher’s certificate in Albion, Illinois. He relocated to Cañon City in 1894 for his health. As with many of the early residents of Colorado, Hardy had been diagnosed with tuberculosis, also frequently known as “consumption” due to the weight loss from the disease “consuming” the person. Fresh air and a dry climate were recommended for sufferers of the disease and Colorado was an ideal location to receive both. In fact, many of the prominent people in Fremont County originally moved here due to tuberculosis.

No teaching positions were available when Hardy arrived, so he took a position as a reporter for the then titled Cañon City Record, which was produced weekly. In 1895, Hardy bought the paper from A.R. Frisbie, which launched his publishing career. By 1906, Hardy had started the Cañon City Daily Record but was also still printing the weekly. He did so well with the newspaper he was elected to serve as President of the National Editorial Association from 1918-1919. Hardy was very involved in the community and served as the postmaster from 1900-1904. This was the start of his work within the government. As early as 1903, Hardy began going to Washington D.C., at his own expense, to try to gain the land along the Royal Gorge as a park for Cañon City. He recognized the importance of the land and due to his efforts the city acquired the Royal Gorge Park in 1906 by Congressional action. Hardy was also instrumental in acquiring Temple Canyon Park for the city and Red Canyon Park in 1923.

Hardy was nominated and subsequently elected for the 66th United States Congress on the Republican ticket for the 3rd congressional district. He was already known through much of his district because of his work in various wartime efforts and as the publisher of the popular Cañon City Daily Record. In an excerpt about Hardy in National Magazine in 1920, he is highly praised by the author who states “the only thing I ever had against him is his Van Dyke whiskers – but that style is de rigueur in Colorado.” He was considered to provide excellent service as a congressman, leading to his reelection in 1920 by a majority of 11,540, far more than any other candidate. In fact, he served for 14 years from March 4, 1919 to March 3, 1933.

Hardy married Jessie Mack in August 1899, daughter of Henry and Julia Mack, early pioneers of the area. They had three sons; Max, Lyman, and Don, and one daughter, Marion. He passed away at the age of 74 on January 27, 1947 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery. At the time of his death, he had been the publisher of the Cañon City Record for 52 years. Upon Hardy’s death, his son Don took over running the paper.

So happy birthday Guy U. Hardy and thank you for everything!

CCDR 1901

Cañon City Record Office, Guy U. Hardy identified second from left, 1901; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center

Jessie Mack Hardy 1899

Jessie Mack Hardy in wedding dress, 1899; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center

The information presented in this article is compiled using research conducted by the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.

The Sugar Bowl

For anyone who has visited our museum, you may have seen a small model of the Sugar Bowl Malt and Sandwich Shop made by Wilma Goding Perrino in 1993. The Sugar Bowl was an eating and recreation parlor at the corner of 13th and Main in Cañon City. It was built by Clem Lovisone in 1937 and was open until 1941 when the name was changed to the Gulf Bowl as a service station and restaurant.

The Sugar Bowl contained a soda fountain, lunch counter and a good sized dance floor. The music was furnished by a jukebox “with all the most popular selections available” according to an article in the Cañon City Daily Record on June 26, 1937. There were several cabins behind the Sugar Bowl that, at the time of the shop opening, were still being completed. Since it was right across from the high school, the shop was a popular hangout for students.

Unfortunately, here at the museum we have no pictures of the building when it was the Sugar Bowl, interior or exterior. If you have any pictures you’d be willing to share or you ever come across any, please let us know! You can stop by during our open hours Wednesday-Saturday from 10 AM- 4 PM, email us at or call us at (719) 269-9036. We’d love to learn more!

Fields of Tulips

When you think of tulips, where does your mind go? Most people would say the Netherlands. As one of the largest exporters of tulips that’s a logical conclusion. According to the Amsterdam Tulip Museum, in 2014, two billion tulips were exported worldwide. Festivals for the famous flower are hosted each year and a variety of tulips and other flowers are on display at Keukenhof, one of the largest flowers gardens in the world. Tulips originated in the valley of the Tien Shan Mountains in Central Asia and were cultivated in Istanbul as early as 1055 and highly popular within the Ottoman Empire. Merchants and trading outfits like the Dutch East India Company began trading goods from the Ottoman Empire, which fetched high prices. Included within the goods were tulips and when Dutch botanist Carolus Clusius established a botanical garden at the University of Leiden in the 1590s, tulips rose to fame.

Now, tulips don’t appear to have any significance to Fremont County but in the 1930s and 1940s one company was famous in the area for their fields of tulips. The company, Thomas and Kirkton, was originally opened by Joe Heavenridge. Glen Kirkton later bought in and it became Heavenridge and Kirkton in 1908. Only two years later Walter Thomas replaced Heavenridge and the firm became Thomas and Kirkton. From 1950 to 1980, the firm was run by Ray Shoop who kept the title Thomas and Kirkton. The business closed in 1980 when Shoop retired. The company was a truck farm, meaning it produced fruits and vegetables for the market. While the company mainly focused on fruits and vegetables, they gained fame for their tulips. At one point in time, 5 acres of tulips were in bloom and there was a tulip stand to handle sales of the flowers. The tulips were a commercial enterprise and were shipped across the nation.

At the Rotary district conference banquet in May 1938, more than a thousand of the tulips graced the tables. The flowers were a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Walter Thomas in memory of Glenn Kirkton who had died only a few months prior. The Denver & Rio Grande was also a fan of the tulips and used an image on their menu in 1943 with an excerpt about the tulips grown in Cañon City. As we begin spring, what better time to talk about tulips?


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Thomas and Kirkton bldg

Thomas & Kirkton building ca. 1955; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center


Thomas & Kirkton advertising rulers and garden sticks with instructions on proper distance for various produce.

The information presented in this article is compiled using research conducted by the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center. 

A Bountiful Banquet

This menu from the archives of the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center features cuisines and ingredients that were both local to Cañon City and from elsewhere, likely imported by train. It was a perfect companion to the opening of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad (AT&SF) station in Cañon City on January 19, 1888.  Every day, a passenger train ran from Pueblo to Cañon City in the morning and returned in the evening once a day. A freight train also made the same daily trip, delivering supplies to the mines near Prospect Heights.



“Complimentary Banquet Given to the Citizens of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad by the Citizens of Canon City, Colorado at the McClure House, January 19, 1888.” Menu

After a day of speeches and a procession that drew a total of two to three-thousand people, a banquet was held at the McClure House (331 Main) at 9:30 P. M. for the AT&SF officials and distinguished local residents. According to the Canon City Record, the guests entered the dining room to the accompaniment of music by the Moore Brothers and Sears Orchestra. Five toasts and nine speeches were given by such men as Governor James Peabody, Benjamin F. Rockafellow, and Anson Rudd.

A seven-course meal was served during the banquet:

Menu inside

Many of the speeches given that day praised the agricultural triumphs of Cañon City; some of the foods served at the banquet were likely made from local produce and meats. These include the Pickled Beets, Cold Turkey, Cold (Beef) Tongue, Cold Ham, Chicken Salad, the fruit and cream used to make the Charlotte Russe a la Chantilly, Fruit Cake, and Canon City Native Grape Wine.

Without the existence of the AT&SF and other railroad lines in Fremont County, other items on the menu would have not been present. These include the Raw, Stewed, and Fried Oysters, Queen Olives, Lobster Salad, Nuts, and Figs.

If you would like to learn more about the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe’s presence in Fremont County or to look through our collection of old recipe books, please stop by our museum! Our open hours are from 10 A. M. – 4 P. M. from Wednesdays-Saturdays. We are located at 612 Royal Gorge Boulevard in Cañon City. If you have any menus from local restaurants or events or copies of local family recipes, we would also be interested to add them to our collections!

Spring Cleaning

As spring draws near so does the season of yard sales. So here at the museum we have a request! If you have any clothes from bygone years, please keep donating to us in mind. As with most museums, we have many beautiful fancy clothes such as wedding dresses and uniforms. What we DON’T have is every day, working clothing, especially men’s and children’s. Fancy dress outfits are generally kept as keepsakes and later donated and we love receiving those! But we’d also like to collect clothing that was worn every day. So if you come across your bell bottoms from the 70s or your jacket with giant shoulder pads from the 80s, the Nehru jacket or Leisure Suit or other outfits from the past decades please think about donating to us. We’d love to take some of it off your hands, making spring cleaning just a bit easier!

“The Post Office Dog”

Did you know the Cañon City Postal Service used to have a mascot? His name was King and he was a constant companion of the mail carriers, which earned him his honorary mascot title. Each year, the postal employees chipped in together to buy King’s dog license. In an article from the Cañon City Daily Record on May 25, 1957, it was stated that King showed no partiality in the carrier he decided to accompany each day. A later article from November 1958 begs to differ however. This article claimed King preferred to go with Rollo Gebhardt on City Route 2. Once Gebhardt retired, King spent the majority of his time with carrier John Robertson “and divided his home life with Robertson and John Bridges”. As a pup, King apparently spent his early life with Darrel Wayne Pontius but by 1954 he was a familiar companion of the mail carriers. King was apparently a very dedicated worker and was at the post office each morning at 8 AM. Every once in a while, he might pass up a mail route and spend some time in the office instead. King apparently wanted to make sure he learned every job although he preferred the mail routes.  In the evenings, he stayed with different postal workers and would choose an employee to go home with at the end of each day for his food and lodging.

Just because King didn’t have a permanent home didn’t mean he was destitute. A checking account filed under “King U.S. Mail” was in the care of Carl Weinheimer at the First National Bank. The account was first started by Frank Harvey and was maintained by dog lovers and postal employees. At the time of his death in 1958, the balance of King’s account was $13.00 and was used to pay the veterinarian and burial fee. King was apparently beloved by many and was well remembered.

Does anyone remember this loyal dog or have any pictures? If you do, we’d love to hear your story! Stop by the museum during our open hours Wednesday- Saturday between 10 AM- 4 PM, send us an email at, or give us a call at (719) 269-9036.