What’s in a Name?

A question that pops up frequently here is how to pronounce Cañon City. Occasionally the tilde (the little squiggly line above the n) is dropped which leads to confusion. Cañon, pronounced the same way as the English spelling, simply means canyon in Spanish. The name makes sense when you think of the city’s close proximity to the Royal Gorge which, you guessed it, is a large canyon of the Arkansas River.

And this confusion with the tilde isn’t new. There were enough newspaper articles about the tilde that it has its very own research folder right here at the museum. And this folder has some interesting stories. According to an article, the Postmaster-General Payne “authorized the changing of the spelling of the name ‘Cañon City’ to ‘Canyon City’ and it is expected that the post-office department will adopt the new spelling which is now in use by the Santa Fe railroad.” This article from the Canon City Clipper was printed on August 16, 1904. The city council protested against this action on behalf of the citizens and sent a resolution to Washington asking the action be reconsidered and the change annulled. And it was! But the Cañon City Daily Record didn’t use the tilde until 1969, 65 years later! A newspaper article published in 1969 proclaimed the tilde would once again be restored to the masthead of the Daily Record.

As one of the very few cities in the United States that use a tilde in their name, the name of Cañon City is special in its own way. So just like the name of our city, go inspire others to curiosity!

Do you have any other questions about the history of Cañon City? Stop by or call us to find out the answers!

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