Today is the birthday of Charles C. Rittenhouse, one of the most prominent architects in Cañon City. Charles C. Rittenhouse lived in the city for less than 20 years but in that time he left his mark in numerous buildings and residences he designed.
Rittenhouse was born in Van Wert, Ohio in 1852 where he first learned the trade of carpentry. He studied architecture in Fort Wayne, Indiana and in 1887 he was hired to draw the plans for the Hastings State Hospital in Nebraska.
Rittenhouse likely arrived in Cañon City in 1890 and began the designs for many of the buildings here in the city. Some of his buildings include the Burrage Building at 506-508 Main St., the Frank L. Smith Building at 501 Main St., the First Presbyterian Church at 701 Macon Ave., and the Cañon City Public Library at 516 Macon Ave. Residences built by Rittenhouse include the Deputy Warden’s House at 105 Main St., the Fred Whipple home at 805 Rudd Ave., and the J.D. Biggs residence at 1103 Macon Ave. His offices were in the Central Block on Main St.
Rittenhouse lived in California by 1910 and passed away in July 1937 at the age of 84. He is remembered through his work as an architect and the buildings that still stand here in Cañon City today.
Happy Birthday Charles C. Rittenhouse!
The information presented in this article is compiled using research conducted by the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.