Fake News Becomes Fake History

Fake News Landscape

Join us here in the museum to hear our program about how propaganda, yellow journalism, and local legends lead to historical fallacies. The program is free and open to the public.

The museum is open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 AM- 4 PM. Contact us at (719) 269-9036 or email us at historycenter@canoncity.org.


Fremont County

Did you know in 1962 there was a contest to design a flag for Fremont County? The winning design was submitted by a high school student who won a $100 bond for her design. The new courthouse on the 600 block of Macon was opened on November 12, and three flags were raised in honor of Veteran’s Day: the American flag, the Colorado flag, and the new Fremont County flag.

The county flag design was a sharp peaked mountain capped with white on a field of yellow and brown. The design was meant to represent the mild climate and attractive scenery of the county. The yellow represented the sunshine, the brown the mountains, and the blue the mountain’s streams.

The ceremony for the flag raising ceremony had around 250 attendees with the Cañon City High School ROTC Color Guard raising the flag while the Florence High School band played the national anthem. The American flag was donated by U.S. Senator John Carroll and had been flown over the Capitol in Washington. The Navy Mothers Club donated the Colorado flag. Two flags had been made of the new Fremont County flag, one of which was flown for the dedication of the courthouse.

The courthouse itself was certainly unique. The construction was granted to architects Thomas E. Nixon and Lincoln H. Jones who drew inspiration for the building from the triangular and linear shapes of the mountains. The triangular motif is common throughout the building, even including the doorknobs. Another common concept throughout the building is openness. The building is designed to allow lots of light with its myriad of windows and to have an open space where you can see all the levels. This means you can always see where you need to go. The architects won a national design award for this building, now in use as a County Administration Building.

Does anyone remember the dedication ceremony of the building or the flag designing contest? Leave us a comment! The museum is open Wednesday – Saturday 10 AM – 4PM. Stop by, call us at (719) 269-9036, or email us at historycenter@canoncity.org.

Courthouse 1965

Fremont County Courthouse, 1965; Copyright the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History

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

Fun With Fossils

If you’re a fan of dinosaurs, now is your chance to see a real fossil being prepped! Currently Andrew Smith, a Bureau of Land Management paleontologist, is here in the museum working on a fossil recently found in the Garden Park area. So stop by the museum this week during our open hours Wednesday – Saturday from 10 AM- 4 PM to see the process!

Encased fossil

Open fossil

Carry A Nation

On December 27, 1900, the temperance activist Carry Nation (also sometimes spelled Carrie) smashed up the bar at the Carey Hotel in Wichita, Kansas and was sent to prison. This was also where her iconic hatchet made its appearance.

Carrie Amelia Moore was born in Kentucky in 1846. Her first marriage to Charles Gloyd, a Union Civil War doctor, didn’t last long due to his alcoholism which killed him shortly after she left him, taking their young daughter with her. Her next marriage was to David Nation, an attorney and minster. The couple finally settled in Kansas where Carry started a local chapter of the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Movement). Deciding it wasn’t enough, Carry turned to more extreme measures beginning with a raid on a pharmacy where she and the members of her “Home Defenders” burned a barrel of whiskey. After a dream, she began smashing barrooms which led to frequent arrests and fines. Her husband divorced her in 1901, claiming desertion. Eventually Carry moved on from smashing barrooms to lectures, publications, and selling souvenir hatchets. Here at the museum we have one of the small souvenir hatchets with Carry A. Nation inscribed on the handle. Her name was a clever play on words because she believed she was carrying the nation to prohibition. Carry died in 1911, nine years before prohibition went into effect in 1920.

Carry visited Cañon City in 1906 where she spoke in the courthouse. She had originally arrived a day earlier but her coming had not been announced and so there were no preparations for her to speak. She instead proceeded up to Leadville and returned to Cañon City the next evening. After her speech, subscriptions for her paper “The Hatchet” were sold along with a memoir of her life and small hatchet pins. It was likely during this 1906 visit that this pin was acquired by the donor.

Cañon City had its own WCTU chapter and many advocating for prohibition. In fact, we also have in our collection a quilt from 1901 with signatures from the Carrie Hatchet club embroidered in red thread. There are over 350 signatures on the quilt of temperance advocates. It’s no wonder the courtroom was filled tightly with people ready to listen to Carry Nation speak!

If you’d like to know more about prohibition or any other Fremont County history, stop by Wednesday through Saturday from 10 AM- 4 PM, call us at (719) 269-9036, or send us a message at historycenter@canoncity.org.


Lapel pin in the shape of a hatchet with Carry A. Nation on the handle; Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center


“Carrie Hatchet Club” Quilt with signatures in red embroidery; ca. 1901; 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.

What Do You Think?

We’re always finding interesting things here in the museum and sometimes those things leave us wondering. We recently sorted through a box of tusks and the majority we were able to identify, but one object eluded us. It’s not hollow like the rest so could it actually be a tooth? But then it’d be a very long tooth so maybe not! Do you think you might be able to help us out?

If you think you might have an idea of what this could be or what animal it’s from, contact us at (719) 269-9036, send us an email at historycenter@canoncity.org, or leave a comment.  With the holidays we are only open to the public Wednesday, December 20 and Thursday, December 21 from 10 AM- 4 PM this week, returning to our regular hours Wednesday-Saturday from 10 AM-4 PM on December 27.


tooth_tusk end

Oral History

Oral history is the preservation of history through the spoken word of people and communities. It is simultaneously the oldest way of preserving history and one of the most modern through the use of recording devices. People have always passed their heritage down with oral traditions so each subsequent generation has the knowledge of those before. Family oral traditions exist even if it’s just Uncle Jim’s “largest fish ever caught” story in which the fish always becomes bigger than the time before. While oral history as a discipline is relatively new, the tradition itself is not.

In the mid-1900s, people began to record histories to preserve the heritage of communities, such as Gaelic speakers. As the discipline grew, oral histories began to focus on the “history from below” because written histories tended to ignore the working classes and focus on those higher in society. Since then, oral history has grown to include a large variety of topics, communities, and individuals. One of the greatest benefits of oral history is the relationship between the interviewer and interviewee; both parties influence the history being presented.

Here at the museum we’re always adding new oral histories to our collection. From ranchers to miners to longtime residents, these interviews give us a better understanding of the community and people that have built their lives here. There’s something here for everyone.

Help us add to our collection! We love hearing the memories of longtime residents and seeing the changing cultural landscape of the Royal Gorge region in the stories that are shared. We are open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 AM- 4 PM. You can also contact us at (719) 269-9036 or historycenter@canoncity.org.

Digging Up History

Today is National Miner’s Day which honors all miners; past, present, and future. Here in Fremont County we definitely have our fair share of mining history. Not only was the area a major supplier for miners heading into the mountains for gold and silver but it also became a prevalent mining area itself. Coal has been especially prominent in the area as a resource. Many of the names will be familiar; Coal Creek, Rockvale, Williamsburg, Prospect Heights, and Brookside still exist in some form today though not as actual mines. Of course, there’s also mining towns that no longer exist such as Chandler, Radiant, Bear Gulch, and many more. And while this industry has long since left Fremont County, we still have pieces of the past that remind us of those that toiled deep in the ground.

Propectors with Mules

Prospectors with mules in Cañon City, 1878; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center

Rockvale No 1

Group of miners, photo labeled No. 1 at Rockvale, circa 1895; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center

Royal Gorge Mine

Royal Gorge Mine, 1922; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center

Candle Holder

Miner’s candlestick with sharp point to push into wall, circa 19th c; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center


Miner’s pick labeled Wolf Park Coal, Cañon City; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center

Oil Lamp

Miner’s oil lamp that hooks onto hat, circa 19th c; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center


These images are just a few of the photographs and objects in our collection that remind us of the rich mining history in Fremont County. If you’re interested in history of mining in Fremont County or any other subject, stop by and visit us Wednesday through Saturday 10 AM- 4 PM!

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