The 1860s Fremont House once stood at this location. A hotel with a post office, school and general store in the basement, it was the leading hotel in Cañon City by 1870. The building was torn down in the early 1890s to make room for the Deputy Warden’s house in 1901 when the prison expanded. Using prison labor and local materials, the house cost only $7,500 to build and was heated by steam from the prison boilers. Its modern design included electricity as well as hot and cold running water. Prison officials occupied the house for seventy years before it was turned into offices. The architect for the Queen Anne style residence was Charles C. Rittenhouse (1852-1937), who was responsible for numerous buildings in Cañon City. While there are other two-story masonry homes exhibiting Queen Anne details here, none possess the unusual combination of elements found on this residence – especially the large tower. Two notable examples are located at 929 Greenwood and 412 North 15th Street, also designed by Rittenhouse.
The Deputy Warden’s House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. In 2007, the Department of Corrections moved staff out of the house and it has been vacant since. A historic structure assessment completed in 2003 identified almost a half million dollars in necessary rehabilitation work. DOC has no funding appropriated to complete this needed work, nor plans to reoccupy the space, so the Deputy Warden’s House has continued to languish – vacant and unmaintained. In 2011 it was added to Colorado Preservation, Inc.’s listing of endangered places.