Clelland Block, 404 Main Street
& Clelland/Peabody House, 403 Royal Gorge Blvd. (403 Water Street Orig.)
The Peabody House was once the center of social and political life in Cañon City. Of the French Second Empire Style, it boasted 14 rooms, wood floors throughout, twin grand staircases, 2 bathrooms, fireplaces in every room, a tin roof and twin parlors. The two-story had a mansard roof with bracketed cornice and both floors had central projecting bays. Brick from The Diamond Fire Brick Company and stone from Kerr Stone Quarry was used in construction. The house was built on the original Rudd Homestead (Rudd was a Fremont County pioneer) by James C. Clelland in 1881.
Clelland owned three business blocks, 402- 404-406 Main. He was active in real estate, grocery and merchandising, banks, railroading and public utilities. He was a Democratic representative in the Colorado Territorial Council in 1877 and then representing Cañon City in the Senate’s 14th district in the first Colorado State legislature. He and his wife Frances (1860- 1945) lived here until his death in 1892. It was then bought by his son-in-law James Peabody and Clelland’s widow Frances moved to a smaller home. Peabody had married Clelland’s daughter, Frances Lillian Clelland in 1878; three children were born to their marriage – James, Cora and Jessie Annie. Peabody arrived in Cañon City in 1875 and went to work for Clelland as a bookkeeper in Clelland’s Mercantile Store at 402 Main which he purchased in 1882. Peabody became President of the 1st National Bank and in following years he started the fire department, served as mayor of Cañon City, organized the water department and the light and power department. He was a 33rd Degree Mason.
In 1901 Peabody, a Republican, was elected Governor. His term of office was marred by labor unrest at Cripple Creek, Clear Creek and Telluride, as well as Victor and Las Animas. Peabody called in the National Guard to keep the peace and settle numerous strikes, earning the ire of union members. The election of 1904 saw Peabody defeated by Democrat Alva Adams, who was more sympathetic to unions. The election was contested, however, and the predominately Republican legislature declared Peabody the winner, on the condition that he resign immediately. He was succeeded by Republican Lieutenant Governor Jesse F. McDonald and Colorado earned the dubious distinction of having three different governors in one day. Peabody died in 1917 at age 65 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery. Mrs. Peabody sold the house, which was later converted into apartments and a motel. By 1968 the home was rundown and unused except as a rooming house and secondhand store. In 1993 a $350,000 restoration was partially completed, aided by 12 grants from Boettcher, Coors, El Pomar and Gates foundations. The Cañon City Chamber of Commerce became the occupant and continues restoration.