- Associated Press - Saturday, March 29, 2014

CANON CITY, Colo. (AP) - Skyline Drive is one of those uniquely Canon City attractions, built by inmates from the nearby prison to give residents and visitors alike unparalleled views of the city.

It was 1900 when the idea for a road over the Hogback hills west of Canon City first hatched. Local newspapers carried items on the proposed, “Alta Vista Drive,” which was being kicked around by several prominent men.

The drive was being planned on the crest of what is now termed by the “Hogbacks.”

“To visit it would prove especially attractive,” said the Canon City Times. “Indeed, we can almost see ourselves speeding along that mountain highway by moonlight.”

In 1905, Colorado State Penitentiary Warden Cleghorn put about 60 at work on road building.

Local resident D.E. Gibson was responsible for raising the funds to pay for the inmates’ tools and supplies to build Skyline Drive. One newspaper account said inmates working on the road were given a sentence reduction of 10 days each month.

An Oct. 19, 1905, article made a demand for a “more dignified title” for the road. Ideas considered included Cliff Drive, Long View Road, Columbia Heights, Grey Cliff Road and Alta Vista Boulevard. A week later, the Canon City Record reported the preferred name was Skyline Boulevard, but in future articles it was always referred to as Skyline Drive.

When the road was completed in 1906, the city council declared it unlawful for automobiles to use the road, reserving it solely for horse-drawn carriages. But by 1907, the council relented and allowed vehicles every Tuesday morning and Friday afternoon, but with reservation, because “horse and car conflicts have resulted in narrow escape of topple over mountain,” according to the Record.

In 1908, the drive was featured in The Travel Magazine in New York.

By 1910, local businessman Bill Garton had launched “Tallyho” trips over Skyline Drive in a horse-drawn buggy. He picked up tourists at the major hotels and train depots, charging 25 cents per person for the rides.

In 1917, Skyline Drive was decked out with an American flag, which was illuminated at night. It also has been home for a nativity scene and star which are lit each holiday season.

Skyline Drive’s most recent media attention came in 2000 when more than 50 dinosaur footprints were unearthed from the hogback rock near the entrance. The full-grown 4-ton, 25-foot-long dinosaur populated the area about 107 million years ago.

Interpretive signs mark the spot.

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Information from: The Pueblo Chieftain, https://www.chieftain.com

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