The Cañon City Armory is the longest continuously used Armory in Colorado. Built with prison labor for $30,000 in 1922 the Armory’s dual purpose has been both in support of the National Guard and as a center for community activities, recreation and entertainment. This Late 19th and 20th Century Mediterranean Revival building was built with local brick and cement from the nearby Portland Cement Company. Due to problems with groundwater, the basement is extra deep to reach bedrock and is of unusually heavy concrete and reinforced steel construction. Denver architect John James Huddart (1856-1930) produced a standard designed for a dozen State Armories in Colorado and eight county courthouses during his career. The Mediterranean-influenced,building is a style rarely seen in Fremont County.
The Cañon City,National Guard has been called out on several occasions related to the State Penitentiary, including the infamous 1929 riot and 1947 prison escape. The building has been used as a backdrop for filming, including the 1948 film Cañon City about the 1947 prison escape. The Cañon City Tiger Basketball team played here until the early-1960s and it has served as the location for everything from dances to KKK lectures to 4-H Club craft and poultry shows.