Colorado's Most Overlooked Museum

December 27 2005, 2:22 PM

Slaughter in Cell House Three Are you looking for something different to do this holiday week? How about a tour of Colorado's Prison Museum? 15,000 people make the trek each year to the little-known Canon City facility. It houses Colorado's old gas chamber, which some locals say still smells of cyanide balls and sulfuric acid. Here's a few things you will learn during your visit:

  • Colorado last hanged a prisoner in 1933. His noose is on display.
  • In order to get to the gas chamber, death row inmates had to walk a mile up a hill
  • Each cell contains a different exhibit. One is devoted to Alfred Packer
  • There really was a whipping post and an old gray mare.

The Museum of Colorado Prisons is open Fridays through Mondays, 10 to 5. From the website:

The remodeled facility now welcomes visitors to explore the history of Colorado Corrections. Individual MP3 and CD audio tours guide visitors through 32 cells filled with exciting exhibits and life sized models that link the past to the present in dramatic presentation.

Funds to maintain the prison are scarce, and voters rejected a sales-tax measure to help preserve it and other local museums. So, don't put off your trip. It may not be around forever.