Suspended Through Time : 90th Anniversary of the Royal Gorge Bridge
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Royal Gorge Park

On June 11, 1906 the United State Congress granted to the City of Cañon City the federal lands that make up the Royal Gorge Park. The new park drew tourists from all over to visit, picnic, and enjoy the scenic views of the "Grand Canyon of the Arkansas".

The original roads to the gorge were dangerous and led visitors over narrow passes with sheer drop-offs. Fremont County Surveyor Charles Milton designed a new road to the rim of the gorge in 1909, which reduced the trip by five miles. Warden Thomas J. Tynan offered a workforce of prison inmates to cut construction costs, saving roughly $45,000. On its opening day of May 2, 1911, a convoy of 200 vehicles drove up Priest Canyon Road, named for pioneer and rancher James Priest (1844-1926). Automobiles struggled to make it up the steep road, oftentimes having to drive in reverse to avoid the effects of gravity on their gas tanks.

Once visitors arrived at the top of the gorge, local business owners awaited them to sell merchandise. During the summer of 1913, local school teacher Glenn Gebhardt took photographs of tourists and sold postcards of his photographs of Cañon City. When his two canvas tents no longer supported his operations, he built the Royal Gorge Pavilion in 1914. Gebhardt later installed a railing at a natural point overlooking the gorge to take photographs of visitors standing at the spot.

This photo shows Glen Gebhardt on the left and Paul Logan. Written on the back of the photo is "Donkey Diablo - carrying water in bags for consumptions of visitors. Charged 5 cents a glass."
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The Royal Gorge PavilionThe Royal Gorge Pavilion