The City Hall of Colorado City, located at 2902 West Colorado Avenue in what is now Colorado Springs, was built in 1888 to provide space for city offices, a jail, and a fire department for Old Colorado City. The building was used as a city hall for only four years, however, because it was too far from downtown. It has since been used by a variety of educational, religious, and commercial organizations, and now houses a coffee shop and book store.
Organized in 1859 by Melancthon Beach, Rufus Cable, Anthony Bott, and George Bute, Colorado City was the first permanent settlement to serve the Pikes Peak region during the early days of the Colorado Gold Rush. In 1861 Colorado City was named the first unofficial capital of Colorado Territory, but the territorial legislature held only one session there before relocating to Denver in 1862. Over the next two decades, Colorado City stagnated and declined, even as the resort communities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs took shape to the east and west.
Colorado City’s fortunes changed with the 1886 arrival of the Colorado Midland Railroad—which chose the city as the site of its headquarters—and the 1891 discovery of gold at Cripple Creek. Rail access prompted the construction of several ore processing centers in the town. Colorado City also housed saloons, gambling halls, and brothels to serve the workers of nearby Colorado Springs, which was a dry city.
As Colorado City began to prosper, the town incorporated in 1887 and built its first city hall in 1888. The City Hall of Colorado City cost $5,000 and housed four city offices, the city jail, and a fire department. Built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the two-story structure had a façade of rough-cut stone and stucco. It was located at the corner of Twenty-Ninth Street and Colorado Avenue, several blocks west of downtown. City Hall’s distance from the town center immediately caused problems, as prisoners had to be transported by wagon past the brothels and saloons in Colorado Avenue’s red light district. This process proved expensive and tedious, so in 1892 a new city hall was built at Twenty-Sixth Street and Cucharas Avenue.
The City Hall of Colorado City was later remodeled into the Whitter School, or Ward School, which operated until 1901. In 1902 the building became a hotel and was later used as a church and Sunday school. Colorado Springs annexed Old Colorado City in 1917, and the former city became a national historic district within Colorado Springs. Starting in the 1930s, the old City Hall served at different times as a soft drink bottling facility, garage, restaurant, and dance hall. In 1975 Cleo and Olive Tapp converted the old city hall into the Hibbitts Antiques and Furniture Shop. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. In May 2006, the Holy Theophany Orthodox Church opened the Agia Sophia Coffee Shop in the old city hall. The shop, which also offers books for sale, continues to operate today.