The following is the text and some pictures used to describe this 1889 structure and the past decade, enjoy!!!
1908.Dorm for Dodd's College
2013 Queen Anne "Fine Dining"
History of 813 Macon Avenue, Canon City, CO81212
Built in 1889 by William McClure, for his wife Elizabeth and ten children, 813 Macon Avenue was one of the first houses to have a formal set of blue prints. Known as the “McClure House,” as it was not large enough to be called a mansion, the structure was the second major project for Mr. McClure as he had recently finished the McClure Hotel which was located on the northwest corner of 4th and Main Street, downtown Canon City. Mr. McClure was active in land and real estate businesses where he became the owner of many properties in the city. He was one of the original contributors to the building fund for the FirstBaptistChurch at seventh and Macon Avenue, 1890.
The McClure Hotel was completed in 1874, operated for a period of time and sold to English investors being renamed the Strathmore Hotel. It ultimately became Colorado’s oldest hotel until closing in 1981. Many special events happened to open the hotel including a tight rope walker who crossed Main Street as a stunt.
The “McClure House,” was designed to accommodate the family with three stories above ground and a partial basement, crawl space. The first floor had a traditional air lock, double door entry leading into the front hallway with a formal staircase and arched windows leading to the second floor (which Mr. McClure use to call his “stairway to heaven.”) Off the hallway was the parlor room which you entered through a true forty-eight inch wide door, it had two curved windows on the south side and a corner fireplace on the north side. The room connected with the master bedroom that had pocket doors for the south and east entrances. Leaving the master bedroom you entered the formal dining room, which was the largest room in the house. North of the dining room was the original kitchen with a staircase to basement storage, furnace and coal shoot, storage. Connected to the kitchen was a curved “servant staircase,” leading to the second floor. The second floor contained five bedrooms and one small bathroom; there were no closets in any room. The third floor was one open room which was designed for the children to play during inclement weather.
The house was built on a “prison stone foundation,” which was acquired through inmate labor from Colorado’s oldest prison, the Territorial prison, located at the west end of Macon Avenue. The stones were chiseled by hand from the mountain behind the facility and transported to construction sites in downtown. The house exterior is built with double brick walls and rough cut lumber interior walls, floor joists. The first and second floors had hardwood floors which are in use at this time.
Unfortunately Elizabeth and two of the children died prior to the completion of the home; however, Mr. McClure remarried and moved in with a new wife and eight children. The McClure’s lived in the house for a period of time and then one of the daughters took it over. In 1908 the facility was sold and became the dormitory for Dodd’s College, located in downtown CanonCity, which taught accounting and secretarial skills. The facility transitioned back to a family residence and became the gathering location for the Methodist Women’s Group for a number of years. In 1938 the facility became a rooming house with the second floor divided into multiple rooms for tenants. The facility, and its separate carriage house, transitioned from a single family residence to apartments during the next decades ultimately becoming a bank repossession in 1999.
Allen (Al) and Linda Ballard, Westminster, CO., purchased the facility on December 23, 2001, moving in during the first quarter 2002. The Ballard’s purchased the property as it was zoned central business, allowing them to create a fine dining tea house restaurant in the first floor, as well as live and have family, guest quarters on the second, third floors. There never was a plan to make it a Bed and Breakfast as the Ballard’s attended a B & B school in Denver, which they failed, realizing that was not their gifts or talents.
Al’s mother, Ethel Toppin, Westminster, CO, became ill and the carriage house was remodeled to accommodate her moving into it. Ethel became a fixture in the community, GoldenAgeCenter, with her red hair and constant stopping of others to visit. Ethel will turn 95 years young, August 31st and she resides at the HildebrandCareCenter, CanonCity.
On Thanksgiving eve, 2002, the Ballard’s were awakening by their dog, Cowboy, alerting them to an electrical fire on the second floor. The Canon City Fire Department contained the fire to the north end of the second floor, however, the entire area had to be demolished and rebuilt. The house was vacated, with the help of the Vineyard Church Men’s Group, with the Ballards moving into the carriage house with Ethel. Almost all of 2003 was dedicated to rebuilding the second floor.
During the years 2004-07 the facility was updated, remodeled, with Al commuting to Denver for work. The Canon City Queen Anne Tea House received its occupancy permit December 7, 2007. The “Fine Dining” restaurant has had six years of perfect state health inspections. It has served as a wedding, bridal shower, anniversary, birthday, special occasion facility serving Afternoon/Lunch and High/5 course Dinner Teas Monday through Saturday. The business has participated in yearly fund raising activities with many charities in the community, as well as opening its doors to historic home tours. With the encouragement of customers desiring to consign antiques and tea treasures, the retail store was opened in 2012, allowing for dining guests to have the opportunity to purchase a treasure to complete their “Moments of Magic” experience.
In addition to her normal, daily fine dining duties, Comfort Food Chef Linda holds monthly Baking/Cooking Demonstrations for customers and the public, covering many topics. The calendar of events can be found at
“This decade long journey, to complete my wife’s dream in operating a fine dining restaurant, has been a challenge due to a major, nationwide economic recession; costs relocating my mother; rebuilding of fire damage; loss of my long term employment and the back to back Colorado wild fires; however, when the door opens and customers come in, I see the joy it has brought her and our customer, resulting in my knowing it has been worth the journey,” Al Ballard.