Zimmerman LbNA # 35032
|Placed Date||Sep 7 2007|
Zimmerman Gold ore stamp mill
John Zimmerman and his family had a huge impact upon the early history of the Poudre Canyon. John was known for his intelligence, persistence, indomitable courage and perseverance in proving to the world that gold did exist in Poudre Canyon. Born in the Alps of Switzerland, he was comfortable reading the rock formations and signs of probable locations of gold ore.
Typical of Gold Rush prospectors, John and his brother Michael began digging around Cameron Pass, following rumors of gold in that area. Soon they moved on down the Poudre Canyon to just above Rustic and approximately 1 mile above Archer’s Poudre River Resort. They staked their claim and called it the Elkhorn Mine. The high cost of transporting the ore to a reducing works ate up the profits of their labor. Since John had worked in an ore stamp mill in Nevada, he was comfortable with the idea of building a Stamp Mill on the Poudre River. He named the area of growing population, Poudre City.
The Mill consisted of a five-stamp battery, a roasting furnace, four amalgamators, one 2.5 horsepower steam boiler with its furnace and steam gauge and a mill race that turned a 12-foot high breast wheel with seven-foot buckets. What a sight it must have been. There were 5 buildings in all that were a part of the operation. Zimmerman fired up the Mill in October of 1890. He processed the Elkhorn ore and took the retorts to Fort Collins. The estimates of value fueled the rumor that Larimer County was destined to be the richest mining county It was later determined that the value was tremendously over estimated, but not until after the rush of would-be miners had dotted the mountainside with holes, in search of gold.
The operation of the mill was short lived. In June of 1891 the earthen dam at Chambers Lake burst. John heard the roar of the oncoming wall of water and rushed by horseback to Poudre City to warn the residents of the danger. All 13 people living at the Mill site and Poudre City were evacuated. The Mill was lifted off its foundation and the walls collapsed leaving only the stone chimney as witness to what had been. John filed a lawsuit against the Larimer County Ditch Company for his $7,500 loss. The court awarded him $1,750 in damages. A Historical Marker has been erected at the site.
Go West from Fort Collins on Colorado route 14. At around mile marker 89, you will see the Poudre Canyon Chapel on the left side (south). Park your vehicle in the Poudre Canyon Chapel parking lot.
Follow the short (300 feet) trail to old Poudre City. Stop at the Columbarium Memory Garden and enjoy the sounds of the stream behind you.
Keep right where the trail splits (the left fork goes toward the river). The historical marker at the chimney will be on your left. After reading the marker, head further down the trail about 34 paces (60-65’). A 4’ square foundation will be on your left. Look to your right to locate a cedar tree with some pines to its left. Go between the two pines closest to the cedar and walk around to the back of the cedar tree. Locate one small (1’ in diameter) and two larger rocks (2’) next to the cedar on the side away from the trail. The letterbox is nestled among the rocks. Please place back in the bags and replace carefully so that it is not visible from any direction.
Please report your find at www.letterboxing.org or www.atlasquest.com. I will be unable to maintain this box since I live in WV, so any first aid given will be greatly appreciated.
Happy letterboxing! I hope you enjoy my first planting.