I’ve shared Poudre Canyon images in two earlier posts. I started where every canyon trip starts, at Ted’s Place, and then continued up the lower canyon, with images of Stearley’s Cabins and Picnic Rock. The links to the two earlier posts are shown below:
- The Poudre Canyon – Ted’s Place
- The Lower Poudre Canyon: Stearley’s Cabins, Picnic Rock, and a Little History
This post will take us up the lower canyon a little farther, starting at the waterworks, now Gateway Park, and then visiting three more lower canyon resorts.
In 1903, Fork Collins residents voted to extend the water supply pipes up the Poudre Canyon to a point just upstream from the junction with the North Fork, making the Poudre Canyon Waterworks Plant an early fixture in the lower canyon. This image, circa 1937, shows the entrance to the plant located at MP 116.0. Look east as you turn into the park entrance to see the scene shown here. The hill was called Waterwork’s Hill.
This photograph was taken by Mark Miller, a long time Fort Collins’ photographer. He loved the Poudre Canyon and probably took more photographs of it than all the other 20th century photographers combined. He turned them into real photo postcards and sold them through the canyon resorts. When Barbara Fleming and I wrote Fort Collins: The Miller Photographs, we had a chance to interview two of his children, John and Beth, about their childhood and their trips up the canyon with their father.
When John and Beth started going up the canyon with their father on photo trips, it was in an overloaded Model T Ford. Dirt and gravel, the one-lane canyon road was narrow and steep, with no guard rails. (Paving was not completed throughout the canyon until the 1950s.) Coming to a particularly sharp grade, perhaps the one at Waterworks Hill, Miller would first attempt to persuade the vehicle upward. When it balked, as if often did, everyone got out, and Miller turned the car around and backed up the hill.
Two earlier posts sharing images from the Miller family photo album. They were called Mark Miller: Images from the Photographers’ Family Album – Part 1 and Part 2.
Completed in the spring of 1904, the system was expected to supply the city with four million gallons of water a day, enough, according to a local newspaper article, to provide “a great plenty for sprinkling lawns at all hours of the day.” Over time, facilities and equipment were added to ensure cleaner and safer water to the city. This photograph shows how the plant had expanded by the mid-1950s. Now Gateway Park, offers hiking, picnicking, and a launching point for rafts and kayaks.
Alvi and Louis Yauger were early homesteaders along the Cache la Poudre River. Sometime around 1917, they opened Yauger’s Resort, consisting of a store and some cabins. The resort, gone now, was located near Milepost113. With the lower Poudre Canyon road completed past this point, local residents drove to the resort for ice cream and to watch Louis whistle in fish from the suspension bridge shown in this image.
Obviously, Yauger’s was a busy place. In the second photograph, I count ten cars parked around the resort.
The next resort, as you want up the canyon, was Columbine Camp. Below are two images of the camp, from different time periods.
This resort, at Milepost 112.0, began as Columbine Camp in the late 1920s, with a grocery store, five cabins, a campground, and a pony ring. It was started by Archie Jordan, a Fort Collins grocer, and has had a long string of owners over the years.
Columbine is still in business but now under the name Columbine Lodge and Rusty Buffalo Campground.
Here is a short break from resorts and buildings, a young lady relaxing in the Poudre Canyon in September 1910. There isn’t any more information on the postcard – not her name or where she is in the canyon. I believe she is somewhere in the lower canyon, since in 1910, even a round trip from Fort Collins to the lower canyon, in either a wagon or an early automobile, would have taken the better part of a day.
Certainly, hiking fashions were different in 1910. Men often wore ties and, as you can see, women wore dresses and, apparently, spectacular hats. I’ve emailed this image to CSU’s Avenir Museum of Design to see what they can tell us about the young lady’s clothing. I’ll pass on any information from them in a future update.
But now, one more resort – Pine Vu Lodge.
Located very close to Columbine, Rainbow Ridge (not pictured), a resort with cabins and a store, opened in the early 1940s under the management of Pete and Mary Townsend, but road rebuilding in 1947 sliced off one edge of the property, so the Townsends gave up their resort. That same year, Gordon and Idella McMillan bought the land and built Pine Vu Lodge (originally spelled Pine View). These three images by Mark Miller show the Lodge, its dining room, and the rental cabins, all taken around 1950.
On September 24, 1991, Pine Vu’s main building burned down and the resort never reopened.
When I come back to the Poudre Canyon on a future post, I’ll start with the Thompson Resort, better known to us today as Mishawaka, but next Sunday I’ll share some early images from Windsor, Colorado.