A few months ago, I bought a real photo postcard on eBay. It’s a picture of a tent near a river with a handwritten caption, “Lone Pine Inn, Poudre Canon” and the word “Webster.” Here it is:
I’ve written a lot about the Poudre Canyon and its historic resorts but I had never heard of the Lone Pine Inn. I checked my copy of Stanley Case’s The Poudre: A Photo History. It had a few lines in it on the Lone Pine Inn, but not very much. So I sent a scan of my image to Jan Gueswel. Jan, a Poudre Canyon resident and the editor of a monthly newsletter for lower Poudre Canyon residents, has become my go-to person on Poudre Canyon questions.
It turns out that Jan had a similar experience with a much better Lone Pine Inn image and had written about it in her newsletter. Here is Jan’s image and her story. (You can see the tent in my image just left of center in Jan’s image.)
Finding facts about Poudre Canyon is like looking for needles in a haystack. The fun part about it is that you find these things in the most unexpected places.
Recently I was looking through old post cards and found one labeled “Lone Pine Inn, Poudre Canyon”. I think I know the canyon pretty well but this was a new one on me. I looked at the picture – no bells went off immediately and then I noticed that someone had written the elevation on the card also, 5,700 foot altitude. (That is Poudre Park.)
The second clue was on the back of the postcard. Handwritten on the back was, “Mrs. Mace E. Webster, Bellvue, CO Transcontinental Highway link Fort Collins to Salt Lake.” More Clues! The Webster’s lived in Poudre Park.
The mountain behind my house is called Mount Webster. Now I look at the photo again and realized I do know where this is. The house is where the Dimmicks lived for many years before they built the current structure now on the property at 10326 Poudre Canyon. What I recognized was Hewlett Gulch from the highway.
Upon further research Bruce Dimmick told me that indeed it was an Inn, with a couple of lean to bedrooms where people could stay. His parents bought the cabin, remodeled and then tore it down and built the home they lived in for many years.
Interestingly enough, the name Webster has ties to the mountain and some suggest that the mountain was named for this family.
After the Webster’s left, a family named Porter owned the property. Louie and Helen Gueswel remember that in the 1940’s they had a small snack shack in front of the house where you could stop and buy candy and pop when you went fishing in the Poudre.
The other interesting thing was the note about this being the “transcontinental link between Fort Collins and Salt Lake City.” This is puzzling since the road was closed from late October until early May each year from snow. It could only have been used about half the year.
If you know more details about this please let me know.
Having the transcontinental highway cross Colorado along the Poudre Canyon was a dream of the early movers and shakers in Northern Colorado. Obviously, it never happened and southern Wyoming became the location for the highway.
In this coming week, time permitting, I will do two posts. First, Barbara Fleming has an article on CSU’s Braiden Hall coming out in the Coloradoan on Monday. I hope to post some pictures of the building on Wednesday or Thursday. Then on Sunday, I’ll do the first of two posts on the Armstrong Hotel, one of the great Fort Collins’ landmarks.