John and Michael Zimmerman caught the “Gold Fever”. They started prospecting the Poudre Canyon in 1891, concentrating on the Chambers Lake area and later started digging on the mountainside approximately 1 mile up the canyon from what is now Archer’s Poudre River Resort.
Their Elkhorn Mine showed some promise but they had to overcome the difficulty of getting the low-grade ore transported to a reducing works. John’s experience while working at a reducing mill in Nevada gave him an edge over other prospectors in the Poudre Canyon. They began working on a stamp mill on the edge of the Poudre River. It was completed by fall of 1890. Cabins were built for the Elkhorn Mine and Stamp Mill miners and some of their families. John Zimmerman named the site Poudre City. The Zimmerman Stamp Mill was in operation for a very short time, primarily from October, 1890 until June 10, 1891 when the Chambers Lake dam burst from the pressure of that winter’s heavy snow fall and spring rains. Fortunately all 13 residents of Poudre City were evacuated safely. The force of the flooding river destroyed the cabins and all of the Stamp Mill except for the stone chimney and one cabin.
In 1957, area residents made an effort to preserve the “Poudre City” designation for the original site. However, plans to name a nearby resort “Poudre City” were successful and the prior site became known as the historic “Old Poudre City”.
To visit the site, park in the Poudre Canyon Chapel parking lot, gaze up at Profile Rock and then head down the short trail to the Historic Stamp Mill Marker and Old Poudre City.