John McNabb was a Scotch-Canadian born on November 30, 1859 at Woodville, Eldon Township, Canada. He was an early settler on the Poudre who came to area in 1880 at the age of twenty-one. He first delivered mail to neighboring mining towns, and then began building log structures for a living. In 1889, he and his wife Annie and daughter Stella settled in Poudre City. His house barely escaped the floodwaters from the June 8, 1891 Poudre flood. The following year, he supervised the rebuilding of the toll road that the 1891 flood had washed out after the floodwaters also destroyed the Chambers Lake dam.

Thereafter he became heavily involved in road, bridge, and water works, including the construction of numerous irrigation works. In 1891, he served as foreman for Water Supply and Storage Company in their construction of the Skyline Ditch project. In 1902, he and William Rist filed on a site to construct Joe Wright Reservoir. The two men constructed this storage facility for Mountain Supply Ditch Company between 1905 and 1908. McNabb and Rist collaborated again in 1903 to file for a water rights claim for a snow ditch at the top of Cameron Pass. The men constructed the resulting Michigan Ditch between 1904 and 1906, when they transferred rights to Mountain Supply Ditch Company. His final project was as foreman for construction of Comanche Reservoir in 1931.



-Howard Ensign Evans and Mary Alice Evans. Cache La Poudre: The Natural History of a Rocky Mountain River. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1991. p. 205.

-Stanley R. Case. The Poudre: A Photo History. Bellvue, CO: Stanley R. Case, 1995. pp. 14, 39, 113, 221, 236, 242-243, 278-279.

-Ansel Watrous. History of Larimer County Colorado. The Old Army Press, 1911. pp. 496.

-Norman Walter Fry. Cache La Poudre: “The River” As Seen from 1889. Second Printing. pp. 16.