Aspen Colorado History
When Aspen's silver mines finally ran out, the picturesque Victorian mountain town reinvented itself as a world-class ski resort. Skiers graced the freshly prepared slopes, early residents bought their first plots at astonishingly low prices, Ute Indians made their homes outside Colorado. Archaeologists recently discovered the remains of an ancient people who settled on the slopes of the Colorado River, just a few miles from the city's modern downtown.
During this period of silver and gold production, Aspen was home to the largest population ever, and two railroad lines reached Aspen, a telephone and water system were installed, and Pitkin County was founded. During this prosperous and entertaining period, the road continued to what it is today: a bustling city with more than 1,000 inhabitants. The Aspens Times was born, the first newspaper of its kind in the state of Colorado and the oldest newspaper in Colorado.
Aspen was on its way to becoming an internationally renowned ski resort and cultural center, and is now on the verge of becoming one. One of the leading developers and gurus was Aspen legend Curt Paepcke, the co-founder of Colorado's largest ski company, Combined Skiing Co., and one of America's first ski resorts. In 1884, Paepsckes founded the Aspens Skied Co., with the aim of making Aspinen popular as a holiday destination.
Mining on Aspen Mountain began in the late 19th century and lasted for decades, and many ski resorts began as mining camps. Burkley says that today's mining history is as much a part of Colorado's ski history as mining history. It is really an interesting story how Aspinen went from a mining boom to a booming city. You cannot get inside the mountain, although a lot has been cut out over the years, so you probably wouldn't be as familiar with it as you are today. Colorado and Aspens are home to some of America's most famous ski resorts and the largest ski area in the world.
Accordingly, the original settlers built huts with access to Ute Spring and Utes Avenue, and the first official road in Aspen was mentioned in a letter to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in the 18th century.
Aspen flourished and became accustomed to seeing people of all skin colors, and by 1965, ski visits had risen to more than 1.5 million a year, the second highest in the United States after New York City. Aspen was opened in 1964 as the first ski resort in North America, Ski Mountain.
It was done after the Aspen Skiing Co. bought the surrounding mountain range to build the first ski resort in the Rocky Mountain Highlands region of Colorado.
Aspen Mountain, which began as an existing city at its foot, had its beginnings in the early 20th century. Aspen began in 1879 as a small mining camp founded by Henry B. Gillespie and was a thriving town with about 1,500 inhabitants and a ski resort until 1893. The town, which was founded as a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom, experienced a boom in its first decade in the 1880s and was later called Aspens due to the abundance of aspen trees in the area. The city reached its peak in 1891, when it became the first spa in Colorado and the second largest spa in North America. Snowmass (about 13 miles from Aspin) was founded in 1890 as part of a larger ski resort on the eastern side of Asperger's Mountain.
The Low Durant mine, where today's lower Aspen Alps border the Aspin Mountain Road, was deposited in the collecting water of the soon-to-be Argentum Juniata-Espen. Prospectors withdrew after Hayden's 1873-74 geological survey reported that the nearby Roaring Fork Mine, about 10 miles south of Aspen Mountain, also contained silver. The City of Independence was founded, and many of its residents moved to Aspen and got jobs at the mining camp and Asperger Mountain and Snowmass Ski Resort.
The two men bought several mine claims on Aspen Mountain, and Wheeler surveyed the town's grounds and renamed it "Aspen." A few years later, they bought what later became Aspens Highlands, where they planned to live and raise horses. They began the process of capitalizing their silver strike first with the purchase of the Roaring Fork Mine, then the Low Durant Mine and finally the Argentum Mine.
Because Buttermilk and Aspen Mountain were close together, there was little competition between the two ski areas, as Anderson and Pfister also sat on the board of Aspens Skiing Corporation. Swiss climber Andre Roch, who helped found the Espen Ski Club, cut open the resort's first slope, called the "Roch Run," after him, who pursued many of his early goals, including surveying the mountain.
Mining picked up some steam after World War I, but the real upswing for Aspen began in 1936, when a former bobsleigh Olympic champion became an investment banker in the United States and his son met at a polo club in California. In the 1950s, after World War II, members of the 10th Mountain Division came to Aspens and reintroduced skiing. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the two boys rode for the Aspen Valley Ski Club team.