10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Aspen
Aspen, Colorado. Even the name sounds magical. What sorts of thoughts enter your head when you think of Aspen? Skiing? Celebrities? Well, sure, there are those things, but what about the real Aspen? Let's take a look.
In 1889, settlers ignored the Governor's warnings to return to the east side of the Continental Divide and avoid the rampaging Ute indians and instead stayed west, searching for gold, silver, whatever they could find. Settling into what was then known as Ute City, the name would be changed in 1880 to reflect the trees that grew abundantly there.
Aspen passed Leadville as the most productive silver mining district in the United States for two years in a row. One reason for this was the passing of the Sherman SIlver Purchase Act, which increased the amount of silver the government was to purchase.
By 1893, Aspen had banks, a hospital a police department, two theaters and an opera house. The town had grown considerably but was about to be beset with troubles that would see the town decline until the mid 1930's.
When President Cleveland had the silver act repealed, it had immediate repercussions on towns that relied on the sale of silver to survive.Within weeks, many mines were closed and thousands of miners found themselves out of work.
It wasn't until the 1930's that people began to notice the excellent snow that fell there, as well as how the mountains were laid out. The full development would have to wait for World War 2 to end before planning would begin in earnest. Friedl Pfeiffer, a member of the 110th mountain division returned to the area and, with others, began the Aspen Skiing Corporation in 1946.
By 1950, Aspen was getting a reputation for excellent skiing and was asked to host the 1950 World Skiing Championships. Aspen was growing in size and stature, but the mountain, as a result of it's increasing popularity, was becoming difficult to ski due to the sheer numbers of people arriving to do just that.
With the additional development of Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands opening in 1958, and Snowmass in 1967, the area now had three internationally acclaimed mountains for skiers to enjoy.
In the 1960's, the Kennedy clan began to take their vacations in Aspen due to the amazing skiing. And once word of that got out, all kinds of celebrities began showing up. And they continue to do so. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel, Don Henley of the Eagles and Kevin Costner all own or have owned homes there.
in 2011, Aspen had the highest property valuation in the nation. At $897 per square foot, a single family home or condo would fetch upwards of $5,000,000.
With events such as the Winter X games and World Alpine Skiing Championships, Aspen has shown it's ability to command and hold the spotlight. With some of the best skiing on earth and off season events such as the Aspen/Snowmass Jazz Festival, people will continue to flock to Aspen to enjoy everything the area has to offer. Films shot in Aspen include Dumb and Dumber and the Searchers.