Often times, there is so much going on in Aspen and Snowmass Village that it is easy to forget the long and deep history Aspenites hold dear. The Aspen Historical Society has devoted itself to preserving the interesting and diverse history that has culminated into the culturally advanced social epicenter Aspen is today.
The Wheeler/Stallard Museum built by Jerome B. Wheeler in 1888 as a family home, has become the epicenter of the Aspen Historical Society. The museum itself offers tours of the house, which has preserved the Victorian Style in which it was built. Additionally this summer the Historical Society is focusing on the theme, “Out of Your Mind, Body and Spirit – Voices of Aspen in 1975.” Displayed in the Wheeler/Stallard Museum is a collection of items from this era. Additionally, there is an opportunity to record your own memories of this time to be preserved for future generations. Time Travel Tuesdays, an adult history program is hosted at the Wheeler/Stallard museum every Tuesday evening throughout the summer. A variety of presentations from speakers to historical re-enactments of historical events and discussions portray many aspects of Aspen’s history. Wednesdays are the kids’ day at the museum with the summer theme of “Playing with the Past.” Through July and August activities such as candle making, butter churning, ice cream making, tea parties and story telling make learning history fun!
The Aspen Historical Society offers a variety of history tours throughout the summer months as well. Walking, biking and a unique electric vehicle tour take time travelers through Aspen and its surrounding areas. Beginning June 14th and continuing through October 8th, these tours provide citizens and visitors an opportunity to see the remaining physical tributes to Aspen’s history and to absorb the influences that contributed to modern Aspen. The History Coach, the West End Walking Tour, Historic Bike tour, Hotel Jerome History Tour, ‘Steaming’ Holden Maroit Tour, focus on various aspects of Aspen History, from the ranching, mining, and the very beginnings of the rich culture of Aspen.
Just outside of town lie the ghost towns of Ashcroft and Independence. Tours guided by “ghosts” from this era lead visitors through these preserved historical towns. In conjunction with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, the tours at Ashcroft include information on the natural aspects of the site as well. The rich history of the West still whispers through these long abandoned buildings.
As a tribute to the long mining history in Aspen, the Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum takes visitors back to the late 1800’s, when Aspen was the largest producer of silver in the country. The Holden/Maroit Museum also pays tribute to the agricultural history of the Aspen area, commonly known as the ‘Quiet Years’ of Aspen. Original artifacts from the Maroit family ranch are on display.
Originally home to the Ute Indian tribe, and then to miners, ranchers and finally the socially and culturally elite beginning with the Paepcke Family, Aspen has seen the highs and lows of many an era. Take a moment away from hiking, biking, dining and socializing to get to know Aspen and the people who made it what it is today, just a little bit better.
When you’re done touring the historic parts of town, click here to see new and historic homes, residences and property investments in the Aspen and Snowmass Village area. Realize the deep, and complex history here, and then become part of the story. Come! Make history with us in the most beautiful city on earth!