History in Aspen


Tracing its roots back to the winter of 1879, Aspen’s history begins as part of America’s silver mining tradition. Ascending to its peak silver production years in 1891 and 1892, Aspen’s growth reached a crescendo in 1893, as the town thrived due to its vast silver production.

Aspen went bust when the U.S. government demonetized silver in 1893 — but it was rescued later in the 20th century when businessman Walter Paepcke and his wife Elizabeth rediscovered the town’s beautiful mountain vistas and conceived the Aspen Idea, where the integration of the mind, body, and spirit gives rise to personal and community growth.

One of the town’s earliest visionaries was Jerome B. Wheeler, and today you can see landmarks Mr. Wheeler helped build and create in the late 1800s. Take a tour of an Aspen institution, Hotel Jerome, a favorite gathering spot for locals since it opened in 1889.

The Wheeler Opera House also opened that same year and has been in operation ever since. Today, it’s Aspen’s premier performing venue Daily tours of this historic landmark tell of its remarkable history.

In 1888, Mr. Wheeler built a Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion for his family that comprised an entire city block. Today, it’s the Wheeler/Stallard Museum and the headquarters of the Aspen Historical Society.

Relating the history of the region’s ore processing and ranching days, Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum helps the past come alive, where the historic Zupancis cabins are a must-see.

And no trip out west is complete without a visit to an old ghost town. Situated 16 miles east of Aspen off the Independence Pass, Independence Ghost Town features interactive, interpretive stations, characters and exhibits that tell the region’s fascinating mining history.

When you stay with us at Hyatt Residence Club Grand Aspen, you’ll feel the history of the Old West and its mining glory days. Slip into the past with a visit to one of the area’s many historic sites or a walking tour through town.

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