Aspen History: A Mining Era Christmas

Aspen Historical Society

“Aspen never enjoyed a gayer Christmas,” declared the Rocky Mountain Sun on December 26, 1885. “On Christmas eve the amusements were numerous. At the Congregational church a tree bearing its annual crop of Christmas fruit for the Sabbath school children, shown resplendent with wax tapers and gay toys, the latter of which Santa Claus distributed with a lavish hand, and no one was forgotten. The exercises were interspersed with music and recitations and the evening was a joyous one for the little folk. There were many private family trees. At Mr. Gillespie’s a beautiful tree was erected in honor of the return of Masters Ken and Bert Gillespie from their Denver school to celebrate the holidays, and Mr. Dale Jacobs’ little friends danced about a tree put up in his home. At 12 o’clock the little Catholic church was crowded to its fullest capacity to hear midnight masses. Perhaps the gayest gathering were the coasters, who, under the leadership of A.W. Arey, made Mill street hilarious with shouts, as the double sleds freighted with men and women, came dashing down the long street. Some of them ran quite to Main street.” The image above shows the interior of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Aspen decorated for Christmas, 1885. (Image: Denver Public Library)