Aspen History: Airport groundbreaking

Aspen Historical Society
One 3.5" x 5.5" b/w photograph of the mountains near Aspen and Snowmass, 1940-. The caption reads "Near Aspen, Colo. Capital Peak in the distance." The caption miss identifies the peak- should be Mt. Daly. Looking up Owl Creek and the stapleton Ranch which then became the airport, and the road is HWY 82.

“Work on Aspen Airport to start immediately,” announced the Aspen Times on September 30, 1948. “After months of waiting for big name airline companies to start some sort of an airport near Aspen, Mr. Charles Bishop, manager at the Hotel Jerome has announced that Mr. Walter Paepcke and Mr. J.V. Spachner, who have long been associated in the Container Corporation of America, will go ahead with the Aspen Airport without delay. Bishop revealed that construction is planned to start next week with earth moving machinery and graders due to arrive at the site which is about five miles below Aspen and paralleling the highway, on what is known as the Stapleton Ranch, later owned by the Biggs-Kurtz Company and recently purchased by Paepcke and Spachner. Present plans call for a 4500 foot strip instead of the 6000 foot strip originally planned. Later the runway can be lengthened to accommodate larger ships. The site will be leveled and carefully graded for possible use yet this winter. When covered by snow this will be sufficient surface for the winter season. Next spring, it will be seeded to come hardy grass that will bind the surface together and keep down the dust. The Rader Flying Service of Glenwood Springs has contracted to operate the field, being available for charter service from Aspen and Glenwood Springs to and from Denver and Grand Junction. Later the Aspen Company hopes to interest some line in maintaining a scheduled service into Aspen a part or all of the year. The County has tentatively agreed to maintain the strip with county equipment especially during the months of heavy snow.” The image above shows Highway 82 and the Stapleton Ranch (site of the future airport) in the 1940s, with Owl Creek Road and Mt. Daly in the background.