From the Vault: Touching down

“First planes land at new Aspen Airport,” announced The Aspen Times on Nov. 11, 1948. “Late Tuesday morning, about four and a half miles from town, an event took place which will have a marked effect on the future history of Aspen. The first planes landed on the Aspen Airport, thirty minutes after they left Grand Junction. So Aspen really is getting on the map, and now has added one more fact to her scintillating history and personality. For how many towns the size of this one can boast with pride, ‘We have an air field’? The airport cannot fail to be a boon to the town in many ways. Undoubtedly there will be flight school here in the future. And the landing field means more people because it will facilitate arrivals and will prove a time saver for those limited on vacations. For one thing, if for no other, visitors would return to see the view which lies before their eyes as they alight from the plane, the beauty of Aspen Valley surrounded with majestic mountains, snow-clad in winter and cool and green in the summer. Your reporter knows for she had her first plane ride, but would find it difficult to say which view is more beautiful, the one from above, which is absolutely breathtaking, or the one that greets the eye when you step from the plane. The air strip is one more step uniting the Victorian Era and the Era of Today. And it is to the far-sighted vision of Mr. Walter Paepcke that credit is due to this splendid airport which he, with Mr. Jack Spachner, was wholly instrumental in bringing to the community.”

This photo and more can be found in the Aspen Historical Society archives at