1994: Elizabeth Paepcke dies at 91
In celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Aspen Times, we are printing a story or two from each year the newspaper has existed – 125 historical selections in 125 days. This series is in conjunction with the Aspen Historical Society. Elizabeth Paepcke dies at 91By Andy StoneElizabeth “Pussy” Paepcke died late Wednesday afternoon, at 91, in her home in Aspen’s West End.Paepcke, the matriarch and, to many the “conscience” of modern Aspen, suffered a fractured skull in a fall at her home on Sunday. Refusing to remain hospitalized, she returned to her home that same day, rallying briefly Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, before lapsing into a final unconsciousness.”She died surrounded by her family, in her bedroom, overlooking Hallam Lake. It was what she wanted,” said Paepcke’s granddaughter Ariane Zurcher.Paepcke’s determination to finish her life as she had lived it was reflected in her decision to return to her home following her injury, as it was reflected in her determination to come to Aspen this summer, despite her doctor’s advice to remain at lower elevations.She was preceded in death, by more than 30 years, by her husband, Walter, the Chicago industrialist who died in 1960.Together the Paepckes were responsible for much of the special character of the modern-Aspen “renaissance,” when the town rose from a near-ghost town to its current prominent position as a resort and cultural center.Though her husband was a successful businessman and strong intellectual, it was Elizabeth Paepcke, trained as an artist in her youth, who helped shape Aspen’s cultural character.In an interview several years ago, Paepcke said her husband “used to joke that I would be in charge of taste and culture and he would be in charge of business and the mind.”Together the Paepckes helped launch the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, the Aspen Music Festival, the International Design Conference at Aspen, and – with Elizabeth Paepcke’s brother Paul Nitze – the Aspen Skiing Company.Though Walter Paepcke, the “can-do” industrialist, is often credited with the accomplishments that shaped Aspen’s character, it was clear that his wife was often the inspiration and the motivation behind his achievements. (June 16, 1994)Albouy’s dream realizedThe late Stefan Albany’s dream of providing needed housing for the local working class cleared its last government hurdle Monday, when the Aspen City Council gave final approval to the Williams Ranch subdivision.Several dozen supporters of the project, among them a number of natives and people who have lived in the area for 20 years or more, broke into sustained applause as the City Council gave its final OK to the project.Albouy, who died earlier this year from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, had begun pursuing development approvals nearly a year ago, and the project was carried on by his estate and a cadre of friends and supporters.The project will put 50 homes, 35 of them categorized as “affordable housing,” and 15 free-market lots on approximately 13 acres just behind the Centennial condominium complex at the north end of town.Of the 35 affordable units, 18 will be duplexes and 17 will be single-family detached homes. While 20 of the affordable homes will be fully deed-restricted and priced somewhere between $69,000 and $195,000, the remaining 15 will fall under the new category of “resident-occupied” with a maximum price range of $325,000.Of those 15 “RO” units, according to the council’s approval, 10 will be restricted for sale to local working households with maximum incomes of $150,000 a year and maximum personal assets of up to $400,000.Five of the homes, however, will carry no income or asset restrictions, at the request of the developers. These homes will still be governed by price restrictions to avoid becoming speculative properties. They are meant to go to longtime local workers whose income or assets have left them in a state of limbo by not being able to qualify for more traditional affordable housing, while not being wealthy enough to buy on the open market. (Nov. 19-20, 1984)Highlands gets CrownedBy Scott CondonWhen the Crown family of Chicago acquired 100 percent ownership in the Aspen Skiing Company last spring, Skico executives promised it marked the coming of a new age for the company and the ski mountains they manage.The Skico buyout would allow the Crowns to proceed with grander plans for mountain improvements and get involved with other activities to help build a healthy, year-round resort, Skico officials said.Little did anyone suspect at the time that the first opportunity for the Crowns to demonstrate their new dominance over Aspen skiing would be not on Burnt Mountain but on Highlands, long the odd-mountain-out in Aspen’s pantheon of ski slopes.But that is suddenly what is happening. While debate continues on whether the Skico can put a gondola up Burnt Mountain above Snowmass, the Crowns have unmistakably begun to put their stamp on the one local ski area that for so long had eluded Skico’s control.The Crowns’ ascension in Highlands has come about as an offshoot of Texas real estate developer Gerald Hines’ purchase late last year of Aspen Highlands from Harvard University, who received it as a bequest from its individualistic founder, Whipple Van Ness Jones. (Jan. 15-16, 1994)
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