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A local treasure

Dear Editor:

I want to praise a local treasure that is available to all in Aspen.

I am a writer and public reference librarian in the Los Angeles area. Recently, I joined Facebook and promptly reconnected with friends from my undergraduate days at Occidental College. One is Mike Monroney, who acts as history coach for the Aspen Historical Society.



He told me about a program that he is running called Time Travel Tuesdays. One week, he ran a Trivial Pursuit-style game in which he substituted questions about Aspen’s history.

Since I’m not familiar with Aspen, I asked him to send me some of the questions. The information I discovered fascinates me. Here is the 19th century town built in a mining boom. Here is the post World War II “Aspen Idea” of a utopian cultural community. Finally, here is today’s resort city with an artistic bent inhabiting its charmingly restored Victorian infrastructure.




It is only now in my life that all the history and geography lessons I learned in school are finally plunking into place in my mind. I took the family on a trip to Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, and then down through Vegas (to see Spamalot) in the summer of 2007. It was so interesting to explore the historical interplay of the Mormons, the Spanish, and the gangsters in the area. Before my prep for the trip, I really had no comprehension that Las Vegas was born in its modern form only in 1946. And I thought Los Angeles was new and shallow!

And don’t get me started on Yale University! We took a tour of that last spring. All those gothic-looking buildings were built in the 1930s as copies of European university buildings. Total kitsch, meant to add a false sense of gravitas.

Aspen is older, more authentic, and more interesting than Yale. I learned that through the Aspen Historical Society.

Irene E. McDermott

San Marino, Calif.


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