Aspen Thumbing Station is back
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Local hitchhikers rejoice ” a small piece of Aspen transportation history has been resurrected.
Last week, the city replaced the “Thumbing Station” sign that had stood outside the former Cortina Lodge at 230 E. Main St. since the 1960s. The sign apparently disappeared several months ago, causing some consternation among locals.
The sign, featuring an image of a fist with a thumb sticking up, had long represented a place to hitch a ride with impunity.
Upon hearing that it had disappeared, longtime Aspen resident Gaard Moses ” a sign painter, poster artist and creator of roughly six murals around town ” volunteered to paint a new one and donate it to the city.
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The new sign was hung by city workers sometime last week, according to Moses.
By request of the city, the new sign is painted on metal, rather than wood, Moses said. Working from a picture of the old sign, he painted it by hand with a painter’s quill.
On Tuesday, Moses stood beneath the sign with Aspen Councilman Jack Johnson. As they talked, various Aspenites passed by, some jokingly sticking out their thumbs.
“It’s part of old Aspen,” said Moses, of the resurrected sign. “God knows we have enough new Aspen around,” he said motioning at a crane in the distance.
Johnson said he’d been upset to hear the sign had been stolen, presumably, and reminisced about picking up hitchhikers with his father in the 1960s ” recalling the time he asked a particularly derelict man if he was part of the Manson family.
Neither Johnson nor Moses have ever used the Thumbing Station, though both said they had thumbed rides in town on at least one occasion.
Although hitchhiking within the Aspen city limits is not against the law, Aspen Police Department spokeswoman Stephanie Dasaro said hitchhikers will be contacted by the police if they are impeding the flow of traffic or generally being unsafe.
“If you’re standing in the street, jumping in front of cars, we will have a problem,” she said.
So, Dasaro said she encourages hitchhiking Aspenites to use the Thumbing Station, since it has already been established as a good place to thumb a ride.
“I think it is a safe place,” she said.
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