Aspen’s history in photos now in online collection |

Aspen’s history in photos now in online collection

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Courtesy Aspen Historical Society

ASPEN – Sifting through the photo archive maintained by the Aspen Historical Society is a bit like time travel – a walk through more than a century of local history.

But until now, browsing through such scenes as the Hotel Jerome’s terrace, back when the hotel swimming pool was a favorite community gathering spot, or the winter of 1936, when a storm left snow piled as high as a man’s head along Hyman Avenue, meant a trip to the basement of the Carriage House behind the Wheeler/Stallard Museum. It’s there that the society’s archive collection is housed.

Many of the photographs and other images have long been digitized, but computer access to them was limited to archive staffers. Beginning Monday, the historical society is launching an online image collection that is open to the public.

Though there may be some kinks in the system in the early going, staffers are quick to stress, online users at will find a new link to various archived materials, including 8,500 photographs and other images from the roughly 23,500 in the society’s collection. More will follow, predicted archivist Anna Scott.

The archive staff has combed through thousands of images to choose the best and most representative sampling without duplication, according to Scott. And they’re not all mining-era photos, or black-and-whites of early skiing. Some of the archived photos are quite recent.

“That’s the fun part. It’s not just pictures from the 1800s – it’s about 100 years of historical photos,” Scott said.

Some of the images aren’t photographs at all, but posters, maps, lift tickets and other items, she noted.

The system allows users to conduct a keyword search for images related to specific topics, and there will be a top 100 sampling, Scott said.

“For some people, it’s just overwhelming to look at 8,500 pictures,” she conceded.

But for those with the time and inclination, a random browse through the entire online collection is possible.

Information available about each image is also provided – what year a photograph was taken, the name of the photographer, available information about the subject matter and the size of the print, for example. Each is available to purchase in print and digital form.

The images join other archived material available from the Aspen Historical Society online, including oral histories, Aspen newspapers published up to 1923, and a variety of historical records, such as local cemetery records, city directories and marriage records from 1882 to 1930.

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