Historical society: We’re not the HPC | AspenTimes.com

Historical society: We’re not the HPC

Janet Urquhart

What’s in a name? Plenty, when it has to do with historical efforts in Aspen.

The Aspen Historical Society, often mistaken for the much-maligned Historic Preservation Commission, is changing its name.

A number of possible new monikers are under consideration by the historical society’s board of directors, according to John Moore, society president. A new name could be selected at a board meeting on Wednesday, he said.

A new name might better reflect the historical society’s work, Moore said, but the primary reason for the name change is the ongoing confusion between the historical society and the HPC.

The HPC is a city commission that reviews alterations to historic properties. The historical society oversees operation of the Wheeler-Stallard House, Aspen’s museum, and the local historical archives.

The historical society is in the midst of a major renovation at the Wheeler-Stallard House, is planning the inaugural exhibit that will mark the project’s completion next year, and is pushing forward with plans for a second museum in Aspen, near the old Lift 1A at the base of Aspen Mountain.

“Here we are, really on the verge of embarking on something and people are saying, `Oh, you’re the guys that won’t let people build,’ ” Moore said.

The HPC made headlines in September and throughout the fall after a list of proposed new additions to its historic inventory riled property owners.

Homeowners and commercial property owners objected, fearing inclusion on the list would restrict what they are able to do with their properties and reduce their property values.

The historical society is continually battling the perception that it is the organization responsible for the doings of the HPC, according to Moore.

“We’re taking hits left and right,” he said.

“As much as we’ve tried to tell people, it just seems to be kind of relentless.

“The consensus is, we do want a name change – that’s a sure thing,” he said. “But we don’t know what it is yet.”

Most of the suggestions under consideration bring the word “heritage” into the organization’s name.

The list of proposals includes: Aspen Heritage Foundation, Aspen Heritage Society, Aspen Heritage Museums, Aspen History Museum, Heritage Aspen and Heritage Aspen Society.

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