Peggy Rowland: A ‘city kid’ who stuck around |

Peggy Rowland: A ‘city kid’ who stuck around

Peggy Rowland is an avid nordic skier. As often as she can, she leaves her house on Shady Lane to glide down Aspen’s Rio Grande trail.

This would be unremarkable for an Aspen resident, except that the trip down the old railroad grade is filled with meaning and memories for Rowland, a lifelong Aspenite.

Rowland was born in Aspen in 1915. Her grandfather, Al Lamb, came to Colorado in the 1880s. In 1885, after a whirlwind correspondence, Lamb left his home in Leadville for Illinois, to convince his future wife, Susan, to run away with him.

They married in Denver in 1885 and spent their honeymoon in Manitou Springs. Then they crossed Independence Pass on a stagecoach to start a pharmacy on Hyman Avenue in Aspen.

“There were two pharmacies in town,” Rowland said. “Because business was so scarce, I remember as a child that if someone asked for something that my grandfather didn’t have, he’d send me to go get it from the other pharmacy, run by Kenneth Hanson.”

Rowland’s father opened a bookstore in Aspen, but closed the store in 1919 to move to Denver, where Peggy grew up. Still, every summer she would return to Aspen.

“I was a city kid, so I wasn’t well liked,” she remembers. “But still I loved it. I always had a horse to ride, so it worked out.”

In 1939, Peggy married Harold “Red” Rowland, a son of an Aspen miner, at Maroon Lake. In 1946, when they decided to make a permanent home in Aspen, work was hard to come by.

“Red was lucky,” Rowland said. “He found work constructing Aspen’s first ski lifts.”

“Red’s Run” on Aspen Mountain is named for Red and the work he put into Aspen Mountain.

The Rowlands raised four children in town, all of whom graduated from Aspen High School; one now lives in Meredith. “Red” died in 1987, but to this day Peggy is still listed in the phone book under her husband’s name.

Rowland keeps busy, volunteering in the Thrift Shop and staying active in local charities.

“Everything has pretty well changed since I was a kid,” Rowland said. “My taxes used to be $52, now they’re close to $8,000, if that gives you some idea.”

As often as she can, Rowland takes a break and goes nordic skiing. She says it clears her head, gliding effortlessly through memories of the past.

Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is

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