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People of the Times

Aspen Times writer
Loey Rinquist (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

When photographer Loey first came to Aspen in 1949, she found work at the Aspen Tintype Studio with Patrick Henry. Many of Loey’s photographs from the 1950s and 1960s are in Aspen Historical Society’s archives – and are often featured on the Aspen Times Weekly history page.

Loey became well acquainted with the area surrounding Aspen as a jeep driver for Natalie Gignoux’s Little Percent Taxi business. She drove her thrilled customers over every possible mountain pass in and beyond the Elk Range. She showed them ghost towns, remote abandoned mines, wildflower meadows and some of the best trout holes in the various rivers and creeks along the way.Partnered with Fritz and Fabi Benedict, she brought property up Brush and Owl creeks and converted an ancient corncrib into a snug, picturesque log home, Faraway Ranch. She worked harder than any ranch hand she hired, and in winter she was as accomplished a skier as any on the slopes. She created a beautifully productive vegetable garden where the old ranch’s corral had been, and the rich soil provided her winter veggies with lots to go around. Her flower garden, with Mt. Daly as a backdrop, was a setting for campfire evenings, where some of us lucky souls were invited to share her famous Slumgullion stew and s’mores. As we watched the sunset colors fade and the aspen wood flames shoot sparks up to join the first evening stars, we felt embraced by the warmth and beauty of our world.Her doggie family was her love life. No stray, unwanted dog, abandoned at a roadside, was turned away. She once trained and treasured 15 dogs, all of whom helped her (with lusty and enthusiastic voices) welcome all comers to their newfound protector. With the event of the new Snowmass ski area, the die was cast: Trucks and bulldozers ripped-out daisy meadows, and the prospect of continued development prompted her to sell out. She moved her beloved log home to a newly purchased ranch outside of Norwood, Colo., and left our valley bereft of one of our outstanding contemporary women pioneers. At the age of 87, she and her twin sister, Louise, live within yodeling distance of each other. They both enjoy the open views of green fields and mesas leading up to a peak named “Lone Cone,” with no threat of development.- Jony Larrowe

Jeanne Jaffee was trained as a librarian and has always had a soft spot for the Historical Society. On more than one occasion she has stepped up to help.My story begins around the year 1989 or so. I took Jeanne and Marge Stein out to lunch at the Wienerstube and asked them to help me organize the first fundraising event at Holden Marolt. They both questioned me about the project and finally came up with the idea of a barn-raising. We had a kickoff dance and cocktail party at the barn with many last-minute helpers to make it work. Only hours before the event, an electrician installed more lights and some plugs for the band. We set a price of $100 per person and were on our way. When it was time to leave, there were no lights outside and lots of irrigating water to get your shoes wet and muddy. The barn-raising was a huge success, and Jeanne has been very instrumental in the great success that the Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum has become.- Carl Bergman

Avalanches were as dangerous to the miners of the region on the surface as were their working conditions underground. In March of 1884 a massive snowslide occurred in Conundrum Gulch and took the lives of five men. Thirty three days later Bruiser, the sole survivor, was located in the debris under 25 feet of snow.

The citizens of Aspen were so enamored with Bruiser’s survival that a commemorative silver collar was commissioned and completed by J. E. Freeman and company. Following appropriate photos and celebration, Bruiser was returned to surviving family members somewhere back East.- Larry Fredrick

Joan Metcalf was half of that inspired duo who created The Crystal Palace dinner theater. It was 1957 in Aspen. Joan Higbie had a beautiful soprano voice and Mead Metcalf could play show tunes on the piano. Joan washed dishes at the Palace, which Mead had started in the old Mother Lode building and she started a tradition by coming out of the kitchen, taking off her apron and singing along with Mead. Their team continued through the years, including their marriage in 1962. Mead eventually bought the building next door and added all the stained glass and chandeliers, and the show grew to include many outstanding singers, who also are the waiters and waitresses. Instead of show tunes, the songs are now satirical comments about current events, written especially for the Palace. To the patrons’ delight, however, Joan would always belt out her signature number, “Hello Dolly” to close the show. The duo eventually ended with Joan and Mead’s divorce in 1983 – still Mead continued with the Palace, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer.- Mary Eshbaugh Hayes

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