Student with a future finds his past |

Student with a future finds his past

Naomi Havlen

Jeffrey Young, a student at the Aspen Music Festival and School, certainly hopes that being destined for great things is a trait passed down in his family.The 19-year-old violinist came to town this summer to learn the finer points of becoming a virtuoso on the violin, but he also learned more about one of his ancestors who made a mark on Aspen that lasts to this day.Young is the great-great-grandson of David Hyman, the namesake of Hyman Avenue. Hyman was a Cincinnati lawyer and businessman who invested in local mines in the late 1800s.Currently a student at Oberlin College in Ohio, Young has been playing the violin for as long as he can remember. He is double majoring in violin and composition, and was accepted to the Aspen Music Festival and School this spring.”I’ve heard about the Aspen Music Festival and School all my life,” he said, “and I knew something about our family ties here.”I know there was a street named after him, and that he owned a mining claim and most of Aspen Mountain.”Of course, times have changed since the days of Hyman – this summer Young and three other members of his band of musicians played on an Aspen street corner and were rewarded with $95 in tip money in two hours.Hyman had loaned Charles Hallam, an acquaintance, $5,000 to invest in the silver camps in Aspen, and later purchased seven and a half mining claims with a down payment of $5,000 on a purchase price of $165,000, according to Mary Eshbaugh Hayes’ book, “The Story of Aspen.”Over the next years of the silver boom in Aspen, Hyman made (and lost) several fortunes, and eventually attempted to keep his Smuggler Mine going as long as possible after the silver bust in 1893.These days, Smuggler Mine still keeps watch over the town, and the street named after David Hyman is abuzz with window shoppers, a lively fountain that draws a regular crowd of children and the Aspen Saturday Market, among other draws.Young is learning about Aspen by reading his great-great-grandfather’s memoirs and keeping busy at the music school. He’s spent his time here taking private violin lessons and attending concerts.Young has enjoyed playing on the Hyman Avenue mall and seeing Aspen through the eyes of a busy music student, as opposed to someone who came here to finance a newly formed town.”It’s been really exciting. There are so many great [musicians] who come through here and I’ve been able to see a lot of them and find out what being a professional would be like,” Young said. “I’m thinking about how I might make my mark on the world.”Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is

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