The end of history
Candidates in this May City Council election tried to reinvent the wheel. They questioned Aspen’s goals and worried about how to solve its problems. No one here has learned their history lessons.
The election campaign became a wasteful reinvent-the-wheel deal. Wander back in time to the silver rush that created Aspen.
Aspen’s real estate boom began in the 1880s. This new Western frontier town boosted its image with rail service and the impressive Jerome Hotel, Wheeler Opera House, as well as with the mansions of wealthy miners and merchants. The mining town’s promoters thought of their town as a unique Crystal City, the Athens of the West.
Walter Paepcke carried on the frontier booster spirit when he restored the Jerome Hotel, the Wheeler, old mansions, used events to promote the resort, brought guests in by train, introduced historical preservation, housed some his employees, lived in a second home, speculated in real estate, considered master planning, tried to keep growth small and helped to get the ski lifts built on Aspen Mountain.
Council candidates talked about the Aspen Idea but had no idea that it has gentrified the resort. Paepcke was an admirable patron in the aristocrat tradition. His Idea was to save a rare, scenic mountain town as a small leisure resort for a few of a better class of people. No candidate offered an alternative to the Aspen Idea.
No one thought of reviewing the town’s 50-year-old history to help them understand where the town came from, why it is here and where it is going.
A town that does not appreciate its history is condemned to ignorance
Be Brave Comrades.
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