Dear Editor:Don Rayburn’s obituary gave many details of his wonderful life but omitted his co-ownership (with Don “Hump” Hillmuth) of the Garret, a flophouse at 222 W. Hopkins Ave.In the fall of 1963, I returned to Aspen from a trail-crew job in Grand Teton National Park, and I needed a place to crash. Ivan Abrams suggested the Garret. There was a sign on the front door stating the charge was $2 a night. No one answered the door, so I left a note. A day later, a note from Don appeared telling me to go right in, the door being unlocked, and take any room I wanted and leave the money on the kitchen table. I was the only one there for about a week! I baked my first chocolate cake, and there was no one to share it with. I left Aspen in 1965 and returned in 1971. By this time, the Garret was fully occupied. The kitchen and bathrooms were grungy. I know because I was hired to raise the standard of sanitation in those areas. The inhabitants included William & Mary alumna Suzanne Clark on the high end and the self-described Piltdown Man of the ’60s and ’70s, Pete Luhn, on the other. Pete was living there during a separation from one or the other of his three wives. Messrs. Rayburn and Hillmuth were wonderful landlords who kept the place functioning as affordable housing until the late ’70s, long after many other places had been flipped.David BentleyAspen
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