Imprecise Aspen signage one of the town’s charms |

Imprecise Aspen signage one of the town’s charms

Recently, Aspen city officials were embarrassed by the substitution, in official documents, of “Cooper Street” for the correct “Cooper Avenue.” Musing on the error, I wonder if the responsible person at City Hall wasn’t dealing, unconsciously, with the basic incongruity of having, in parallel, avenues (Hopkins, Hyman, Cooper) on one side of Main Street and mere streets (Bleeker, Hallam, Francis, Smuggler) on the other. I say “mere” in connection with streets because, in the general pecking order of urban thoroughfares, avenues rank higher.

Aspen’s imprecise signage doesn’t stop there. There’s “Garmish” for the correct “Garmisch,” and also the fact that, proceeding westward on Francis Street, one goes directly from Third Street to Fifth Street, leaving poor Fourth in the dust. Finally, just yesterday, driving upvalley from the Aspen Business Center, I saw one sign reading “Maroon Bells” and another “Maroon Belles.” Which is it?

Reflecting on such incongruities, I find myself reassured, and not a little charmed, by the knowledge that Aspen officials are just as bumbling as all the rest of us and, just like all the rest of us, prone by nature to error and inconsistency.

Donald Wilson

St. Louis

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