Snowmass history: The Watson Area |

Snowmass history: The Watson Area

The Watson area, also known as Gerbazdale and Aspen Village, pictured sometime around 1900.
A. H. Gerbaz/Aspen Historical Society

The Aspen Evening Chronicle on May 23, 1891 reported, “Judge Watson went down to his ranch on Brush Creek yesterday to oversee the planting of a large crop of potatoes. The judge expects to have a corner on the market when the tubers are ready to ship.”

Judge James Watson, originally from Cincinnati, came over to Aspen in 1880. He worked as an attorney in the 1880s then served as the Police Magistrate in 1890 and then as a judge. He invested in a ranch along the end of Brush Creek near the Watson Divide area, the name of which stuck for a railroad siding and a community hall in the same area also known as Gerbazdale and Aspen Village. Judge Watson sadly passed away from pneumonia at the age of 62 in December of 1891, leaving two sons, Sam and Fred, and his wife, Carrie, who unfortunately passed just 10 days after him. Unfortunately, 1891 was his last year to grow potatoes; however, the Foster and Gerbaz families worked on the area for many years after.