History & Heritage

A varied past


From a Ute Indian summer hunting camp, to a silver mining town, to a ski resort, Aspen’s rich history sets the foundation for it to become an international destination. Discover the varied history that has shaped Aspen and its character.

Originally a summer hunting camp for the Ute Indians, Aspen's first white settlers, mostly miners, arrived by 1870 in search of silver. Mining was a fruitful venture for Aspen's early settlers but, did not come without hard work. Soon, town "boomed" and rapidly became home to over 12,000 miners and their families. However, just as soon as the wealth was ushered in, the repeal of the Sherman Silver Act of 1893 caused Aspen to "bust," and town entered what is known as "The Quiet Years" with the population dropping to less than 1,000.

By the late 1940's, both skiing and aspen's modern day founders, Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke arrived in town. The Paepcke's had a vision for a community that embodied Mind, Body and Spirit, which helped Aspen to begin a civic and cultural renaissance which is alive today as "The Aspen Idea."


Historical Locations

Make your Aspen experience unforgettable by discovering the rich and varied history that has shaped the town and its character.  Try this list of places that speak to Aspen's varied past and can give you some insight as to what makes Aspen so ... Aspen!

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One of the biggest differences that set us apart from many mountain resorts is our rich history. Want to know a bit about the mining days? Or the wild west? Or how World War II was influential in making Aspen, Aspen? Follow our tips below and find out!

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Land Acknowledgement
Aspen Pledge