NAME: Aspen
COUNTY: Pitkin
CLIMATE: Cold winter with snow, cool summer
COMMENTS: Now a resort town.
REMAINS: Large skiing area, many resorts.
Not known to many present day visitors, Aspen was at one time (1893) considered the richest silver-producing community in the world. The area ranks second only to Leadville in the production of precious metals in Colorado. The Smuggler mine produced the largest “silver nugget” in the world, weighing 2,054 pounds and was more than 93 percent pure silver. Completely surrounded by towering mountains, and a stronghold of rampaging Indians, the Aspen area was neglected for many years while other camps bloomed in all directions. Rich strikes were made in 1880 that attracted many miners. Still the town grew slowly due to the absence of roads and the prohibitive cost of shipping ore to the outside. In 1887, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad came to town and Aspen was on its way. However, most of the best mines were in production long before the railroads came. By the early 1880’s Aspen was producing in the millions and had a population of 12,000 by 1882 and 15,000 by 1887. The city was hit hard by the silver panic of 1893 when Aspen was considered the greatest silver city in the world. The town was never the same after that. The population dropped to 2,000 persons but Aspen survived to become one of the world’s top year-round resorts. Submitted by Henry Chenoweth.

Mollie Gibson Mine
Courtesy David Johnson

Sumggler Mine
Courtesy David Johnson