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Aspen, Colorado

06 Jan, 2009

If there is one thing Aspen, Colorado is famous for, it is as a winter vacation area. The city known as Aspen, Colorado is located in Pitkin County in the state of Colorado and is a popular ski resort area that is visited by the affluent and the famous. While it did not start as such, this upscale tourist destination got its rather elite crowds due to the influx of such personalities like John Denver and Hunter Thompson. Denver gave Aspen a huge hand in bringing in droves of people with the songs he wrote about the place, like Starwood in Aspen and Aspenglow. Named for the huge number of aspen trees in the area, Aspen, Colorado is pretty far removed from its humble beginnings. What once started as a humble mining town is now one of the most expensive real estate regions in the world with a vacation home fetching an average of $6 million here.

Aspen, Colorado

Geography

Aspen, Colorado is a skiing destination that is located in the state of Colorado and is found along the State Highway 82. The total land area of the city is 9.1 square kilometers or 3.5 square miles. None of this total land area is under water so all of Aspen, Colorado is dry land. While the total population of the city is at almost six thousand, most of the people who come here often do so for a short period of time. The city of Aspen was founded in 1879 and was incorporated in 1881.

Aspen, Colorado

History

With its rather affluent air, it is a bit difficult to imagine that the city of Aspen was once a simple mining town. This city was once called Ute City but was renamed by a group of miners who stayed here in 1879 despite the threat of an Indian uprising in the area. As a silver mining district, Aspen saw peak productivity in the following years after it was renamed in 1880. The creation and passing of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act enabled Aspen to increase production and to create a more stable community that had banks, theaters, a hospital and even an Opera house. This economic boom did not last long; however, since a mere three years after the act was passed in 1890, it was repealed. Economic chaos ensued and this saw the loss of jobs for thousands of miners in the city. This caused the steady decline on population in the city since jobs were scarce. Although a slight reprieve was seen when mining was somewhat revived thanks to some well placed wage cuts, it was seen as too little too late and production at the mines saw a steady decline which then resulted in the final population of a little over 700 residents in the area by the 1930s.

While ski resorts were slowly being introduced into the area as an alternative means of income for the city, it did not come to fruition immediately due to the eruption of the Second World War. It was only after the war was won that the resumption of plans for making Aspen into a skiing destination began with the founding of the corporation known as the Aspen Skiing Corporation. To be credited with the development of such a corporation are Walter Paepcke and his wife along with Freidl Pfeifer, a 10th Mountain Division Member who was familiar with the area due to the training he had there. The development of the city as a prime skiing destination was well on its way and pretty soon the Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass became world renowned ski areas. Another notable achievement that this trio made for the good of Aspen was the development of the Aspen Music Festival and the Aspen Music School, a huge part of the cultural atmosphere and development of the city.

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Tourism and Tourist Destination

With the development of the region as an upscale skiing destination, the real estate prices in the city naturally went up. The city soon became the playground for the rich and famous, shutting out the middle income and low income workers from residing there. This saw the move of such former residents and workers to the nearby communities of Carbondale and Basalt. These days, the once humble neighborhood that housed shops and stores frequented by miners and other workers in the area is now peppered by upscale shops and boutiques that carry designer labels and brands for the pleasure of the elite. You can easily find Fendi, Gucci, and Prada shops on the streets of Aspen. Also part of the expensive brands to be found in this skiing destination for the rich and famous are Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Chanel, among others.

With such a development, a lot of affluent and famous people have decided to purchase property in the city to make it their winter home. Some of the notable personalities who have decided to make Aspen their part time home and not just a place that they visit every now and then include celebrity couples like Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas who have a home in Woody Creek, actor Kevin Costner who has a house outside but near Aspen somewhere near Independence Pass and singer Mariah Carey who was known to have spent the past few Christmases in the city. Also included in the list of famous people who are part time residents in Aspen are couple Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn, Winter Olympian Gretchen Bleiler, tennis star Martina Navratilova and a spew of Hollywood celebrities like Jack Nicholson, Don Johnson, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeifer and Dean Cain. Also seen staying in Aspen over certain periods of time are former Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and painter Gino Hollander.

A recent addition to the notables in the area include former Spice Girl and wife to famous soccer star, Victoria Beckham, and famous RnB singer Beyonce Knowles was said to have recorded part of her Birthday album in the city and stayed there the whole time she was doing so.

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