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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Aspen in Pitkin County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Business District

Surviving in Independence

 
 
Surviving in Independence Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
1. Surviving in Independence Marker
Inscription.  While the initial boom at Independence was in the early 1880s, evidence suggests of a mining and business resurgence in 1898. The Hunter Pass Mining Company leased two veins still offering significant gold ore and workers reoccupied buildings in the business district, both as homes and as supporting commercial establishments.

Though “payrock” was found, it was soon exhausted and in 1899 operations ended. With the harshest winter on record and avalanches covering the road, residents abandoned the town making light of their en masse escape by declaring a "race” into Aspen — entry fee one ham sandwich. Little activity occurred in Independence after the company pulled out.

A 2010 archaeological survey identified this building as commercially occupied, either providing service or retail operations with a deep cellar indicating significant food storage. Artifacts indicate it was used between 1880-1886 and again from 1898-1900, and point towards a female occupant.

Preserving the Town
Heavy snows, long winters, spring runoff and high-altitude sun exposure are harsh on buildings
Surviving in Independence Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
2. Surviving in Independence Marker Detail
Clearing snow from the Independence Pass road.
and trails. Aspen Historical Society and Independence Pass Foundation work every summer to address drainage and stabilization along the paths and on remaining structures to preserve them for future generations.

Preservation of this building was made possible by the Family of Susan & Morty Gurrentz

Captions:
Left: Clearing snow from Independence Pass road.
Right: Remaining buildings along the business district, Aspen Avenue, circa 1950.
 
Erected by Aspen Historical Society, Independence Pass Foundation and U.S. Forest Service.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers.
 
Location. 39° 6.391′ N, 106° 36.383′ W. Marker is near Aspen, Colorado, in Pitkin County. Marker can be reached from Colorado 82 5.6 miles east of County Road 23. Marker is in the White River National Forest, accessible via footpath leading from highway pullover down to the town site. The road is closed October-May. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Aspen CO 81611, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Living at Altitude (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Business District (within shouting distance of this marker); Finding Gold
Surviving in Independence Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
3. Surviving in Independence Marker Detail
Remaining buildings along the business district, Aspen Avenue, circa 1950.
(about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tent City (about 700 feet away); Independence Townsite (approx. 0.2 miles away); Welcome to the Ghost Town of Independence (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Welcome to the Ghost Town of Independence (approx. 0.2 miles away); Independence Pass Foundation (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Aspen.
 
Surviving in Independence Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
4. Surviving in Independence Marker
Independence, CO town site image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
5. Independence, CO town site
As viewed from the overlook on Colorado 82.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 19, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 42 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 19, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 5, 2021