“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

Business District Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
1. Business District Marker
Inscription.  Archaeological evidence indicates that at least 47 businesses served Independence during its boom, suggesting it was well on its way to becoming a significant mining town. R. Bailey opened a branch of the Bank of Pitkin County and George C. Hickey hauled in a printing press and published The Miner, a short-lived local newspaper. Other entrepreneurs opened three groceries, a mercantile, two drugstores, several liquor and tobacco shops, a butcher shop, a barber shop and a bakery. These new businesses served the needs of residents and prospectors with supplies that had to be hauled over the Continental Divide at a great expense.

Nearly all the buildings have been reduced to earthen platforms and ruins except for a few including this one, known as the General Store. Historically, it was a commercial building, possibly even a general store according to archaeological records, and is one of the few buildings restored in the 1980s.

Naturalist Note:
The town was built on the north side of the valley with a south aspect. While most miners worked and lived on their claims in the surrounding mountains, the town's
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location took advantage of the greatest sun exposure. Solar gain provides heat for homes and businesses, and melts the snow earlier — a plus after a long winter.

Left: Plat for Chipeta City aka Independence, circa 1880.
Right: General Store and buildings along 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. A significant historical year for this entry is 1880.
Location. 39° 6.387′ N, 106° 36.329′ W. Marker is near Aspen, Colorado, in Pitkin County. Marker can be reached from Colorado 82, 5˝ miles east of County Road 23. Marker is accessible via a footpath leading from the highway overlook 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. A different marker also named Business District (within shouting distance of this marker); Living at Altitude (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Finding Gold (about 300 feet away); Tent City (about 400 feet away); Independence Townsite (about
The General Store image. Click for full size.
Aspen Historical Society
2. The General Store
500 feet away); Welcome to the Ghost Town of Independence (about 600 feet away); a different marker also named Welcome to the Ghost Town of Independence (about 600 feet away); Independence Pass Foundation (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Aspen.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 19, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 81 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 19, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 26, 2023