Tour Time

This summer our Time Travel Tuesdays have a twist: they’re tours. It’s like field-trips for adults. We’ll be hosting seven weeks of tours, every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. They’ll take participants all over the upper Roaring Fork Valley and explore iconic  and lesser-known parts of our our history. Walk through time with us!

July 15: West End Walking Tour
(meet at Wheeler/Stallard Museum)

West End Walking

July 22: Independence Ghost Town Tour
(meet at Independence Ghost Town)


July 29: Cruiser Bike Tour
(meet at Wheeler/Stallard Museum)


August 5: Ashcroft Ghost Town Tour
(meet at Ashcroft Ghost Town)


August 12: Holden/Marolt Ruins Tour
(meet at Holden/Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum)


August 19: Historic Pub Crawl
(meet in front of Wheeler Opera House)


August 26: Cemetery Tour
(meet at Red Butte Cemetery)


Transportation to sites is not provided. Tours take place rain or shine.

History Mystery: By the Yard



Where in Aspen is this? Does that house look familiar? We get donations all the time of old photographs that need identification, including people and place. Our archives team is great at their job, but  even they can get stumped. Like this photo. Help us figure out where this is, and the correct answer will receive two passes to any tour of your choice (History Coach, West End Walking Tour, Historic Bike Tour or Hotel Jerome). Send your suggestions to [email protected]

New Historic Bike Tour

WE-cycle has bikes and we’ve got history. It’s the perfect  recipe for a  historic bike tour. We’ve partnered with Aspen’s bike-sharing system to offer a unique tour once a week. The pleasant 90-minute cruise begins at Paepcke Park, loops through the grounds of the Aspen Institute and winds through town to the original Lift One. Participants will learn about local history from a trained guide and will be able to see Aspen from a different perspective. 



Join us every Tuesday at 9 a.m. The tour is $15 and includes a WE-cycle pass. It meets at Paepcke Park.

Ghost Towns Open this Weekend for Summer

Did you know that Ashcroft was once more populated than Aspen and home to more than 2,000 people? There were two newspapers, a smelter, a school and 20 saloons. But, after the area’s shallow silver deposits proved to be disappointing, the miners left for greener pastures and endeavors (Aspen).


Ashcroft Ghost Town


The relics of 10 buildings still stand in the ghost town, and you can take daily tours from one of our trained guides any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. At $3, it’s some of the least expensive entertainment in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Driving over the Pass? Stop by the Independence Ghost Town to hear stories about a town that produced more than $190,000 in gold in just a year. Daily tours 10 a.m .to 6 p.m., and the town is just 16 miles east of Aspen.

Both ghost towns open Saturday, June 14 for the summer and will be open daily through Labor Day.


Independence Ghost Town






Mining History by Jeep

You may know about the Smuggler Mine, but did you know there are even more silver mines above that? The remnants of several of them can be found beyond the observation deck on Smuggler Mountain, and our new tour, the Smuggler Mt. Open Space Historic Jeep and Trail Tour, will take visitors to these by jeep and on foot. The best part is that the tour is free, but offered on a limited basis (Wednesdays, 9 a.m.) and to six people, so make your reservations early by calling (970)925-3721. It runs June 18-Sept. 3


Details: Access Smuggler Mountain via jeep for an interpretive tour exploring the history of the silver mining era. Guests will be transported, by  jeep, up Smuggler Mountain Road, then tour on foot the remains of several silver mines. Offered in partnership with Blazing Adventures and City of Aspen Open Space and Trails.

 Wednesday, 9-11 a.m. (Arrive 8:45 a.m.) Maximum 6 people, for ages 8 and up.
Cost: Free
For reservations contact Aspen Historical Society (970)925-3721

History Mystery: Where’s Kelly’s Mom?


We get donations all the time of old photographs that need identification, including people and place. Our archives team is great at their job, but  even they can get stumped. Like this photo. We know that the picture is of our executive director’s mother in the 1950s (because Kelly donated it), but we can’t nail down exactly specifically where on the mountain it is. We’re going to start a monthly History Mystery game enlisting your help in IDing donated photos. So, send your guesses to [email protected] and the first person with the correct answer (verified by our experts) will receive two tickets to our Holden/Marolt Hoedown.

P.S. You can enlarge the photo by clicking on it.


Kick Off Summer at the Holden/Marolt Hoedown



Yeehaw! It’s summer time. Put on your boots and join us for the Holden/Marolt Hoedown, June 17. The Smuggler Mountain Boys will be playing bluegrass and we’ll have ranching activities for kids, like potato branding, butter churning and lasso lessons. If you’re hungry, fill up on Hickory House barbecue or just come by for a chilled Roaring Fork Beer Co. brew.

Tickets are $20/adult, and that includes food and a beer. It’s $10/kid for dinner. Anyone who wants to join and just listen to music and drink can stop by for $10. It all takes place at the Holden/Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum near the Marolt Open Space at the entrance to town.

Sweet Peas are Here


Mrs. D.R.C. Brown stands next to sweet peas.

Don’t let the snow fool you, it’s sweet pea season! Each spring we partner with BJ Adams & Co. and the Aspen Times for a sweet pea giveaway. You can pick up a packet of the seeds at either BJ Adams location (534 E. Hopkins Ave. in Aspen, 17 Kearns Rd. in Snowmass), The Aspen Times (314 E. Hyman Ave.) or the Wheeler/Stallard Museum (620 W. Bleeker St.). The flower is Aspen’s official flower and used to be found in yards  throughout the city. Happy planting! 


Aspen’s official flower, the sweet pea.

Ute Exhibit Gets New Artifacts

We took a couple of weeks this spring to clean and swap out artifacts in our Ute exhibit. Now, we reopen with 15 new objects primarily on loan from History Colorado. These include a parfleche bag, cradleboard and pair of moccasins. They replace artifacts that were previously part of the exhibit and help to tell the Ute story—both past and present.

Seasons of the Nuche: Transitions of the Ute People explores the story of the Ute Indians, who called the Roaring Fork Valley home for hundreds of years before the miners came into the area. They were forced onto reservations in the 1880s, and this exhibit takes visitors on a journey that acknowledges this displacement and embraces their position in modern America today.

Megan Cerise repositions the parfleche bag inside the Ute exhibit at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum.

Megan Cerise repositions the parfleche bag inside the Ute exhibit at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum.


The Ute exhibit is now open Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. Starting June 17, hours will extend to 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $6/adult, $5/senior and free for children 12 and under.

Dirty Old Men and Other Aspen Bands

I played the tuba in a few Aspen bands in the seventies, including HEIDI AND THE BARVARIAN BUSHMEN, ALBERT FLOSSMAN’S BAVARIAN BAND, and the DIRTY OLD MEN JAZZ BAND.  Those were great years, teaching skiing and playing polkas and dixieland and dance tunes. 

But my time with Aspen’s famous Dirty Old Men is a story I share often with my musician friends here in Wisconsin:  Aspen Ski School supervisor, Bob Knight, invited me in December of ’68 to bring my tuba to the next rehearsal of the DOM at Cliff Brelsford’s house.  Upon arrival, I met Cliff, Dr Baxter, Dr Whitcomb, Bill McEachern, and an old fellow whose name I don’t recall – the owner of Aspen Construction.

Each such Wednesday evening rehearsal began in Cliff’s living roof with about forty five minutes of whiskey and talk.  That’s about how long it took to solve the world’s problems and loosen up our musical instincts.  Then down to the basement to gather around the piano and play some jazz.  Great guys, I mean I really enjoyed these fellows, but the music – well, it was a little rough.  As Ulfar would say, rrrather RRRRustic.(roll the r’s)

I took the bandleader, Bill McEachern (director of the Aspen High School band), aside after a couple of Wednesday nights and hinted at my concern for the quality of the music.  “You see”, he said, “I’m rather a pro on the piano, so I play the tenor sax – to fit in with this band. And Bob Knight is a professional trombonist, so he attempts the piano with this band.  Now you, Jerry, is there some other instrument you might play?”  “I’ve always wanted to play the trombone….” I said,  “I think you get the message,” said Bill.

One year in the early seventies, I learned a tough lesson while we were playing for the Annual Hospital Benefit.  I think it was at the Aspen Inn.  Besides gaining trombone experience, I was using my DOM time to sharpen my vocal presentation in front of people. After delivering a (pretty good, I thought) rendition of Pennies From Heaven, I was somewhat hurt by some very lukewarm applause, but attributed it to the chatty atmosphere in the room – they were too busy having a good time.

A few songs later, Dr Whitcomb had the microphone for his favorite: Talk Of The Town. – The last line of which is “Everybody knows you’ve left me, its the Talk Of The Town.”  Now, from the moment he starts croaking it out, the audience is on their feet, clapping and screaming,  it was like Frank Sinatra and his “bobbysoxers”.  Now this was less than ten minutes after I had just poured my heart out with Pennies From Heaven, and my ego was slipping lower by the minute.  This ate away at me the rest of the night, till as we were packing up to go, I mentioned my discomfort to Jay Baxter.  The good Doctor saved my ego and my ulcer with these kind words:  “Look, Jerry, You didn’t have a chance.  You see, that other singer delivered about half the people in the audience, and delivered the babies of the other half!”

I could go on, but……..

Jerry Dunn