Aspen, Colorado, is a hub of ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains. The town is rich in art, both natural and man-made, and residents of the town are gifted with many entertainment opportunities. Beauty is not lacking in Aspen, as Colorado’s organic charms stand tall in the form of mountains directly behind the village.
Surrounded by the extraordinary scenes of these mountains, Aspen is also known for its wide array of historic Victorian homes. These homes are located in an elevated region of the town, rich in historic homes and newer West End luxury homes
—Aspen residents and tourists delight in West End’s Victorian houses. The town’s historical society allows them to take walking tours of the West End residential neighborhood.
Tours offer the chance to view these architectural knockouts with intention. Not only does a guest on a guided walking tour view the beauty of the construction, but they also learn about Aspen’s history from the mouth of an educated, professional tour guide. Guides offer historical facts and anecdotes about Aspen’s old Victorian homes, those who resided there, and the culture at the time of construction. Residential walking tours in Aspen’s West End are an exciting opportunity for a resident or a potential resident to learn about the town that many are so infatuated with.
Aspen’s historical society and preservation commission
Aspen, Colorado, is a well-maintained and protected historical town. For this, residents and history appreciators have Aspen’s historical society to thank and the town’s Historic Preservation Commission. In the 1960s and 1970s, city planners in Aspen were pressured to plan and construct new residences in the area for people to live in. Because of this, many original Victorian homes in the area were torn down for new construction, while others were heavily remodeled. History, in a sense, was beginning to be erased.
In response to this mishandling of history, a citizen’s group who called themselves “Save the Victorians” took local political action. The group’s acts of civil service and passion for their community worked wonders, as group members were able to convince Aspen City Council to adopt a historic preservation ordinance in 1972. The Historic Preservation Commission was subsequently formed to protect the remaining historic homes in the West End district. This was one of the first historic preservation programs to be introduced in the United States, and Aspen was the first in the state of Colorado to implement their regulations.
Guidelines introduced by the ordinance are meant to preserve West End historic Victorian homes while still allowing homeowners room to remodel, which is typical of most other towns’ preservation regulations. The Historic Preservation Commission protects 247 Victorian Aspen homes. Of those, 125 were originally miners’ properties built in old Aspen, as mining was, for a time, a ruling occupation in the area.
Aspen’s architectural history
Mining is what initially brought residents to Aspen. Colorado was declared the 38th state in 1876, and three years later, the first prospectors arrived in what would later be known as Aspen. The Rocky Mountains had a high volume of silver ore within and beneath its walls. Because of its new high volume of citizens at the time, the town was thrust into a building boom in 1884, which led to the construction of well over 100 homes.
A number of Aspen’s miners’ homes were built around 1888. During this time, construction of brick and stone, high-style homes began to house silver miners in the area before the silver crash, which ultimately left these houses empty for some time. Homes built in Aspen during this time were inexpensive and hassle-free, as they were designed from housing plans in pattern books. Pattern books were widely available and made acquiring building plans simple and accessible.
Mining was of such importance from 1879 to around 1893, when fewer and fewer miners began calling Aspen home after Congress repealed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. When in action, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act required the U.S. government to purchase a monthly 4.5 million ounces of silver for use in the production of coins and paper money. The repeal of this act devastated the silver industry, but when in its mining prime, Aspen was Colorado’s leading silver producer. The industry was of such importance that Aspen’s residential districts at the time, and so even now, are to be found near the trails which led to the mines.
Once Aspen was no longer at the top of the silver industry charts, the city began the construction of a ski resort in the 1930s. This brought more jobs and tourists to the area, meaning more people began to occupy the space. Aspen’s Victorian homes were once again housing individuals and families. This time, however, these people were business professionals rather than miners.
The residential layout of the town serves as a constant reminder of its history. Of course, the numerous old houses built in historic Aspen are even more recognizable. A resident of Aspen, Colorado, has constant access to interesting history with a view, and many take pride in the town’s commitment to honoring and preserving this history.
Aspen’s West End walking tour
Aspen offers a great variety of walking tours to study its historical sights and scenes. Outside of Aspen’s Victorian homes, the town is stocked full of other historic architecture. Each piece of construction comes with its own stories and insights into Aspen’s past. Tour guests can explore Hotel Jerome, Aspen’s historic downtown, and the Red Butte Cemetary. All Aspen walking tours are interesting, but for lovers of history-rich Victorian homes, there is the Victorian West End Walking Tour
The West End Victorian Walking tour starts in West End’s residential neighborhoods and ends at Hotel Jerome. On a West End walking tour, guests stroll through the Victorian residential neighborhood with the help of their tour guide. Tours typically are taken with a group, but upon request, a person could take a private tour of the neighborhood. With a focus on history and architecture, the West End Victorian Walking Tour is a great way for locals or new residents to learn little-known facts about the area, the homes, and the people who once lived in those homes. Tours allow people to take in the town’s charm while coming to an understanding of its past.
Moving to Aspen
Aspen’s West End neighborhood features an awe-inspiring mix of construction. From the town’s famed Victorian homes to their impressive contemporary luxury housing, Aspen offers potential homebuyers many options. Those who appreciate history and nature alike can build a comfortable life there in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. For more information on Aspen, its history, and homes for sale in West End, CO., contact Jennifer Banner today!