Aspen- 1900 -  (

Archaeologists recently discovered that ancient people made their homes in the mountains near Aspen, Colorado 8,000 years ago. Ute
Indian tradition says that these "Shining Mountains" have always been their homeland. First silver, and later near perfect snow conditions
enticed more recent settlers to the Roaring Fork Valley.

The first prospectors crossed over the mountains from Leadville in the spring of 1897 and settled in the camp they called Ute City after
the Ute Indians. By 1879, a number of hopeful prospectors had settled in the camp. In the summer of 1880, the town, which had grown to
300 residents, was renamed Aspen.

All of Aspens' significant buildings and Victorian residences, many of which still stand, were built over a short ten year period (1880 to
1890). Among the many beautiful examples of Aspen's Victorian elegance that are still in use today are the Wheeler Opera House and
the Hotel Jerome. Both were built by Jerome B. Wheeler, a partner in Macy's Department Store in New York City.


NEW!!!                                                      Aspen Walking Tours presents:

                       Guided walking tours through historic downtown Aspen

(970) 948-4349

Location: Tours meet on the pedestrian mall at the corner of Hyman Ave. and Mill St. across from the Wheeler Opera House next to the
dancing fountain and the Popcorn Wagon.

“Aspen’s Darkside”
Follow the light into the darkness of Aspen's past. Follow the light into the darkness of Aspen's past. This 90 min. evening walk keeps you
on edge with stories of Murder, Mayhem, and Ghosts. This new "Ghost Tour" is a great nightcap to an Aspen Evening. What happened at
the Old City Bell Tower? Where are the Jungles of Durant? Who Haunts the Red Onion?

“Aspen’s Past to Present”
This popular tour brings history to life on a fun filled 90 min. stroll through historic downtown Aspen. The surrounding mountainscape and
historic buildings provide the perfect backdrop to an entertaining story that traces the evolution of this mountain town from its very humble
beginnings to its present place as a world famous resort.

Adults $20
Students $15
Seniors 65> $15

Tickets available from the Wheeler Opera Box office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or from the guide prior to tour.
Please purchase tickets and meet 15 min. before tour start.

Reservations are Required.

Call (970) 948-4349

Meet: Across from the Wheeler Opera House at the dancing fountain. Corner of Hyman Ave. and Mill St.

Tickets Available from the Wheeler Opera House Box Office or from the guide.

Click to Buy Tickets Now!

Please purchase Tickets and meet 15 minutes prior to tour start.

"History is a great story. It just needs a great storyteller"

Guided walking tours through historic downtown Aspen.

Aspen Walking Tours was created by Dean Weiler to enable visitors to enjoy Aspen on another level. Combining his love of history and
Aspen he is able to share the magic of this mountain town with others.

Dean is a casual student of anthropology and has been living in the valley since the turn of the century.

Call (970) 948-4349

                                                       Hotel Jerome- (1890)



                                                                                   330 E Main St
                                                                                  (970) 920-1000       

                                                     The following 4 photos taken by


As local historian Larry Fredrick says, “Any  historic hotel with a good PR department has a haunting or two.”

But whether or not the spirits that reportedly lurk in Aspen’s Hotel Jerome are just figments of a good marketing scheme have yet to be
determined. The hotel’s most notorious story is that of a small boy who gave one guest a fright.

It’s said that in 1988 the front desk received a phone call from the woman staying in room 310. The guest reported having just seen a
lost, shivering and soaking-wet boy. When a Jerome staffer went to help the boy he had vanished, leaving behind his wet footprints.

As news of the sighting spread, some old-timers told the hotel staff about a young boy who drowned in the hotel’s original swimming pool.
Room 310 is in the hotel’s new addition, directly above the old swimming pool.

Bellhops and desk clerks at the hotel also tell a tale of a handsome and penniless silver prospector named Henry O’Callister who came to
Aspen in 1889, seeking his fortune. When he unearthed a 1,500-pound silver nugget, O’Callister checked into the Hotel Jerome and fell
madly in love with guest Clarissa Wellington, the daughter of a prominent Boston family.

Romance blossomed between the two, but Clarissa’s father sent his daughter back to Boston, forbidding the relationship. According to
the legend, O’Callister squandered his fortune and died a lonely man.

Hotel guests and employees say that they’ve heard sobbing late at night, and claim to have seen the figure of a man wandering the halls.
Could it be Henry, wandering the halls while pining for his lost love?

A third story from the historic hotel is that of Katie Kerrigan, who became a hotel chambermaid in 1892 when she was just 16. Her
astounding beauty quickly made her the object of affection for many of the hotel’s wealthy guests, and envious maids on the staff played
tricks on her.

Legend has it on one wintry night a fellow maid told Katie her kitten had fallen through the ice of a small pond nearby. Katie rushed
outside to save her kitten and fell through the ice, catching pneumonia and dying a week later.

Jerome staff members now say that on occasion a maid will enter a guest room to turn down the covers, only to discover the job already

Source: Aspen Times Weekly | October 31, 2003


In the early 1880's Jerome B. Wheeler, the co-owner of New York's Macy's Department Store, became enchanted with Aspen then
enjoying the height of the silver boom. He invested heavily in various mining enterprises and subsequently endeavored to create an aura
of cosmopolitan civility for the raucous mining camp by building a magnificent opera house and a grand hotel.

His namesake hotel, a three-story terra cotta brick and sandstone structure, opened in 1889 to become the epicenter of Aspen's social
and commercial life. Richly appointed in elaborate wall coverings and handmade Colorado tile, the Jerome was a modern marvel,
boasting 90 guest rooms, 15 bathrooms, indoor plumbing, hot and cold running water, steam heat and an elevator. Indeed, it was one of
the first buildings west of the Mississippi River to be fully lit by electricity.

Aspen's initial prosperity ended with the "silver crash" of 1893. The hotel consequently fell on difficult times, struggling for decades to
remain open until the 1940's when Aspen was re-invented as a ski resort. The Hotel Jerome was restored to its former glory, becoming
popular with the movie stars who put Aspen on the world's celebrity map.

However, by 1985 the hotel had become outdated and was threatened by demolition, a notion that appalled civic-minded investors.
Subsequently, they embarked on a multi-million dollar restoration of the hotel to its original luster, while upgrading its facilities and
enlarging it with a four-story addition and grand ballroom. The installation of a glass atrium lends additional grandeur to the lobby, as a
dramatic counterpoint to the newly restored antique brass light fixtures, cut silver, etched cranberry glass, copper and brass door latches
and striker plates.

A subsequent $6 million renovation project from 1999 to 2002 refurbished the J-Bar, guest rooms and the main lobby. The newly
renovated main lobby is dominated by an antique crystal chandelier and a magnificent marble fireplace, relief-carved in oak and topped
by a silver dust mirror mantel. The saloon-style J-Bar and its hand carved maple bar were restored to emulate their original rustic charm,
while guest rooms and suites were enhanced with custom bedding, furniture and draperies.

Source:  Hotel Jerome Website         

                                                                     In the news

                                      Historic Hotel Jerome sells for $33.5 million

By Scott Condon
June 8, 2005

The Oklahoma Publishing Co. paid $33.5 million Tuesday to acquire the Hotel Jerome and its employee housing at the old Cortina Lodge,
according to a special warranty deed filed with Pitkin County.

Oklahoma Publishing Co. became only the sixth owner or major operator of the hotel in the last 116 years. The Gaylord family, which has
a controlling interest in the firm, started negotiating with Jim McManus and his Hotel Jerome Associates LP to acquire Aspen's historic
hotel early in 2005. McManus was an owner for 20 years.

McManus said in an earlier interview that he was working on a $40 million deal with the buyers. But public documents indicate $33.5
million exchanged hands. McManus couldn't be reached for comment on whether the sale price dropped or other terms of the deal that
weren't recorded in the warranty deed.

McManus and his former business partner, Dick Butera, bought the hotel in 1985 for $6 million. They immediately poured several million
more into an expansion and remodeling.

McManus said the Gaylords could better afford investing the capital the hotel needs to stay competitive. The Jerome is widely considered
one of the top three hotels in town, along with the Little Nell and St. Regis. It was built during Aspen's silver rush and has long been a
centerpiece in town. It was completed by Jerome Wheeler in 1889.

Records of the hotel's ancient history are foggy. Some records at the Aspen Historical Society indicate Wheeler sold the hotel to
businessman Archie Fiske for $150,000 in 1892. Other historical records indicate it was in Wheeler's hands until he lost it for back taxes
in 1909.

Pitkin County held the hotel until it was purchased in 1911 by Mansor Elisha. The Elisha family owned the hotel for decades. They gave a
long-term lease to Walter Paepcke in 1946.

In 1968 the hotel was purchased by John Gilmore, who struggled to get a renovation plan approved by the city. McManus and Butera
were able to advance with a plan that restored the Jerome's grandeur. McManus eventually bought out his friend.

McManus said he was convinced to sell to Oklahoma Publishing Co. because it understands the unique role of owning and operating an
institution in the community. Oklahoma Publishing Co. also owns the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, a historic resort annually
honored for high standards.

Steve Bartolin, president of the Broadmoor, will oversee the Jerome. Tony DiLucia will continue to be the general manager of the Hotel

Bartolin said there will be no changes apparent until 2006. The company plans to renovate rooms and other spaces at the hotel.

"First, we have to plan, then design, then you have to order," Bartolin said. And that process takes time, he said.

Scott Condon's e-mail address is

                                                               The ghost of Mrs. Webber

Henry Webber, one of Aspen’s most influential and controversial residents, left his mark on Aspen, literally. Look up at the facade of the
restored Isis Theatre building and you’ll see his name. The former cobbler can also be credited for the Elks Building, which still towers
over the intersection of Hyman and Galena.

But Webber’s past was marred with suspicion surrounding the circumstances of his wife’s death. His wife died in 1881 from an overdose
of strychnine, and although a coroner declared her death an accident, there were rumors that Webber’s wife committed suicide because
of Webber’s ongoing relationship with her niece, Julia Nevitt.

The rumors persisted in part because Webber married Nevitt just four months after his wife’s death. Local historian Larry Fredrick has
read the inquest into Webber’s wife’s death, and he believes the overdose was truly an accident.

“Strychnia was an over-the-counter drug back then, used to calm your nerves,” Fredrick says. “I guess she was a nervous lady. It
appears that Henry also took some because he was ill, but not fatally.”

Whether or not Mrs. Webber was taking the drug to ease the pain from her husband’s affair with her niece will never be known. But when
Webber built a home for Nevitt and himself at
442 Bleeker St., six years after his wife’s death, locals told tales of Mrs. Webber’s ghost haunting the house.

“They said that there were ghosts because you’d hear footsteps on the roof, and that the windows would open and close randomly,”
Fredrick says.

Of course Fredrick has explanations for all the ghostly sounds, saying the lead lining in the roof creaks like footsteps when it expands and
contracts in the sunlight, and that movement of air in the house when a door is open can pop open windows that aren’t latched.

“But never let fact get in the way of a good story,” Fredrick says.

Webber was later elected mayor of Aspen in 1888, said to be the businessman’s and miner’s choice.

Aspen Times-  October 31, 2003

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