Like many of Colorado’s small mountain towns, Aspen and Crested Butte share the same origin story: a rough and tumble mining town. But one key distinction helps inform their modern identity. Aspen, first founded in 1879 and originally named Ute City before changing it to Aspen in 1893, hit it big with silver mining, which led to the rapid development of the city’s infrastructure, one that still stands today—albeit with loads of contemporary upgrades.
And while the population dipped with the end of the silver boom, Aspen also benefits from a chain of mountains that now hosts four world-class ski resorts. And the city has grown beyond its outdoor identity as well, thanks in large part to the establishment of the Aspen Institute in 1949, which hosts world-class thinkers, art happenings, and presentations, as well as displaying one of the more complete collection of Hubert Bayer’s Bauhaus art in the world.