Finding a Silver Queen

November 27, 2016 - Finding Carter

The abounding manifestations of Aspen’s Victorian nickname

Just as a name Aspen was carried from a tree to name a city in 1880, and afterwards from a prominence to name a Dodge Aspen automobile in 1976, a Aspen Soda in 1978, and a 1989 Aspen Cologne, so has a onetime Victorian nickname, a “Silver Queen City,” served as a moniker thesis to many things. But what is a start of this stately title? A demeanour behind to when Aspenites’ memories of a birthright percolated closer to a aspect offers some answers.
The strange Silver Queen classification was initial coined in a 1880s by city pioneers who saw her recumbent in West Aspen Mountain, now some-more ordinarily famous as Shadow Mountain, from conflicting a proceed on Red Mountain, most like a Sleeping Indian in Jackson Hole.
Yet a same Silver Queen profile, with her graphic nose and face indicating skyward, her issuing hair forward a north-facing Shadow Mountain escarpment, and physique fluctuating into Ruthie’s Run, was also famous — and substantially seen by a valley’s initial internal residents — as a Ute Chief. With a slight mind toggle, we can simply see a renowned Indian form with his full headdress in a rocks tilted toward a Hickory House.
Though a queen’s conformation is emblematic of a mining epoch and has served that judgment as a perspective of story wherein white pioneers cowed a forest and named things after themselves, maybe approval of a Ute Chief’s initial rights to a form is overdue — or, in these hazardous times, a dual are a mix of secular unity.

Best views of Silver Queen
In any case, there are conflicting north-to-south locations from that to perspective a Silver Queen, yet due to stone erosion and tree expansion she stays some-more fugitive than in a 1890s when Aspen Mountain was naked of trees for mining timber. As we can see from a photographs, a pretence is to find a ideal plcae where a best angle lines adult a Shadow Mountain rocks for limit recognition.
The easiest mark to see her is to go adult a initial high mountain on Red Mountain where a “gold bondage required” pointer stood in a 1980s. Then ensue adult and around a initial hook to a straighter widen of road, yet not too far. If we can asian over west between private skill obstacles, yet not as distant as a Sunny Side trail, a ideal complicated perspective is still there to be found.
Another proceed to this stately hunt is to line adult Garmisch Street with Red Mountain and afterwards base around adult there conflicting town. This ideal angle is definable in a aged photos during a Aspen Historical Society (—photo gallery). In their preference of pictures, Center Street — renamed Garmisch Street in 1966 when Garmisch-Partenkirchen became Aspen’s initial sister city — points toward a ideal observation mark on Red Mountain.

Silver Queen to go
With a queen’s stately participation reigning over a strange mining camp, china mining appearance between 1888 and 1893, when Aspen mines supposing one-sixteenth of a world’s silver. Local newspapers proudly referred to city as a “Silver Queen of a world” or “Silver Queen of a West.” But after a presidential choosing of 1892, Aspen’s provision was threatened by speak that President Cleveland would demonetize china and side with Eastern bankers who wanted bullion to be a singular financial customary instead of both bullion and silver.
In a mystic seductiveness to foster her china interests opposite this outcome, all of Aspen chipped in to elect sculptor Hiram L. Johnson of Pueblo to build a Silver Queen statue to paint their means during a 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The art square cost $10,000 to build ( $250,000 today).
The colossal, ornate, silver-laden figure flashy an idealized 17-year-old lady — a same age as Colorado’s statehood — in a chariot-like boat, escorted by a Plutus on presumably side, one spilling china coins and a other bullion coins from cornucopias. (Plutus was a Greek God of resources who Zeus blinded so as to give out resources indiscriminately.) The figure was shipped to Chicago in Mar of 1893, yet mysteriously dead after a fair.  
The abounding ore from a distinguished Aspen mines and a churned coins in a sculpture represented a rising Populist Party’s direct to use both metals for coinage. At a same time, flourishing inhabitant protests by an fondness of farmers, industrial workers, and china mining interests blamed bad mercantile conditions on supervision mismanagement.  

Did she return?
Some fable says that a Silver Queen found a proceed behind after a satisfactory to a Pueblo Mineral Palace — a enormous Egyptian-themed showcase for a mining attention — where it stood until 1942 when a indebted, rickety building was razed.
But here a poser deepens. According to a late Paul Keating, highbrow of mineralogy and a curator during a Mineral Palace from 1937-39, in a 1954 Rocky Mountain News story, a Silver Queen in a Mineral Palace “was done of smear of Paris embellished silver.”  
Yet a 18-foot tall, 10-by-12 Silver Queen that visited Aspen by rail in Mar of 1893 and went on muster in Armory Hall (today’s City Hall) with most fanfare, before being crated and forwarded to Chicago, had an “intrinsic value of $20,000” ($500,000 today), pronounced a Mar 22, 1893, Aspen Evening Chronicle.

 Photo pleasantness Aspen Historical Society
With a inhabitant mercantile contraction gaining steam in a summer of 1893, that sent Aspen into a tailspin that tumble as a cost of china dropped, a strange Silver Queen was substantially deserted in Chicago. According to past researchers no lapse shipping profits are on record.
A illusive answer to a Silver Queen poser was that a profitable tools of her fell chase to interlopers in Chicago, presumably during a inauspicious glow during a satisfactory — yet not in a grand mining pavilion — that killed 16 firemen that July. At some point, what was left of her might have returned to Pueblo to be after refitted with non-valuable parts; or, sculptor Johnson had done a smear antecedent during her pregnancy before creation a final steel Silver Queen, and that went on arrangement in a Palace after a fair.
Adding to a intrigue, a Aspen Times wrote on Jul 16, 1907, that Johnson had died in Chicago in 1893 while a Silver Queen was on display. This fact footnoted a stating that Johnson’s widow, Dr. L. Carrie Johnson, had only been expelled in bad health during age 63 from a Canon City cage after portion 3 years of a 20-year judgment for murder of another medicine in Pueblo.  

Silver Queen ski run
Another distinguished Silver Queen that is opportunely still in a midst is a ski run on Aspen Mountain. The Nov. 15, 1945, Times reported that Friedl Pfeifer, afterwards conduct of a Aspen Ski School before a arrangement of a Aspen Skiing Corporation in 1946, announced that a reduce Silver Queen route had been cut. This was permitted around a travel adult what is now Tower Ten Road from a tip of a vessel tow, that finished during a bottom of today’s Corkscrew. For that winter, a Silver Queen route extended from today’s tip of Little Nell down.
With some 22 miles of new trails cut a following summer while a initial Lift One was being built, a Sept. 19, 1946, Times pronounced that a tip Silver Queen route above a Compromise Mine to Tourtelotte Park around Midway Road was scarcely complete. Tenth Mountain Division maestro Captain John Litchfield led a route crew. The Times pronounced that a Queen “will extend to a tip of Ajax Hill and be some 3 miles prolonged with a straight dump of 3,225 feet in that distance.”  
That means that a strange Silver Queen route continued adult Ajax Hill — a greatest doorknob of Aspen Mountain where a Sundeck stands — around a “Buckhorn slope.” Subsequently, portions of that strange top-to-bottom Silver Queen route were renamed, and a Queen became a shorter, steeper run that we know today.

Assorted Silver Queens
A series of other uses of a black thesis have reflected Aspen’s chronological pride. The Jul 30, 1892, Evening Chronicle headlined a “Royal Welcome to a Silver Queen of a World,” when presidential claimant of a Populist Party and former Union Army ubiquitous James Weaver visited Aspen to branch for a arriving 1892 election. Weaver, “the champion of silver,” rode around city in a carriage pulled by 4 black horses and afterwards spoke on a Lincoln School drift to “the largest throng ever fabricated in Western Colorado.”    
In 1902 editions of a Aspen Democrat, Durant’s grocery offering Silver Queen blockade during $1.25 a bottle and Cain’s marketplace sole Silver Queen flour for $2.50 per 100 pounds. The Mar 1919 Democrat-Times listed a Silver Queen cave adult Sandy Gulch in Castle Creek, that was partial of a Highland mining district along a Little Annie side of Aspen Mountain.
In 1909, a Aspen High School published a initial yearbook, job it “The Silver Queen.” Alumni dating behind to 1889 were listed in a back. From afterwards on a annual was called The Silver Queen. But seductiveness in that name as a tradition for a book forsaken divided after a 1996 edition. The collection is ocular on a Aspen Historical Society’s website.
On Mar 28, 1946, a Times reported that John Litchfield bought a Brick Saloon — aka Tim’s Place — from Tim Keller and Tom Lotta, and named it a Silver Queen Club. But shortly after, Litchfield renamed it a “Red Onion,” that in a terminology of a day meant something peculiar or out of a ordinary.
Then there was a ephemeral Silver Queen grill in a Hotel Jerome in a ‘70s run by Jon Carter and Dennis Langford, dual still-surviving witnesses to that unapologetic decade. A design of a statue flashy a menus and epicurean food was served with internal attitude.
And finally, there is a staggering Silver Queen Gondola on Aspen Mountain. Opening for a winter in 1986, a high-capacity ski lift brought record skier numbers to Aspen Mountain along with several decades of accelerating expansion in a valley. Coincidently, a prior chronological pen 100 years before, in a form of a allotment of Aspen’s nationally-watched Apex-Sideline justice box — a brawl that dynamic range tenure of ore that originated nearby today’s Silver Queen run — set off Aspen’s initial call of prosperity, along with a china rush that captivated swarms of miners to Aspen Mountain.
Whether noticed as a geological gift or as a resurgent spirit, a Silver Queen of Aspen still lies — as a internal producer in a Jun 1938 Times wrote — “on her cloud-kissed bench in a Rockies” with “Hallam Lake her off-hand feet bowl.”

Tim Cooney, a freelance author and maestro Aspen Mountain ski patroller, is collaborating with Aspen Journalism and a Aspen Daily News to try Aspen history.

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