A Guide to Aspen’s Historic Buildings

I have probably mentioned this far too much, but I absolutely love historic buildings. In fact, I have renovated several homes in England, and still retain two as high-end rentals. The first is a penthouse in a former school building, which has features like fossilized antique marble fireplaces, original decorative plaster cornices, and Victorian paneled wooden doors. My second property is a large Manhattan style loft apartment with exposed brick walls, trusses, and reclaimed timber flooring. Both dwellings have been featured in lifestyle magazines and have fueled my passion for heritage architecture. Ultimately, that is why I love traveling to visit cities around the world. Certainly, Aspen, in Colorado is a great destination for architecture lovers such as myself.

Recently, I have been writing many articles about the array of different seasonal activities on offer in Aspen. This vibrant city is synonymous with glamour, style, luxury, and high-octane skiing pursuits. However, Aspen originated as a humble mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom in the late 1890s. In a short space of time, the region attracted an influx of investors, who built some historical buildings. Even though the boom was a relatively short term, many of these heritage gems still remain.

Aspen Community Church

If you appreciate fine 19th-century architecture, you would be hard pressed to find a finer example than Aspen Community Church. This historical building is brimming with character, and was by designed by renowned 19th-century architect, Frederick Albert Hale in 1891. The church is mainly constructed from sandstone and has a decorative floral pattern.

The Wheeler Opera House

It would be an absolute travesty to not visit the Wheeler Opera House on a visit to Aspen. This historical landmark building was built in the 19th century and at the time, attracted a host of performers. After suffering damage caused by fire and going into a state of disrepair, industrialist Walter Paepcke renovated it in the 1940s. Impressively, legendary acts like the Beach Boys have performed in this iconic venue.

Wheeler–Stallard House

The Wheeler-Stallard House was constructed in 1888 by investor Jerome B. Wheeler at the time of the Colorado Silver Boom. This historical house is built in the Queen Anne architectural style. Over the years, the dwelling has been renovated twice and currently operates as the home of the Aspen Historical Society.

The Red Onion

The Red Onion is Aspen’s oldest restaurant and it is situated over three floors. With a rustic red brick façade, the building dates back to the late 1880s. In 1987, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as “New Brick–The Brick Saloon.” When Aspen became a luxury ski resort, the venue attracted performing greats like Billie Holliday and John Denver.