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MARBLE - More homes are in demand, and Mike Yellico will provide, though not without feeling some conflict.

The long-haired, Chaco-footed owner of Grateful Builders is leading construction of a house that seems better fit for Aspen, which is 56 miles away, but a whole world away as far as the people of Marble are concerned.

"Mountain modern" is the look, Yellico says. Gray metal and burned timber will accomplish the aesthetic - an eye-catching edifice here in the woods, where simpler cabins and cottages suit most of the 130 year-round residents.

"Mountain modern" just might represent the new age of Marble.

Mike Yellico, is the owner of Greatful Builders and a city councilman in Marble, Colo. Pictured Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, on a building site in the Colorado mountain town. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

"People don't want growth," says Yellico, a town councilman who's called Marble home for nearly 25 years. "But growth is happening."

The sun is rising on this day before fall, the shadow lifting over the aspen-splashed hills turning gold. Summer is over, so the unpaved roads in the no-grocery store town are getting relief.

The bustle began in May, as it will again, with drivers pulling off Colorado 133 and following the Crystal River, passing ruins from a wrecked trolley that 100 years ago carried Marble's first source of fame: the milky-white rock used for the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

An Italian company still mines the marble, shipping it all over the world. But nowadays the draw is the scenery, such sights as the duck pond that emerges beside the road and shimmering river, in a meadow surrounded by peaks.

From town, a gray-white road climbs to the quarry. Unauthorized personnel stop at massive marble blocks that form the overlook of alpine majesty.

Beaver Lake is the aqua showpiece below, at the end of Marble's main street. Again this summer, vehicles will line the way to its 20 surface acres, and canoes and paddleboards will vie for space.

Traffic drives through Marble, Colo., Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The road, which turns into a technical 4x4 drive only road, leads to the Crystal Mill, Schofield Pass and Crested Butte. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Silver Street skirts the water, turning into the wicked road increasingly toured by ATVs and Jeeps. At the end is the historic Crystal Mill, the photographic rival to Aspen's Maroon Bells that some locals say has spawned "a zoo."

Marble has been discovered, says Town Clerk Ron Leach, who's been in the valley since the 1970s.

"All the people who come here permanently is because of their desire for solitude, and moving away from exactly what's happening here in the summer," he says.

Marble has had busier days. The population was its highest, nearly 800, in 1910, about two decades after Whitehouse Mountain was proclaimed as storing the finest marble in all the land.

The market sharply declined during the Great War, and World War II again closed operations. Natural forces caused other woes. Destroyed by fire, mudslides and snow slides, many of the town's former buildings are memorialized at the Marble Mill Site Park.

The foundations and walls are enough to constantly pique the curiosity of local history nerds, such as Max Sickels, 18. History was one reason he wanted to move to his uncle's town. The small-town feel was another.

"I've already gotten on a name-to-name basis with the dogs," he says, including Brisket, the black lab greeting guests at Slow Groovin' BBQ, Marble's only restaurant.

The Slow Groovin BBQ in Marble, Colo., Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The local restaurant is open May 1 to Oct. 31. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

It is that quaintness that residents have tried to keep while towns boomed in every other direction, riding the wave of tourism under the Elk Mountains. Marble's population picked back up in the '70s, as valley folks rose against a ski area's development.

A small campground in the heart of town seems to welcome recreation. It was recently developed amid fears of reckless dispersed camping, and there are thoughts of keeping it open in winter for backcountry skiers.

The Marble Museum is open Memorial Day weekend through the end of August and it's hours are Thursday - Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

"Marble has been discovered," Leach says. "Probably a similar story all around Colorado, all these little towns stuck back in the mountains are being discovered. That's good and bad."

Good for business. Bad for the timelessness that makes Marble Marble, that makes Crystal Mill a destination.

Deep in the forest, the wooden structure has been perched above a waterfall since 1893. On this day, one flew a drone while another, Carolyn Ansell, stood back, quietly admiring as she has for years. She used to live in Marble.

"Every time I look at this," she says, "I think how someday, it's gonna go."

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DOLORES, Colo. (AP) -- Two historic U.S. Forest Service outposts in the San Juan Mountains near Mancos and Dolores should be ready for public use by the summer of 2018.

The Cortez Journal reports that it took nearly a decade to get the former ranger housing at the Aspen Guard Station and the Glade Guard Station ready for public use.

The Aspen Guard Station in the Mancos Valley was built nearly 80 years ago.

The Glade Guard Station near the McPhee Reservoir is even older. It includes an early 20th-century ranger house and a barn. A three-year project to renovate the site ended in 2011.

An official with the U.S. Forest Service's Dolores district tells the newspaper that despite delays, the structures should be available for tourist rentals by 2018.

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Assessor Mark Peterson reported Tuesday to the county board the number of property foreclosures in 2017 was 30. That was down from 37 in 2016 and half the number of properties foreclosed in 2014. Metro Creative Graphics, Inc.

WALKER — Assessor Mark Peterson reported Tuesday to the county board the number of property foreclosures in 2017 was 30.

That was down from 37 in 2016 and half the number of properties foreclosed in 2014.

Two were commercial properties. Twelve were homesteads. Sixteen were cabins. Five were located on lakes.

Two-thirds were valued under $100,000, but one was worth over $1 million.

Peterson also reported the number of arms-length property sales in 2017 finally is moving closer to pre-recession levels, with 1,110 sold.

In 2006, 1,250 properties sold, but sales declined to an annual low of 644 in 2011. The 2017 sales are up 95 from 2016.

In other county board action:

Minnesota Department of Human Services sent Cass County a letter recognizing the county for perfect performance on meeting that department's reporting requirements in 2017.

This means the county will qualify for the full amount of state and federal funding for its local collaborative time study, Minnesota Family Investment Program consolidated fund, client statistics, SEAGER, income maintenance expense, social services fund, Title IV-E and BRASS-based grant fiscal report.

To qualify, the county's health, human and veterans services financial division has to complete 32 reports within the state's timeline requirements.

Cass County has joined with many other counties ranging from Dakota in the south to Lake County in the north for their sheriffs' departments in a mutual aid program to transport each other's inmates between jails.

Under this program, a Cass sheriff's department employee who might be transporting a prisoner to Crow Wing or Morrison County might bring a Morrison inmate back to Crow Wing or Cass where that inmate might need to appear in court — or a Morrison deputy could transport a Cass inmate when he is traveling to Crow Wing County.

Administrator Joshua Stevenson said this will be a transportation cost savings for all counties involved.

Cass County sheriff's deputies will patrol the Chippewa National Forest from May 1 through Dec. 31 this year. They will be paid from a $10,150 U.S. Forest Service grant, to be billed as services are provided.

Undem Law Office donated $250 to the sheriff's chaplaincy initiative.

An anonymous donor donated $100 to the county veterans transportation program.

The county board approved a new agreement with Waste Management to continue accepting and processing the county's garbage and recyclables at their Elk River landfill.

Municipal solid waste and recyclables are collected at the county's facility north of Pine River, then transported to Elk River.

The commissioners approved a contract with HyTech Construction $8,351 to do wall repairs on one building and $37,290 for a second building at the county's garbage and recycling collection center north of Pine River.

KDR, the county's contract operator of the site, will pay for these repairs. HyTech's bid was the lower of two received.

Loggers paid at a Feb. 22 auction $75,141 to log timber from county managed land. They paid $32.67 per cord for aspen, $30.04 per cord for red oak and $19.80 for bur oak. All five tracts offered were sold.

Stonemark Land Surveying was low bidder to survey lines on county managed land at $15,800 in Crooked Lake Township and for $8,870 in Poplar Township, preliminary to future timber sales.

Northern Engineering will survey county property in Woodrow Township for $15,896. Nyberg Surveying will survey county property in Moose Lake Township for $5,558.

The commissioners approved a contract with Josh's Place to provide semi-independent living services for persons age 18 and older.

Commissioners accepted a $1,100 payment and waived the balance of a $2,203.96 claim for overpayment of Medical Assistance to one client who has been trying to pay off the balance she owes in $10 per month payments. The client is unemployed.

Burglar admits beating 95-year-old Minn. veteran to death with flashlight

Former Minn. music teacher pleads guilty to having sex with teen student

Minn. couple, son charged in weapons, threat case

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On Sept. 13, 1888, the Leadville Chronicle sub-headlined: “A Lincoln Gulch Man Has a Terrible Hand-to-Hand Fight With a Huge Mountain Lion — A Narrow Escape.”

Two “pickslingers” employed by claim owner Dr. Whitehill of Leadville were bedded down for the night in their shack up Lincoln Gulch, when caterwauling of an unmistakable kind outside woke them. They peered through a chink in the wall, and “sure enough,” said one, “it was one of them derned varmints.”

After supper they had hung their mutton quarter from a high tree limb and the lion, reckoned to be “as big as the biggest Newfoundland,” was circling and jumping for the mutton. With each attempt the cat fell to the ground and howled at the failure. Maddened, he soon took to the scent of fear in the cabin.

“We could hear his claws scratchin’ agin the logs. Me and Jim felt mighty queer at the time,” said the unnamed raconteur. Soon the cat found the flimsy door made of two-inch boards, tacked on with hinges of boot-strap leather. “There was cracks all around it and he got his claws into them cracks.”

Without weapons, the prospectors devised a plan to pop open the door and holler at the cat while smacking the assailant with an axe and shovel. Upon bursting open the door, “Jim and I yelled enough to skeer a Comanche, but the cat planted both claws in my shoulder. Then Jim gave him a terrible whack on the head with the axe and the critter give a tremendous cry and lit out.”

The prospector opened his shirt to show the claw marks to a Leadville deputy, and said that if Dr. Whitehall “didn’t get us a gun out there I’ll throw up the job.”

Three generations of cabins

Up against obstacles hard to imagine now in an Aspen of swipe-for-a-genie phones and buttery concierges, the first prospectors up Lincoln Creek in the early 1880s scratched for carbonites, silver, gold, copper, lead, and zinc. Facing avalanches, unstable explosives, cave-ins, and odyssey-like distances to marginal medical care, they were a breed of endurance athletes in an era when survival was the victory.

Today along the four-wheel-drive road up the gulch, the intriguing remains of the ghost town of Ruby exude Old West mystery and at least three generations of structures. Along the road are historical log-building ruins that complement the landscape, a few modern cabins on patented mining claims, and, up until recently, two ramshackle retro-modern cabins from the post-World War II era that the U.S. Forest Service razed.

Until 1994, for extra fees, unpatented mining claims could be upgraded to patent. Once patented, the claimant became the actual owner of the land with the right to build a residence, while unpatented claims remained leases on federal property for the sole purpose of mining.

Before their demolition earlier this month, the most recent architectural interlopers evidenced the romance of an unfettered period of the last of the Old West, from the 1940s through the 1970s, when few journeyed to the wilderness frontier and even fewer objected to what they built in those parts.

Yet in their derelict state, surrounded by junk that the USFS is cleaning up with the help of penal inmates, the removal of the cabins seems justified, in a bid to reclaim a sliver of the disappearing pristine. Artifacts scattered about range from lead-soldered prospectors’ cans opened starlike with knives, to rusted bed springs, to a flathead V-8 engine and a decomposing 1948 Hudson coupe, driven up to one of the scraped cabins in the 1950s.

Twin Lakes versus Aspen

In the earliest days up the gulch, the major obstacle to early mining was access and transport. A burro path down intersected the existing trail over Independence into Aspen from Twin Lakes in 1880. The first freight wagon loads coming to Aspen from Leadville over Independence had to be disassembled and reassembled to get through narrow sections below the Lincoln Creek and Difficult Creek junctions.

At the Lincoln Creek junction with the Roaring Fork, a one-time settlement near the current Lincoln Gulch campground had a hotel called the Junction House, first run by Joe Sendlebach, according to the July 30, 1881, Aspen Times. A stable accommodated 14 horses and the hotel served fresh strawberries. The Junction served as a stopover for travelers over Independence Pass and access for early Aspen prospectors exploring Lincoln Gulch.

At the same time, the preferred route for Leadville-side prospectors in and out of Lincoln Gulch was over Red Mountain Pass at the top eastern side of the gulch. A switchback trail for burro trains over the distinctly red 13,000-foot pass crossed into a settlement called Three Cabins in Peekaboo Gulch near Twin Lakes. From there, six-in-hand freight wagons hauled the ore to a stamp mill in Twin Lakes, the Leadville smelter, or to freight trains in Granite, according to the Leadville Herald Democrat, Carbonite Chronicle, and the Twin Lakes Miner newspapers.

Aspen argued that Lincoln Gulch commerce would be better served with a wagon road up the promising gulch and a better road from the Junction into Aspen. The projected volume of business from the gulch would link directly to the rest of the west via Aspen’s anticipated railroads.

But the Twin Lakes and Leadville mining community, which had first penetrated the gulch, and which had been servicing gold and silver mines running up numerous gulches on the east side of the pass, felt it had the right to commerce from the developing district.

Bribery in Leadville?

In 1883, gulch prospectors offered to meet Pitkin County half way in constructing a wagon road out to an improved Aspen road, said the Rocky Mountain Sun on October 20. Though some 15 mines in the gulch would ship “good smelting ore” to Aspen, said the Sun, the Pitkin commissioners chose to fund Aspen infrastructure instead.

With that, up through 1893 — when the price of silver tanked with the stock market — and until about 1908, Twin Lakes serviced Lincoln Gulch. At a standstill after the crash, a touted discovery of 800 to 1,200 ounces per ton of silver on the Ruby claim in 1898 by owners Hughes and Willard of Kansas changed the equation. That ore, shipped over Red Mountain to Leadville, sparked a resurgence in the gulch, said the Granite Pay Streak in August 1898.

On the heels of that strike, the still incomplete Lincoln Gulch road to the Junction become a hot Aspen issue again. The Aspen Times on July 22, 1905, headlined, “Where is the Lincoln Gulch road?” Many believed Leadville grafters were paying Carpenter, the state surveyor, to not build the already-funded commercial wagon road out of the Gulch, said the Times.

Finally, in February of 1906, the contract was signed to complete the road, which a Ruby Mine brochure at the Aspen Historical Society said was finished in 1908. At the same time, Colorado funded the state wagon road from Twin Lakes over the divide into Aspen. But because of a series of underbids by contractors for different sections of the road, said the Miner, the challenging construction dragged on until completion in 1911.

Beginning in 1914, Aspen volunteers worked picks and shovels to help the phlegmatic state construct a new Highway 82 for automobiles over Independence. Mr. Willoughby, in a day-long journey, drove the first car over in 1922.

Despite so much roadway procrastination, the most productive years of Lincoln Gulch mining occurred between 1898 and 1916.

Early gulch mines

The Herald on April 12, 1882, reported that Young’s Camp over Red Mountain Pass in the gulch, named after J. F. Young who’d been prospecting several summers for carbonites there, would become the new mining district of Lincoln Gulch. (Carbonites include marble, limestone, and a range of colored crystals, some of which are semi-precious gems.)

A year later, on Dec. 1, 1883, the Times reported that Edward Bailey, owner of the Highland Mary claims at the top of the gulch, upped the road ante. While visiting Aspen, he bragged that with a wagon road he could deliver 30 tons of ore per day to Aspen.

Fast forward to the 1960s, and Bailey’s Highland claims somehow became where the late Aspen ski cinematographer Don Rathbun built a frame cabin, one of the two the USFS tore down recently. Rathbun became unable keep the claim up and the between-the-legal-cracks structure was vandalized and declared a hazard.

In October 1883, the anonymous “Prospector” wrote to the Rocky Mountain Sun praising the Pontiac, Windsor, and Minnie Clawson claims, boasting of up to $1,000 per ton of assayed silver. Such projected assays, designed to attract investors, were based upon small amounts of rich ore that could represent tonnage if the ore continued at the same percentage. The Prospector claimed the gulch could deliver 40 tons of ore per week to Aspen instead of Twin Lakes, with a gulch road.

On Feb. 23, 1884, in what the Sun characterized as “a regular Kansas blizzard,” a large avalanche just below the Junction House buried the bridge over the Roaring Fork on the toll road into Aspen. The few souls braving the winter in Lincoln Gulch remained trapped there until spring.

But a new allure in the gulch caught people’s attention when prospector “Uncle Jimmy Tanfield” discovered “a lode rich in gold and copper,” said the Times on Aug. 8, 1886.

Elusive gold

A view of upper Lincoln Gulch in 1930 taken from near the Ruby Mine. Note the middle frame cabin that Don Rathbun rebuilt in the 1960s.

Courtesy Aspen Historical Society
At the same time, on the eastern slope of Red Mountain pass, the Gibraltar, Jackpot, and Lucky Cuss were operating as producing gold mines. Not surprisingly, since gold had been mined in nearby Independence (known in 1882 as Sparkill, Dutch for pole creek), and gold traces had been found earlier in Lincoln Gulch, anticipation of a big gold strike remained tantalizing.

The Times reported in November 1889 that the Galena Belle mine in Grizzly Gulch near Lincoln assayed $17 gold and $117 silver per ton. Up Lincoln, the August 1898 Aspen Tribune said the Ruby Mine found $30 per ton of gold, and the April 1899 Times wrote “Dr. Bowman dug grass roots ore that returned $25 gold.”

Al Fennel in 1910 panned “rich gold float” in gulch tributaries, said the Miner. And as late as 1927, the Times said J.J. “Jake” Yeckel of LG Metal Mines Co., would “bring big results in the rich gold territory.”

Amidst this speculation, the Miner started calling the gulch miners Argonauts, in reference to the ancient Greek quest for the Golden Fleece. Though gold sometimes appeared as a low percentage of shipments while silver and lead paid off steadily, no big gold strike put the area on the map.

The bottom line was that a miner had to move tons of rock to distill an ounce of gold, which its rarity valued at about $19 per ounce between 1850 and 1927. Factor in back-breaking labor and irregular percentages of gold in ore, and Lincoln Gulch silver proved to be more profitable.

Ruby red silver

Though a retro-fitted sign on a large log structure once used as a stable along the gulch road says “Ruby est. 1883,” historic newspapers through 1927 referred to Lincoln Gulch or the Ruby Mine in Lincoln Gulch, without ever calling the district the “town of Ruby.”

Ruby became the de facto name once the Ruby Mine became dominant there from 1898 through about 1911. In the 1940s and 1950s the Aspen newspapers started calling the once thriving gulch the “old ghost town of Ruby.”

Overlooking that technicality, in 1901, an Illinois group formed The Ruby Mine Co., consisting of a number of claims on the west slope of Red Mountain Pass. The upper Ruby tunnel above timberline exposed a vertical silver vein. By driving two deeper tunnels below it they pursued the fatter part of the vein.

On March 22, 1902, the Times wrote that a series of big snow slides had shut down the Ruby. One “great avalanche on its mission of destruction” took the boards off the tram building and brushed the bunkhouse at midnight, while “sleeping miners escaped eternity as they dreamed of the Ruby’s treasure vaults they coveted.” Days later in Aspen, “All the boys arrived” to celebrate their close call and were “hailed by all as a glad surprise.”

Soon the Ruby became known as running “the best property in the district,” said the Miner on July 16, 1904, after shipping 60 sacks of $250-per-ton silver out on a 60-burro train over Red Mountain. On Aug. 23, 1904, the Times wrote that claim jumpers near the Ruby were deterred by the “owners enforcing their demands with popguns.”

But what really made the Ruby name shine appeared in the Nov. 20, 1904, Herald Democrat, wherein a concentrate of ruby silver was found. This somewhat rare red silver, mixed in with other silver ore, can present as stunning red crystal formations. Earlier, the Ruby claims were probably named for this ruby silver.

New owners’ promises

By 1906 the Ruby had built a bunkhouse, a mill and an assayer’s office. In 1907, the Miner said they were installing a gas-powered concentrator mill and saw mill, and that they would be shipping $1,000 per day over Red Mountain.

The Oct. 14, 1906, Times reported that 20-year-old Victor Johnson at the Ruby Mine took ill with stomach cramps and was transported down to Citizens’ Hospital in Aspen, where he died of peritonitis, the autopsy revealed. He was embalmed by Undertaker Blakemore before being accompanied by his “heart-broken father” back to Leadville on the Midland train.

In another mishap, Aspenite John Needham drilled into a “missed shot” at the Ruby in 1907. The shot blew up in his face and right eye, said the Times on Aug. 8. He was brought to Citizens’ Hospital where the outcome was uncertain.

In April 1909, the Consolidated Ruby Mining Co. incorporated the existing Ruby Mining Co. plus some 18 lodes and issued one million shares of stock to fund extraction of a projected “$2 million worth of ore,” according to a CRMC brochure at the historical society. The new company built two blacksmith shops, a 28-horse stable, and accommodations for 40 miners.

Four months later, the Aspen Democrat-Times wrote in July 1909 that Miss Jeanette Weatherman was hired as a waitress for the Ruby Mine’s boardinghouse (imagine serving 40 miners in a remote outpost). But she found her man there, because the paper noted in November that “Cupid Heatherly,” Aspen’s town clerk, issued a marriage license to Jeanette and C.M. Arnett, an engineer at the Ruby. They honeymooned that January in Kansas.

Under the new owners, supervisor William Barnes produced $100,000 in ore that year, still short of the $2 million promised to their shareholders, while ore wagons were able to ship via the 1908-improved road down the gulch into Aspen.

Meanwhile — where one of today’s “modern” cabins built by the Nichols/Flatt family of Grand Junction was recently demolished — the Miner said the “European-American Mining company of Paris, France,” worked the Osborne claims opposite the Ruby. On scene were owners “Baron Claes de Peyron of Sweden and Mr. Leapold Gelus of Marseilles, France,” who claimed 6 ounces of gold and 800 ounces of silver per ton.

The 1910 Miner went on to bombast that the gulch “will soon be developed into one of the foremost mining camps of the Rockies,” and “mines will be opened that will astonish the mining world.”

This did not prove to be the case, and with unfulfilled promises based on silver at $.52 per once in 1910, the district began sliding into its second malaise, which ripened with the winds of world war in 1914. Yet in August 1916, the Democrat-Times said William Anderson, aka “Rattlesnake Anderson,” was visiting Aspen from his claim near Anderson Lake. In September 1919, the Herald Democrat wrote that Aspen merchant Mr. Kobey was operating the idle Ruby at a profit.

In July 1925, the Times reported that Blaine Bray was putting the Lincoln Gulch road into shape for automobile traffic. “That’s the ticket, Gentlemen Commissioners,” wrote the Times. In February 1927, the Times, in the typically unshakeable optimism of mining reporting, said LG Metal Mines Co., run by a new group of Aspen businessmen, extracted samples high in gold, silver, and lead.

Judge William Shaw never stopped believing

After 1930 there is little mention of successful mining in the gulch other than the scattered hyperbole of “Saturday-afternoon” prospectors picking over abandoned claims. But for a few operations, the hope of a resurgence of mining in the Aspen area retreated as the new era of skiing began to eclipse the old way of life.

During the 1930s, Aspen pioneer and county Judge William Shaw, a rumpled chain smoker and respected Aspen fixture into the 1970s, caught the mining bug, and he began amassing numerous claims in Lincoln Gulch, often in exchange for legal work.

In his letters at the Aspen Historical Society, his knowledge of the lodes abandoned there in the early 1900s, along with the Gordian knot of legal details, showed how he believed that high-grade silver and gold might still be unearthed there. To this end, in 1946, he courted a mining group with properties in Guatemala, wherein former President Herbert Hoover was a partner.

According to Shaw, the gulch fell into its first decline by 1893 because of excessive litigation, lack of train proximity, and because many left for easier pickings in Aspen, while World War I led to the second decline. He observed how shape-shifting ownership in mining worked: “Large companies have a habit of leaving a property, waiting for the owners to forget the property and then relocating in their own name.”

From 1933 to 1934, during the Great Depression, a sizable and grateful crew worked on the water diversion tunnel, boring under Independence Pass from Lincoln Gulch to Twin Lakes. Today, Western Slope Coloradans worth their salt still resent that eastern-slopers “rustled” the Western Slope’s water to irrigate southeastern Colorado melon fields.

In the 1950s, Shaw worked with the Minerals Research Corp. in Golden to take core samples around Ruby; in 1968 he tried to land a deal with Superior Oil Co. by cobbling together countless gulch claims into a lease package for $3 million; and by 1970 he had the Union Carbide Corp. sniffing for minerals there. Though none of these deals panned out, he maintained two cabins in Ruby, as his hope for a new Lincoln Gulch mining center faded.

Judge Shaw died in 1974, followed by his wife Dorothy in 1976. Their son and principle heir, “Harry Bob,” an Aspen High grad and Harvard PhD, preceded them in death in 1963. Along with the venerable Shaws, the detailed knowledge of the working parts of old Aspen and Lincoln Gulch became lost.

As is the case with many historical mining districts, and Lincoln Gulch is no exception, shifting owners and morphing partners freighted with leases and sub-leases leave a jumble to decipher. The bonanza lode may still lie hidden up there, but thanks to the U.S. Forest Service cleanup, the once boastful gulch is revegetating as a recreational nook of Pitkin County.

Tim Cooney is a veteran Aspen Mountain ski patroller and dedicated student of Aspen history. Aspen Daily News and Aspen Journalism are collaborating on coverage of Aspen history. More at

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In advance of the Aspen Food & Wine Classic this weekend, the swans and their mates from across the country take wing on their Gulfstreams and Falcons heading for this high-altitude, high-roller summer aerie. It’s the ultimate rich man’s playground, the 8,000 foot high answer to Cap d’Antibes or St. Tropez.

A Centurion card is not the only thing required to savor the haute luxuries that Aspen offers. You’ll need to know where to hang out, where to hike, to dine and rest your head at night. In addition, in order to savor the total ultra Aspen experience, you’ll need friends with the benefits of membership — in the Caribou Club, the Dancing Bear, the Roaring Fork Club, and the Little Nell’s Top of the Mountain club.

PaperCity surveyed a number of Aspen regulars and has combined their recommendations for this insider’s guide to haute Aspen.

Where to stay: The Little Nell ranks the best for bunking with the swank Viceroy in Snowmass and the Hotel Jerome, much improved since joining Auberge ranks, rounding out the recommended choices. However, friends with memberships come in handy for two amazing private residence clubs: the sophisticated Dancing Bear in the heart of Apsen and the grandly mountain-esque Roaring Fork Club on the road to Basalt. (Love the latter’s golf course, spacious clubhouse and surrounding mountain cabins).

House rentals: Looking for something more lavish than a hotel room, cabin or condo, those in the know turn to Frias Properties of Aspen, Engel & Volkers, and Five Star Destinations. Aspen and Snowmass boast scores of dwellings suitable for the most demanding energy barons and kings of commerce. A number of Texans have time shares at the chichi Little Nell Residences thus friends with memberships become friends with benefits.

Dining: You must find a friend with membership in the Little Nell’s Aspen Mountain Club for this is where you’ll find the celebs, your Texas friends and amazing views of the Elk Mountain Range. You can still rub shoulders with the elite by snagging an outside table at Casa Tua, reserving a rooftop perch at Aspen Kitchen, checking in at Acquolina, Cache Cache, Ajax Tavern, Matsuhisa and Pinions. Check out the White House Tavern for lunch and try the deviled eggs.

For breakfast, we long for the days of the Main Street Bakery & Cafe, which closed in October. In its place we must make the drive all the way to Carbondale to Village Smitty. Devotees swear that it’s worth the drive and the wait in line. Closer to home, Aspen’s Paradise Bakery with its to-die-for, fresh from the oven muffins is always a breakfast winner.

Celebrity sightings: They descend from their mountain aeries for the old-fashioned, colorful Fourth of July parade, which poses a great opportunity for star-gazing. The party of the season, where everyone who is anyone is in attendance, is the Aspen Art Museum’s ArtCrush and accompanying WineCrush. Dallas’ Amy Phelan chairs the three-day fete.

Further schmoozing with celebs and power brokers can be found on the museum’s rooftop cafe SO (spectacular views of Aspen Mountain and Independence Pass), the bar at the Little Nell and, of course, the Caribou Club. But you’ll need a friend with membership for the Caribou, which is consistently, year-round the hottest place to see and be seen.

Bicycling is a favorite Aspen pastime.

Outdoor moves: Fly fishing, biking, hiking, mountaintop yoga. We recommend Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt for the best guides and overall shop experience. Biking to Maroon Bells and Woody Creek Tavern for lunch are an Aspen tradition while more recently biking to Basalt and even to Carbondale ( mostly downhill, hitch a return ride) are popular. A personal favorite is biking to Pine Creek Cook House but you’ll need to be good shape for this one, or forget the exercise and take a car as the views are spectacular. Private yoga instructors and group yoga are part of the Aspen experience including mountaintop stretches and deep breathing events.

Hiking: So many trails, so little time. Our experts, all of whom have vacation homes in Aspen, recommend the hike between Maroon Bells and Gothic, the Arbaney Kittle Trail connecting Basalt and Old Snowmass Trail, Hunter Creek accessible from downtown Aspen, Lost Man trails for high Alpine terrain, and the Ute trail, 5.5 mile, 3,169 feet elevation gain. If you are up for the challenge, trails lead to the West Maroon Pass where you can keep going all the way down the other side to Crested Butte and hitch a shuttle back to Aspen. It’s a rite of passage for Aspen regulars.

Golf: Maroon Creek Golf Club is the hands down winner in this category. But once again, you’ll have to have a member willing to share the golf cart. However, the Aspen Municipal Golf Course, the Snowmass Club golf course , and the River Valley Ranch Golf Club in Carbondale offer spectacular views and fairway challenges.

Everyone’s favorite: The Aspen Music Festival provides all the classical music one could want in this spectacular setting — more than 400 classical music events including concerts by five orchestras, solo and chamber music performances, opera performances and opera scenes master classes. Whether picnicking on the grounds of the Benedict Music Tent or securing reserved seating, the concerts are the cultural epicenter of Aspen in summer.

What to wear: Jeans (blue and white) with sassy Ts or tailored shirts. As one regular declared, “jeans and bling.” Casual but chic with serious designer handbags, great shoes. Gents can leave the blazer and ties at home, unless you have invitations for uber-swank Red Mountain evenings. Layering is not only trés chic but trés important as the temps can drop with a tiny rain shower.

Aspen no no’s: Speeding through town (the speed limit is 25 mph) and failing to give pedestrians the right-of-way in this walking-friendly town. Hostess gifts — as one Aspen homeowner noted of this frequent faux pas, “Showing up at a private party with an oversized hostess gift no one needs or wants.”

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