Living in Aspen's West EndIyna Bort Caruso
West End is a historic and elite pocket of Aspen, the ski resort town located at the head of the Roaring Fork Valley 200 miles southwest of Denver. It’s surrounded by public lands of the White River National Forest and home to seven “14ers,” mountain peaks taller than 14,000 feet.
In the late 1800s, shortly after Colorado statehood, deposits of silver ore were discovered, ushering in prospectors--and prosperity. At one point, Aspen was the largest silver-producing district in the nation. Many silver barons built grand Victorian-style homes in West End. The silver crash of 1893 was followed by slow decline or what is euphemistically called the “Quiet Years.” Eventually skiing, not silver, would revive the economy and bring about another Aspen renaissance.
While winter sports was the catalyst for the area’s development, West End has transitioned into a year-round destination. The comfortable summer temperatures are a factor, but there are plenty of off-slope attractions, too. West End is home to the Benedict Music Tent, one of two concert venues of the Aspen Music Festival and School, which holds hundreds of classical concerts each summer. The neighborhood is minutes from Aspen’s major attractions and downtown core as well as hiking and biking trails.
West End is made up of full-timers and seasonal Aspenites. Great Victorians from the Golden Age of the silver era make up a large percentage of the residential market. Preservation efforts saved many during the development boom. Today, renovations are carried out in keeping with the architectural heritage of the homes.
Along with Victorians and restored miner’s cottages are residences that fall under Aspen Modernism, dating back to the years following World War II. In the mid to late 1940s, as the area was growing into an international resort, top modernist architects made their way here and fused the Bauhaus-inspired aesthetic with the high country environment. West End homes can easily fetch eight-figure sales prices.