Aspen has a long and fascinating history, populated by a memorable cast of characters. And with the recent passing of 96-year-old Ruth Brown Perry, the town lost one of its direct links to that rustic past.
Scott Condon in the Aspen Times has crafted a fine appreciation of "Ditty" Brown. Her father David R.C. Brown, writes Condon, "came to Aspen in spring 1880 as a young clerk working for storekeeper H.P. Cowenhoven. They made an arduous journey over the Continental Divide with two wagonloads of goods and a larger supply of hope that the silver camp would flourish as a town."
Brown ended up making a fortune, first through good luck, then through shrewd investments. A prospector settled a debt to Brown of $250 by trading his one-third interest in the Aspen mining claim. It became one of the town’s biggest producing silver mines. ... Brown made investments that helped Aspen thrive. He helped build a tram up Aspen Mountain. He invested in the Colorado Midland Railroad. He helped build the municipal waterworks and helped bring electricity to the town. He stayed connected to Aspen after the silver crash in 1893.
Perry was born in 1918, and the family thrived in what's known locally as "The Quiet Years" between the end of the mining boom and the advent of skiing, days when they could drive cattle right up Highway 82 from the family ranch near Carbondale to Old Snowmass.
Life has changed up in that valley of course. Read Condon's full story at the Aspen Times.