Independence Ghost Town - Aspen, CO - Former mining town where gold was found in 1879


Independence Ghost Town is located approximately 13 miles outside of Aspen, Colorado. The legend has it that a large sum of gold was found on July 4, 1879. Shortly after a tent city sprang up, which eventually lead to a total population of approximately 300 people. By 1881 Farwell Mining Co. bought up all of the eleven mines. In 1882 the town was home to an estimated population of 1,500 citizens with 40 businesses. Life in the short-lived town was rugged due to the primitive structures and the 11,000 foot altitude.

Mining at Independence produced around $200,000 worth of gold and all but dried up by the late 1880's. Independence was known by several names including Chipeta, Mammoth City, Mount Hope, Farwell, Sparkill, and Hunter's Pass.

In 1899 a massive winter storm cut off food and supplies to Independence. To survive the storm, the small group of remaining miners dismantled their homes and made skis to escape to nearby Aspen.

Interested visitors can take self-guided tours of the town. Most of the mines and homes are long gone, but some remain as a testament to the once thriving city. Most of the citizens remained in nearby Aspen.

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