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The City of Aspen is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Pitkin County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 7,004 at the 2020 United States Census. Aspen is in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains' Sawatch Range and Elk Mountains, along the Roaring Fork River at an elevation just below 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level on the Western Slope, 11 miles (18 km) west of the Continental Divide. Aspen is now a part of the Glenwood Springs, CO Micropolitan Statistical Area. Founded as a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom and later named Aspen for the abundance of aspen trees in the area, the city boomed during the 1880s, its first decade. The boom ended when the Panic of 1893 led to a collapse of the silver market. For the next half-century, known as "the quiet years", the population steadily declined, reaching a nadir of fewer than 1000 by 1930. Aspen's fortunes recovered in the mid-20th century when neighboring Aspen Mountain was developed into a ski resort, and industrialist Walter Paepcke bought many properties in the city in the 1950s and redeveloped them. Today it is home to three institutions, two of which Paepcke helped found, that have international importance: the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Aspen Institute, and the Aspen Center for Physics.In the late 20th century, the city became a popular retreat for celebrities. Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson worked out of a downtown hotel and ran unsuccessfully for county sheriff. Singer John Denver wrote two songs about Aspen after settling there. Both figures popularized Aspen among the counter-cultural youth of the 1970s as an ideal place to live, and the city continued to grow even as it gained notoriety for some of the era's hedonistic excesses (particularly its drug culture).Aspen remains popular as a year-round destination for locals, second-home buyers and tourists. Outdoor recreation in the surrounding White River National Forest serves as a summertime counterpart to the city's four ski areas. Demand for real estate has made Aspen one of the most expensive places in the country to buy a home.
The City of Glenwood Springs is the home rule municipality that is the county seat of Garfield County, Colorado, United States. Glenwood Springs is located at the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River, threading together the Roaring Fork Valley and a series of smaller towns up and down the Colorado River. As of the 2020 census it had a population of 9,963.Glenwood Springs is best known as a historic destination for vacationers with diverse natural amenities, most particularly the hot springs.
The Town of Crested Butte is a home rule municipality located in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 1,639 at the 2020 United States Census. The former coal mining town is now called "the last great Colorado ski town". Crested Butte is a destination for skiing, mountain biking, and a variety of other outdoor activities. The Colorado General Assembly in 1990 designated Crested Butte the wildflower capital of Colorado.
The historic City of Leadville is the Statutory City that is the county seat, the most populous community, and the only incorporated municipality in Lake County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 2,602 at the 2010 census and an estimated 2,762 in 2018. Leadville is situated at an elevation of 10,152 feet (3,094 m). A former silver mining town that lies among the headwaters of the Arkansas River in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Leadville Historic District contains many historic structures and sites in its dynamic mining era. In the late 19th century, Leadville was the second most populous city in Colorado, after Denver. Leadville is notable for having many 14,000 foot peaks viewable from town.