On the west side of 12,095-foot Independence Pass, prospectors found gold on July 4, 1879, in an alpine meadow near the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River. A rowdy town of several hundred residents survived as long as Independence Pass carried most of the traffic into Aspen. The pass toll road (1881) declined after the railroads arrived in 1887–1888. Attempts to revive the town under new names (Chipeta, Farewell, Spar-kill, Mammoth City, and Mount Hope) faltered, although a few residents hung on until around 1900. Aspen Historical Society volunteers and the U.S. Forest Service have stabilized and roofed the remains of this ghost town, where ruins of a mill and several houses cling to the mountain-side.
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Independence Ghost Town and Independence Mill Site
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