The ghost town of Independence, Colorado received its designation for the National Register of Historic Places on April 11, 1973. Gold was discovered there on July 4, 1879, thus giving the town its name, although it was also called Last Dollar, Chipeta, Mammouth City, Mount Hope, Farwell, Sparkill and Hunter’s Pass.
It was the first settlement in the Roaring Fork Valley of Pitkin County. Geographically it was located 13.5 miles east of Aspen at an altitude of 10,830 feet above sea level. Both Independence Pass and the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River are nearby. Also in the vicinity is the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, home to the highest points in Colorado (13,000 to 14,000 feet above sea level). With snow falling from October through May, Independence was hardly a hospitable place to live.
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