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Stories from Hotel Jerome

Stories from Hotel Jerome

Celebrate What We’re Thankful For: 130 Years of Hotel Jerome

Hotel Jerome Lobby Aspen

This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for the many guests who’ve become a part of the Hotel Jerome family through the years. We’re also thankful for reaching a very special milestone: 130 years since the hotel’s namesake owner Jerome B. Wheeler first opened our doors on Thanksgiving Eve 1889.


Hotel Jerome has a rich history, one that parallels with the history of Aspen itself—even from the town’s very earliest years. When the first prospectors struck silver in the area in the late 1870s, Wheeler got word and purchased interests in four promising mines. He and his wife, Harriet, moved to Manitou Springs, Colorado, and then in the early 1880s, to Aspen, where they injected much needed capital and infrastructure around town. Wheeler completed the town’s first smelter, helped fund the incoming Colorado Midland Railway, and founded the Wheeler Bank and Wheeler Opera House.


He also donated a parcel of land on the corner of Mill and Main Streets, and loaned two innkeepers, Bixby and Phillips, $60,000 ($1.67 million in modern dollars) for the construction of a hotel that would rival the grand dame hotels of Europe. Costs more than doubled, and Bixby and Phillips bailed, leaving Wheeler to finish construction. 


That he eventually did—and in high style. He opened Hotel Jerome as one of the first buildings west of the Mississippi to have full electric lighting, along with steam heat, indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water, and the first elevator in Aspen—rare luxuries at the time. Wheeler also hired a French chef for the hotel kitchen and held a grand fête to celebrate the opening of the hotel’s doors on Thanksgiving Eve 1889. 


Hotel Jerome would go on to become the only hotel to survive the silver crash, the long pre-ski-resort winters and the Depression, maintaining its well-deserved status as Aspen’s social hub over the last 130 years. 10th Mountain Division soldiers would gather around over pints after a day of training on the slopes, silver screen actors John Wayne, Gary Cooper and Lana Turner lounged around the pool, and gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson turned a corner of J-Bar into his de facto campaign office during his run for Aspen Pitkin County sheriff. 

This Thanksgiving, we welcome you to come join us in honoring Hotel Jerome’s heritage with a special Thanksgiving dinner ($130 per person) along with classic cocktails ($18.89 per person). Confirm your reservation today at 970-429-7610.Stories from Hotel Jerome