The town of Independence is located 13.5 miles east of Aspen. Colorado prospectors discovered the Independence Gold Lode on July 4, 1879. A tent city was formed that summer. By 1880, 300 people were living in the Independence camp.
By the year 1881, the Farwell Mining Company had acquired most of the leading mines in the Independence area. That summer, the population grew to 500. Four grocery stores, four boarding houses and three saloons were built. By the year 1882 the Town of Independence had over 40 businesses with three post offices and an estimated population of 1,500.
Unfortunately, the mining bust would soon follow. The opportunities for work at good pay and a milder climate enticed the residents of Independence to move to Aspen. Today, only five of the original structures remain