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Elizabeth & Walter Paepcke thumbnail

Elizabeth & Walter Paepcke

Skiing had already started to boost Aspen out of its 50-year hibernation when the Paepckes arrived in May of 1945.

Walter Paepcke, is best known, not for his business success with the Container Corporation of America, but for bringing culture out of the city and building Aspen into a year-round cultural and skiing mecca. The Paepckes infused Aspen with numerous cultural activities and were instrumental in creating a stable economy for the area.

After the innovative Goethe Bicentennial Convocation in 1949, he established the Aspen Institute of Humanistic Studies, the International Design Conference of Aspen (IDCA) and the Aspen Music Festival and School in order to fulfill his dream of the “Aspen Idea.” Elizabeth, known as the “Grand Dame of Aspen,” and Walter were instrumental in bringing about what we now call the “renaissance” of Aspen.

In Walter’s own words, his vision for Aspen was “a community of peace” with opportunities for man’s complete life “where he can earn a living, profit by healthy physical recreation, with facilities at hand for his enjoyment of art, music, and education.”

Always gracious, Elizabeth Paepcke expressed her sense of fun, whimsy, and creativity in her endeavors, from garden parties to board meetings.

—Photo: Berko