Georgia Herrick Hanson
A strong advocate for preserving Aspen’s history, a volunteer for dozens of Aspen’s boards and causes, a fundraiser and event manager par excellence, Georgia left her mark all over Aspen during her 50-year tenure in town.
Born in Buffalo, New York in 1948, Georgia attended Syracuse University, where she met a classmate named Harley Baldwin who would change the course of her life when he offered her a one-way ticket to Aspen in 1969.
She helped Baldwin revive Aspen’s famed Brand Building and championed the building’s thriving businesses of that era: Poppycock’s, La Bodega, the Body Shop, Peaches n’ Regalia, Aspen Mountaineering, the Sub Shoppe, and Gaard’s Graphics. Georgia became a business owner herself when she opened the Kitchen Shop, which was one of the only places of its kind in Aspen at the time.
Georgia’s ability to engage the community was honed in 1990 when George Stranahan asked her to help develop the Woody Creek Master Plan. Working alongside the likes of Hunter Thompson and Don Henley, the group was instrumental in shaping the course of the community.
Hotel magnate Mohammed Hadid hired her to help with community relations during the development of the Ritz Carlton, which became the St Regis. Soon Georgia found herself at the heart of the Aspen Highlands base area makeover when Gerald Hines hired her to be a Community Liaison, a position that spanned nearly ten years.
Married to Aspen local Monte Taylor for 17 years, Hanson was widowed in 1987. Alcoholism was a theme in her marriage and she would later give back to Aspen’s first substance abuse and rehab facilities by volunteering for The Right Door, the Chemical Dependency Task Force, and YouthZone.
In 2002, Georgia was asked to lead the Aspen Historical Society. It was struggling to survive. Under her directorship, the Historical Society was able to secure voter support for a mill levy, ensuring community funding in perpetuity. She created a strong new board, spearheaded a successful fund-raising campaign, built state-of-the art archives and gallery space, and made our history come alive.
Over the course of her five decades in Aspen, Georgia volunteered for countless other local causes including the Independence Pass Foundation, Aspen Buddy Program, Aspen Valley Ski Club, International Design Conference, Jazz Aspen, the Motherlode Volleyball Tournament and Ruggerfest, and the Windstar Foundation. She was a key volunteer at every World Cup ski race over the years.
Now married to “Big Andy” Hanson, who is a well-known Aspen ski instructor, the two are living the good life in Mexico.
While the list of Georgia’s generosity to this community goes on, the thing that stands out is that she both helped shape Aspen as it is today and made sure the past will never be forgotten.