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Mapping Hunter S. Thompson's Aspen

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The infamously wild creator of Gonzo journalism, author of books and articles, renowned imbiber of drugs and alcohol, and infamous Nixon hater Hunter S. Thompson moved to Aspen in 1968, attracted by the natural beauty, the wild counter-culture reputation of the small town, and the concentration of intellectual drop-outs who could have had successful careers as bankers or lawyers, but decided to be ski bums instead. He bought a home in next door Woody Creek with royalties from Hells Angels book sales and lived there until he committed suicide in 2005. In his time in town, he ran a wild and nearly successful campaign for sheriff, shot many guns, took a lot of drugs, and made the J Bar at the Hotel Jerome his de facto office. This is Hunter S. Thompson's Aspen.

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1. Aspen Mountain

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718 South Galena Street, White River National Forest
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 300-7014
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Thompson wasn't a skier, and largely came to Aspen due to the concentration of "intellectual drop-outs," its wild reputation, and its natural beauty. He did, however, ski once on Aspen Mountain ("none of this 'go to Buttermilk [the beginners' resort] and learn' nonsense"), and took three consecutive 40 mph crashes before hanging it up for good.

2. J-Bar at Hotel Jerome

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330 East Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-3721
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The J Bar served as Thompson's de facto office for his time in Aspen, and he would often eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner there after picking up his mail and sorting it into three piles for bills, fan mails, and periodicals. The former bartender, Tim Mooney, would offer serve as a buffer between Thompson and visiting fans, even if their name was Jack Nicholson. Thompson also nearly killed Bill Murray in the hotel pool after duct-taping him to a lounge chair and throwing him in.

3. Pitkin County Sheriff's Office

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506 East Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 920-5300

Thompson's most famous escapade in Aspen was his 1970 campaign for Aspen Sheriff on the "Freak Power" ticket. Thompson's platform consisted of legalizing drugs of all kinds (but for personal consumption only), the installation of a set of stocks on the lawn of the Sheriff's office to punish dishonest dope dealers, and changing the name of Aspen to Fat City. His idea there was that that "would prevent greed heads, land rapers, and other human jackals from capitalizing on the name 'Aspen'. These swine should be f**ked, broken, and driven across the land." He'd no doubt appreciate the irony of being written about on a real estate site today. Despite a great anti-Nixon campaign video and a great moment of theatrics in which he shaved his head so he could call the Republican incumbent "my long-haired opponent," Thompson narrowly lost thanks to a coalition of opposing voters and his own Rolling Stones article that discussed his strategy and galvanized his opposition.

4. Main Street

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201 East Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611

As part of Hunter's 1970 campaign for Aspen Sherriff, he promised to "rip up all city streets with jackhammers and sod the streets at once" if he were elected.

5. Poppies Bistro Cafe

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834 West Hallam Street
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-2333

The now-defunct West End eatery in a purple Victorian was a favorite of Hunter and his wife Anita, as well as Ed Bradley. The caesar salad, shrimp appetizer, and lamb were all renowned. Owner Michael Hull was one of the few restauranteurs able to keep a join in Aspen open for longer than 30 years, and its unique vibe and separation from downtown gave it a real connection to old Aspen.

6. Woody Creek Tavern

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2858 Upper River Road
Woody Creek, CO 81656
(970) 923-4585
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The decidedly un-Aspen Woody Creek Tavern sits next to a trailer park, far removed from the glitz and glamour of downtown. The landmark restaurant and bar has eccentric waitstaff, gobs of pictures and paraphernalia on the walls, and jaded locals sipping beer on the porch that give it a wild air. Its margaritas are deadly, and Hunter would bartend from time to time in a wig for fun. Cash only.

7. Hotel Jerome's Grand Ballroom

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330 East Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611

The Grand Ballroom of the Jerome held the first of Thompson's two funeral services.

8. Owl Farm aka "fortified compound"

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1278 Woody Creek Road
Snowmass, CO 81654

After renting a home nearby, Hunter used a royalty check from sales of Hells Angels to put a down payment on Owl Farm, where Thompson would live until committing suicide with a gun there in 2005. The "war room" is where Thompson wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a backyard firing range was a prominent amenity, and the home was the stage for the multi-day drug binges Thompson was famous for. Six months after his death, a second funeral was held on the property during which Thompson's ashes where shot from a cannon mounted on the top of a 150-foot sculpture of the signature fist holding a peyote flower - a symbol of freak power. Johnny Depp paid for the affair, while 280 people, including Senators John Kerry and George McGovern and a host of celebrities, attended. Hunter's wife, Anita Thompson, still lives at Owl Farm.

9. Gonzo Museum

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521 East Hyman Avenue
Aspen, CO 81611
(785) 979-2516
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The Gonzo Gallery & Museum, curated by Daniel Joseph Watkins, features "political posters by activist Thomas W. Benton, shotgun artwork by journalist Hunter S. Thompson, and signed prints by the illustrator Ralph Steadman." It also features a series of posters from Thompson's 1970 campaign for Sheriff. It's next door to Little Annie's, a relatively cheap local eatery that would be one of the few Thompson might approve of in downtown Aspen.

10. The Hunter S. Thompson Shrine

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Elk Camp Road, White River National Forest
Snowmass Village, CO 81611

Dozens of shrines exist on all four mountains to counter-culture heroes like Bob Marley and Jimmy Hendrix, and Hunter got his own on Snowmass in 2006 after his death. Hidden in the woods off the Gunner's View trail and accessed by the Elk Camp quad, the shrine contains a US and Tibetan flags, a selection of his writings in a basket, a bunch of Rolling Stones issues with Hunter on the cover, and a bottle of the author's favorite whiskey - Chivas Regal.

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1. Aspen Mountain

718 South Galena Street, White River National Forest, Aspen, CO 81611

Thompson wasn't a skier, and largely came to Aspen due to the concentration of "intellectual drop-outs," its wild reputation, and its natural beauty. He did, however, ski once on Aspen Mountain ("none of this 'go to Buttermilk [the beginners' resort] and learn' nonsense"), and took three consecutive 40 mph crashes before hanging it up for good.

718 South Galena Street, White River National Forest
Aspen, CO 81611

2. J-Bar at Hotel Jerome

330 East Main Street, Aspen, CO 81611

The J Bar served as Thompson's de facto office for his time in Aspen, and he would often eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner there after picking up his mail and sorting it into three piles for bills, fan mails, and periodicals. The former bartender, Tim Mooney, would offer serve as a buffer between Thompson and visiting fans, even if their name was Jack Nicholson. Thompson also nearly killed Bill Murray in the hotel pool after duct-taping him to a lounge chair and throwing him in.

330 East Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611

3. Pitkin County Sheriff's Office

506 East Main Street, Aspen, CO 81611

Thompson's most famous escapade in Aspen was his 1970 campaign for Aspen Sheriff on the "Freak Power" ticket. Thompson's platform consisted of legalizing drugs of all kinds (but for personal consumption only), the installation of a set of stocks on the lawn of the Sheriff's office to punish dishonest dope dealers, and changing the name of Aspen to Fat City. His idea there was that that "would prevent greed heads, land rapers, and other human jackals from capitalizing on the name 'Aspen'. These swine should be f**ked, broken, and driven across the land." He'd no doubt appreciate the irony of being written about on a real estate site today. Despite a great anti-Nixon campaign video and a great moment of theatrics in which he shaved his head so he could call the Republican incumbent "my long-haired opponent," Thompson narrowly lost thanks to a coalition of opposing voters and his own Rolling Stones article that discussed his strategy and galvanized his opposition.

506 East Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611

4. Main Street

201 East Main Street, Aspen, CO 81611

As part of Hunter's 1970 campaign for Aspen Sherriff, he promised to "rip up all city streets with jackhammers and sod the streets at once" if he were elected.

201 East Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611

5. Poppies Bistro Cafe

834 West Hallam Street, Aspen, CO 81611

The now-defunct West End eatery in a purple Victorian was a favorite of Hunter and his wife Anita, as well as Ed Bradley. The caesar salad, shrimp appetizer, and lamb were all renowned. Owner Michael Hull was one of the few restauranteurs able to keep a join in Aspen open for longer than 30 years, and its unique vibe and separation from downtown gave it a real connection to old Aspen.

834 West Hallam Street
Aspen, CO 81611

6. Woody Creek Tavern

2858 Upper River Road, Woody Creek, CO 81656

The decidedly un-Aspen Woody Creek Tavern sits next to a trailer park, far removed from the glitz and glamour of downtown. The landmark restaurant and bar has eccentric waitstaff, gobs of pictures and paraphernalia on the walls, and jaded locals sipping beer on the porch that give it a wild air. Its margaritas are deadly, and Hunter would bartend from time to time in a wig for fun. Cash only.

2858 Upper River Road
Woody Creek, CO 81656

7. Hotel Jerome's Grand Ballroom

330 East Main Street, Aspen, CO 81611

The Grand Ballroom of the Jerome held the first of Thompson's two funeral services.

330 East Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611

8. Owl Farm aka "fortified compound"

1278 Woody Creek Road, Snowmass, CO 81654

After renting a home nearby, Hunter used a royalty check from sales of Hells Angels to put a down payment on Owl Farm, where Thompson would live until committing suicide with a gun there in 2005. The "war room" is where Thompson wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a backyard firing range was a prominent amenity, and the home was the stage for the multi-day drug binges Thompson was famous for. Six months after his death, a second funeral was held on the property during which Thompson's ashes where shot from a cannon mounted on the top of a 150-foot sculpture of the signature fist holding a peyote flower - a symbol of freak power. Johnny Depp paid for the affair, while 280 people, including Senators John Kerry and George McGovern and a host of celebrities, attended. Hunter's wife, Anita Thompson, still lives at Owl Farm.

1278 Woody Creek Road
Snowmass, CO 81654

9. Gonzo Museum

521 East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO 81611

The Gonzo Gallery & Museum, curated by Daniel Joseph Watkins, features "political posters by activist Thomas W. Benton, shotgun artwork by journalist Hunter S. Thompson, and signed prints by the illustrator Ralph Steadman." It also features a series of posters from Thompson's 1970 campaign for Sheriff. It's next door to Little Annie's, a relatively cheap local eatery that would be one of the few Thompson might approve of in downtown Aspen.

521 East Hyman Avenue
Aspen, CO 81611

10. The Hunter S. Thompson Shrine

Elk Camp Road, White River National Forest, Snowmass Village, CO 81611

Dozens of shrines exist on all four mountains to counter-culture heroes like Bob Marley and Jimmy Hendrix, and Hunter got his own on Snowmass in 2006 after his death. Hidden in the woods off the Gunner's View trail and accessed by the Elk Camp quad, the shrine contains a US and Tibetan flags, a selection of his writings in a basket, a bunch of Rolling Stones issues with Hunter on the cover, and a bottle of the author's favorite whiskey - Chivas Regal.

Elk Camp Road, White River National Forest
Snowmass Village, CO 81611