Pioneer Park: The Broken Hearted & the Haunted

Pioneer ParkPioneer Park 

In the late 1880’s a shoe merchant by the name of Henry Webber built Pioneer Park in Aspen, Colorado. Henry made the bulk of his money from investments he had made during the Colorado Silver Boom. This house is said to have been haunted by his late wife, whom died of a strychnine overdose after finding out that Mr. Webber had been having an affair with her niece, Julia.  Some people thought it was murder, others thought suicide. A few people thought her death was an accident since back in those days it was common to buy Strychnia as an over-the-counter drug for stress relief. Maybe she sadly took too much, trying to ease the pain of a broken heart.
A few months after Mrs. Webber passed away Henry married her niece, and within two years or so, he bought the land and built Pioneer Park/The Webber House. Despite the accusations of murder and the fact that Henry cheated on his wife and eventually married his lover after his wife’s sudden death, he was elected Mayor of Aspen. He was very popular among businessmen and miners due to his success and devotion to the town. He had built several buildings that still have his name on them to this day and had made a great impact on the town. Henry and Julia had claimed that they would often hear footsteps on the roof and in the house. They also said that the windows would open and close on their own. After Henry died in 1911 a blacksmith bought the home, and then he eventually sold it to a man named Walter Paepck, all whom made the same claims.

The house still stands in the town of Aspen today and people talk of the ghost whom sadly lingers within. Of course everyone believes the ghost is Mrs. Webber – lost and upset. Some people shrug off the rumors by saying that it’s the house making sounds after expanding from heat or a strong gush of wind opening the windows. Either way… Aspen, Colorado has a ghost story to tell, and that’s history.


Until next time…


~ William C. Raustler