John Donovan – the man behind the Copper Bar |

John Donovan – the man behind the Copper Bar

Dick Hauserman

During those early days, Donovan lived with Paul Testwuide over the liquor store. They had many rowdy parties on the balcony – it was a wild group. Some of the stories are hard to believe. Their parents would never have thought it of their children. But time and responsibility brought them both down to earth.

Donovan became a fixture in 1966 when he acquired the Copper Bar from Jim Slevin. In no time, it was the hangout for many of the working locals and became known as Donovan’s Copper Bar. After skiing, until it closed at 10 p.m., Donovan’s was the center for fun and gossip. It was here that the ski patrol and the ski school personnel traded stories.

Donovan became a leader in the community, too. He was ski-school supervisor and was on the Town Council for 14 years. His wife, Diana, taking after her dad, Bill Mounsey, is still active in preserving the environment. She has always been concerned about Vail and has tried to inform people about what is going to happen.

Today, looking back, Paul Testwuide says: “John Donovan epitomizes the people of Vail. He had his bar, but also helped others get started.”

Donovan owns the Honey Wagon, a leading garbage-collection company. He and Diana Donovan both have been on the Town Council and have been promoting causes for the betterment of the community for many years. The Donovans also started Clean Up Day, which occurs in April.

Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 105th installment, an excerpt from chapter 12, “The Ever-Increasing “New Locals.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.

Support Local Journalism