The 1960s – Vail becomes a veritable "Who’s Who?’
Each director, in his own way, was strong and effective. For the most part, the men worked well together. As a group, they were more interested in making Vail a success than in making money for themselves.
The temptations, though, were numerous.
Nevertheless, they had an unwritten agreement not to speculate in real estate on their own, which kept them working together in harmony. As an example, in early 1962, John Conway called me in Cleveland and said that 320 acres just west of the Hanson Ranch were available for $141,000. Tempting as it was, I turned it down. The property is now almost entirely West Vail.
It was the mountain reigned supreme. People passing through the valley for years never realized that up beyond two unassuming ridges were the magnetic Back Bowls. Almost everyone who saw them for the first time was in awe of their tremendous size, beauty – and untracked snow.
One of the first purchases when Vail was raising the development money was the red Kristy Kat that carried prospective investors to the top after an arduous two-hour trek up the old logging road. Almost without exception, when the prospects viewed the Back Bowls, they said, “Count me in.”
Many nationally and socially important people called Vail home. Town and Country Magazine featured an article the first year the resort was opened titled “The BP of Vail.” Slim Aarons was the photographer.
Yes – the “beautiful people” were here from the start, and stories of what they did to promote Vail attracted many investors. The list was like a “Who’s Who?” in American business or society. With so many prominent names, it was understandable that magazines such as Town and Country, Sports Illustrated, Vogue and others featured stories about “The BP of Vail.”
Some of Vail’s most prominent, socialite homeowners included:
– Ann and “Moose” Taylor.
– Ted and Anne Close.
– Dick and Ginny Olson.
– Jerome and Martha Dell Lewis.
– Harold and Rosemary Sampson.
– Dick and Mary Pownall of Denver.
– John and Lupe Murchison.
– Clint and Betty Josey.
– Tom and Biddie O’Dwyer.
– Bill Ruby.
– Herb and Nancy Hunt of Dallas.
– Henry and Gracie McKnight of Minneapolis.
– Pete and Susan Parish of Kalamazoo, Mich.
– Fred and Irma Lazarus of Cincinnati.
– Morgan and Cathie Douglas of Birmingham, Mich.
– Clyde and Jean Nichols of Kansas City.
– Charley and Susie Meyer.
– Henry and Sally Wood of Lake Forest, Ill.
– Victor and Chus de la Lama of Mexico City.
– Tom and Olive Watson of Greenwich, N.Y.
– Tom and Nan Kempner.
– Tom and Elsabe Wyman.
– Frank and Angel Wyman.
– Bud and Daisy Palmer of New York.
– Stan and Dina Merrill Rumbough from the Hamptons and Palm Beach, Fla.
… just to name a few.
It was a great start, and many of these people influenced friends of theirs to invest in Vail, build homes and become involved. Vail was fortunate that it could put together such an industrious, attractive, willing-to-help group that instilled a commendable community spirit.
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 62nd installment, an excerpt from chapter 10, “The VIPs and the Notables.” 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.
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