As Toklat Gallery celebrates its 70th anniversary, Lynn Mace is honoring her family's legacy by archiving her father Stuart's vast collection of iconic Aspen photographs.
Isabel and Stuart Mace with children Lynne and Greg, 1948
Since the dawn of modern Aspen, the Mace family has been a living embodiment of the Aspen Idea in physical, artistic and spiritual pursuits.
Stuart and Isabel Mace came to Aspen from Boulder at the personal invitation of city founding father Walter Paepcke at the dawn of the town’s ski era in 1949. They opened the Toklat Wilderness Lodge and Husky Kennels in the upper reaches of the Castle Creek Valley near the ghost town of Ashcroft. There, the Maces and their five children took guests on dog-sled rides (the Maces’ huskies were made famous as stars of the 1950s television show Sergeant Preston of the Yukon) and provided guests bed and board.
Isabel and Lynne Mace, 1950
“I wanted to give my kids a place to build their mind, body, imagination and artistic sense,” Stuart told Bill Moyers in a 1974 segment of Journal.
An avid and gifted photographer, Stuart chronicled the family’s rugged life and adventures through Toklat’s evolution into a restaurant and, in the 1970s, a full-time art gallery, where he displayed and sold his photography and crafts at the remote, idyllic shop.
Toklat remained the Mace family home until 2005, when its Ashcroft site was acquired for preservation by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies—of which Stuart was a founding trustee—and the gallery moved to Basalt.
"Beaver Condo,” 1980s
Lynne Mace, 73, is the keeper of the flame for the Mace family in the Roaring Fork Valley today—running the gallery and the Mace archive. As Toklat celebrates its 70th anniversary, she is having 7,000 of her father’s photos digitized for the first time. They include iconic images of the ski resort’s earliest days and life with the dogs at Toklat. “They are a remarkable photographic history,” Lynne says. “I’m working my fingers to the bone to get them all archived.” Eventually, the images will be available for public viewing at the Aspen Historical Society, Mace says, but for now she’s utilizing them in a forthcoming book on the family’s history.
Toklat Wilderness Lodge, 1949
Family photo by Fritz Kaiser; Toklat Lodge and "Beaver Condo" photos by Stuart Mace; Isabel and Lynne Mace photo by Patrick Henry; all photos courtesy of Toklat Gallery