Remembering the Past

Signed at the Time

Many drawers hold history, but several at the J-Bar truly are history.

By Rob St. Mary February 1, 2015 Published in the Midwinter/Spring 2015 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Image: Matt Suby

A pair of them, located under the spirits and libations behind the bar, bear the names of dozens of past bartenders, signed by their own hands since Thanksgiving Day 1885. The idea was for employees to “sign out” on their last day of work. But, in recent years, staffers have been invited to leave their mark if they last more than a year at the bar.

The names include the notable, the forgotten, and even a former owner, Mansor Elisha, a bartender who bought the Hotel Jerome in 1911 for $3,000 in back taxes. A mid-1980s renovation almost erased this history. J-Bar manager Ryan Sterling says the names were to be sanded off. But someone realized their value and had the drawers shellacked to seal in a time capsule carved and inked by the same hands that have served drinks at the famous Aspen watering hole for decades.

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