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Politics and Government

Former Aspen mayor Herman Edel dies at 95

Edel was instrumental in organizing a significant restoration of the Wheeler Opera House

The Silver Queen Gondola on Aspen Mountain in March 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Herman Edel, a former mayor of Aspen, died Friday in Ashland, Oregon. He was 95.

Edel served two terms as mayor, from 1979 to 1983, in which time he was instrumental in organizing a significant restoration of the Wheeler Opera House and led early efforts in building affordable housing, according to his son, Scott Edel.

“He loved being mayor, and he loved people,” his son recalled Monday. “He had wide areas of interest, and he loved (local politics).”

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He also was in office when Donald Trump was attempting to build a large hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain. In 2016, Edel recounted how the would-be developer offered him payola to get land-use approvals.

“I was mad at him for one, bringing in my Jewish heritage, which is none of his f—ing business and for trying to bribe me,” he told the  Aspen Public Radio.

One of the founders of the original synagogue in Aspen, then located in the Methodist Church, Edel secured its first Torah from an organization in London that rescued Torahs from the Nazis during World War II in Prague and the surrounding area. The Torah still remains part of the Aspen Jewish Congregation.

Read more on The Aspen Times.