Lounging in the 60s

Wayne Aspinall

b. April 3, 1896 - d. Oct 9, 1983


Colorado Congressman who spoke at the Beaver Meadows dedication ceremony

Date of Involvement

June 24, 1967


Congressman Wayne Aspinall was chosen to deliver the opening speech at the dedication ceremony for Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on June 24, 1967. In this speech, “Parks & People: Past, Present and Future,” Aspinall recommends that the Headquarters Building be dedicated to Enos Mills, the “Father of Rocky Mountain National Park.” In October of 1967, following the Beaver Meadows dedication ceremony, the acting superintendent requested park officials forgo naming the entire structure after Mills, but instead name the auditorium, “Mills Auditorium.” The proposed plaque text can be seen in the memo linked below.

In his speech, Aspinall also discussed the friction between conservationist goals of environmental protection and the contrasting National Park Service mission of providing “enjoyment for the people”. He effectively sums up Mission 66’s intention to accommodate the growing trend in parks visitation when he says, “The time to begin to plan [for the future] is now.” However, competing goals of conservationists and the American public would plague Mission 66 throughout its construction and beyond. A full transcription of his speech can be seen in the link below (ROMO Archives, 1967).


Aspinall studied at the University of Denver until World War I, at which point he enlisted in the war and served as a corporal staff sergeant in the Air Service of the Signal Corps. After the war, he returned to the University of Denver where he graduated in 1919. He continued his work in law and graduated from Denver Law School in 1925 and began practicing in Palisade, Colorado the same year (Colorado Encyclopedia, 2017).



A Democrat, Aspinall was elected to both the Colorado House of Representatives and the State Senate, where he served as minority and majority leader during the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1960s, Aspinall’s preference for dams and water reclamation projects would earn him criticism of the growing environmentalist movement. In the 1970s, he resumed his law practice in Palisade where he worked until his death in October 1983 (History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, 2017).

Related Primary Sources to Explore

Beaver Meadows Construction Features Report (Final Enviro Assessment Beaver Meadows)
Enos Mills Auditorium Memo (
Collection 1192 Series 2_1 Folder 317_2)
Wayne Aspinall's Dedication Speech for the Administration Building (Collection 1192 Series 002.1 folder 406 Speech)

Related Objects to Explore

Krueger Stackable Folding Chair; Oak Bench;

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