John Denver died in 1997 and since that time has settled quietly into a dark corner of pop culture.
Many of the younger generation don’t recall his hits — “Rocky Mountain High,” “Thank God I’m A Country Boy,” “Annie’s Song” — and only know “Leaving on a Jet Plane” from the Michael Bay film Armageddon.
This lack of familiarity has led the residents of Aspen to nix the idea of a John Denver Museum in spite of the fact that he called the community his home for many years.
The Aspen Daily News reports that community officials did not feel the museum in the singer’s honor would be popular enough to sustain itself and are instead considering other ideas.
City council members were trying to find the perfect idea for filling the Old Power House building and decided to elevate a brewery and community gathering space into the list of five finalists for the space that many thought would have gone to the singer.
While it may seem like a move that is a bit insulting to John Denver and his fans, some of the other plans for the building do intend to honor him in some way.
The Gathering Place, one of the finalists, is the creation of Paul Kienast, who said he plans to incorporate “a John Denver cafe and bookstore with a 50-person meeting space and therapeutic areas, making it a perfect home for locals and support groups,” the news site reports.
“I see this as a huge opportunity for the city and the community to make something meaningful out of this building,” Kienast said. “And create togetherness, collaboration, fostering new ideas, and reach out to people who may get left behind.”
Denver, born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., died in a plane crash 17 years ago.
Damage to his head and body made dental identification impossible, but authorities were able to determine that he was the deceased through fingerprints. He was the plane’s lone occupant.
Since that time, he’s been honored through multiple collections, including a three-disc, 90-track set entitled All of My Memories, just released in time for the holidays.
In October, he was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Still, Aspen’s city government doesn’t see those accolades translating into a popular destination. What do you think, though, readers? Should city leaders reevaluate their decision, or would a John Denver Museum truly be a bad idea?