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The original settlement in the Basalt area was Fryingpan Town, located on the south side of Colorado's Fryingpan River. The lower end of the Fryingpan Valley had been within the Ute Reservation, but was staked out with mining claims in the early 1880's, and homesteaders quickly occupied the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Fryingpan Rivers. Demand for charcoal from smelters in nearby Aspen resulted in the construction of seven kilns on the site in 1882 (one of the main reasons for the location of the site was the availability of nearby Pinion trees as fuel), and a tent settlement (complete with tent saloons and a tent-covered store) soon grew up around the kilns. Today, a stagecoach way station and the kilns are the only remnants of Fryingpan, Colorado.
With the coming of the railroad courtesy the Colorado Midland Railroad Company, the Town of Aspen Junction was formed in 1887 across the Fryingpan River from Fryingpan Town. The new town was renamed "Basalt" (after the basaltic rock formation of Black Mountain ((now known as Basalt Mountain) located to the north) in 1895, and most of the residents of Fryingpan relocated there (beats living in a tent, and the discovery of coal near Carbondale had rendered the local charcoal industry obsolete). The Town of Basalt was incorporated in the summer of 1901.
Today, Basalt is a prime tourist spot, known for its fishing in the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork Rivers and rafting, kayaking, and float trips on the Roaring Fork. Fishing and hiking in nearby White River National Forest are also popular.