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July 17, 2003
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Aspen's history: 25/50/100 years ago

July 1903

The town's name was in the news 100 years ago thanks to a letter to the editor, "which has doubtless the right of public perusal."

Dear Sir, Do you think that the people of Aspen could be induced to change the name of the place from Aspen to Philanthropy? If they do this, we will buy a site there and locate the International Political Socialists School and the World's Diathetic Institute, the two proposed world philanthropic institutions, there. ...

The Times does not believe that the people of Aspen care to change the name of the city to Philanthropy, no matter how excellent the word may be. It is easy enough at times to chance the name of the town when it is new, when few people have heard of it. But after a name has become a byword in the mouths of the people, when everybody in the country is familiar with it and identifies certain characteristics by the name, it is a hard proposition. ...

When you say "Aspen" anywhere in the states people know that you refer to a great silver camp and the prettiest town in the Rocky Mountains. ...

Philanthropy as the name of a city sounds singularly like a cross roads station in Arkansas.

How much is that puppy in the window?

The window display displayed by Al Lamb yesterday was a beauty. In the window there were six little puppies, and the legend above them read "Tip's Grandpups." Everybody will remember old Tip, and everybody seemed to be delighted to see his grandchildren. Some of the ladies went so far as to kiss the little dogs, and they were certainly cute enough.

Were these avid anglers just telling fish tales or did they, in fact, clear Willow lake of lunkers?

George Besser, Jack Grant, Dan Sullivan and Harry Brown will leave for Willow lake this morning. When they return it will be of no use to fish for the big ones there. The jolly crowd that will come back this evening will have all the trout worth speaking about.

Emergency calls on Smuggler these days come in the form of injured hikers and fallen bikers. In 1903, another mode of transport was to blame. The Times wrote,

Tom Walsh, a young man of about fifteen years, sustained a very serious accident yesterday afternoon at about 3:30. He was riding a burro near the Smuggler. The animal threw him and he fell into an old and disused shaft about 65 feet deep. He was taken out with an arm broken. The physician in attendance fears that he has suffered internal injuries.

July 1953

Today there is nothing on the market for less than $100,000, let alone less than $50,000. Fifty years ago, you could have bought ...

1700 acres deeded, 200 acres irrigated and farmed. Cut 400 tons hay and 3,000 bu. grain last year. 350 head permit, mostly on domain, also spring and fall permit on domain. 7 room modern home. Price $80,000.00 which includes machinery. Terms.

280 acres, 160 irrigated and farmed, 4 bedroom modern home. One of the good places in Carbondale district. Price $45,000.00. 29% down.

The Aspen Golf Club was just the dream of a few duffers in 1953.

There has been two previous meetings of a group of enthusiastic men regarding the possibility of forming an Aspen Golf Club. A 360-acre tract of land convenient to the town was singled out as a good possible location. ...

The group feels that a good golf course would be a tremendous asset to the economics of the town.

Volunteers have long been to thank for the creation and maintenance of our local trails. In 1953, the Times noted,

A group of boys, the Silver Acres Group, from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are working to improve the Pierre Lake Basin Trail.

The boys have completed the trail from a point about four miles up Snowmass Trail to above the falls on Bear Creek, from there the trail is indicated by cairns and blazes.

The U.S. Forest Service trained the boys and supplied tools and other equipment. The purpose of the project is to give boys experience in forest work and an opportunity to contribute to the improvement of the National Forests.

The historic Wheeler Opera House has been home to numerous businesses over the years, including the library.

The Pitkin County Library in the Wheeler Opera House will be open Wednesday evenings from 7:00 till 9:00 p.m. for the summer season and for the convenience of local residents and Institute students.

July 1978

Not much has changed at the Aspen Chapel, as evidenced by this article,

Gregg Anderson was recently named as the first fulltime minister of the Interfaith Prince of Peace Chapel, just west of Aspen.

Gregg will be chaplain and counselor. His wife, Kay, will be director. The Andersons this week announced plans to greatly expand the use of the facility. ...

The first aim of the Andersons in expanding use of the chapel will be simply to keep it open.

Gregg Anderson said, "We want to give the service a character that can be appreciated no matter what a person's religious background may be, or even if there is no religious background."

Another Aspen institution that has changed little over the years ...

Hidden in tall trees in Aspen's west end, just over the fence from the home of Elizabeth Paepcke, the Given Institute of Pathobiology bustles with activity each July through September although many Aspenites don't even know it's there.

In fact, the Given Institute is functioning on the leading edge of medical research and teaching.

The first pathobiology conference was held in Aspen in 1964, at the elementary school. Every summer since then, a pathobiology conference has been held in Aspen, gradually increasing from two to 10 weeks in length. In 1972, the permanent Institute was built under the auspices of the University of Colorado.

Buried in the pages of The Aspen Times was the following "warning,"

Smoking has profound effects upon the health status of both smokers and non-smokers, consequences that are entirely preventable.

A dry Aspen Mountain at Christmas was to be a thing of the past, thanks to a vote by the county commissioners.

Pitkin County commissioners Monday approved a special review application by the Aspen Skiing Corp. for installation of a snowmaking system at the base of Aspen Mountain.

Commissioners insisted, however, on an annual review of the effect of the installation on city and county residents. That insistence caused Tom Richardson, corporation vice president, to threaten withdrawal of the application, but he finally agreed to go along.

The system will cover 30 acres initially, all of Little Nell. There is a possibility that in the future it will cover 60 more acres, reaching the top of Spar Gulch on one side and to the top of Lift 1A on the other, thereby improving two avenues off the mountain.

"Trolley cars are nostalgic" read the first line of an article in the Times 25 years ago (or was that just this past year?),

Reminiscent of the Gay 90s in America ... they were also a part of the Aspen scene during the silver boom days of the 1890s.

Now a group of Aspenites want to bring the trolleys back.

Organized under the name of The Aspen Street Railway Company, the group has its first trolley car on display this summer at the edge of Rubey Park on Galena Street. ...

Members of the trolley car company are Jon Busch, George Parry, Gaard Moses, Roger Hunt, Jim Breasted, and Bob Grueter.

The men have purchased one trolley car and have a purchase option on 10 more from the city of Lisbon in Portugal.

Busch said the trolley car company would like to run the trolley route from the new Trueman shopping center up Galena Street to Rubey Park, linking the two major parking areas to the businesses in between. "A cross-town shuttle," he said.

It's now an Aspen trademark. In 1978, though, "the fountain" was still a hot topic for local lawmakers. The Times wrote,

A new fountain for the Aspen Mall may add vertically moving water to the horizontally flowing streams in the mall by the end of this summer as the result of a county vote this week appropriating $5,600 in cash and $3,000 in city labor for the construction of the fountain, proposed by Travis Fulton and Nick DeWolf. ...

The planned fountain will create a 25-foot-long wall of water, spouting up to 10 feet high, at the intersection of the Mill and Hyman malls.


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The Aspen Times Updated Jul 17, 2003 11:59AM Published Jul 17, 2003 11:59AM Copyright 2003 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.