25-50-100 Year Ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 Year Ago

compiled by John Colson

Courtesy Aspen Historical SocietyAll there was in Woody Creek in the early 1900s were ranches, rutted wagon tracks and a few hardy folk such as Len Shoemaker, erstwhile ranger for the White River National Forest and author of numerous historical books on the area. He is pictured next to the Woody Creek Ranger Station.

The judicial fallout from the attack a week earlier on T.J. Murphy, editor of The Aspen Times, made the front page of The Aspen Democrat, albeit with a rather small article and headline. Sheriff James Begley was hauled into court for allegedly clubbing Murphy over the head with his pistol during an eviction dispute.

The case of the people vs. James Begley, in which the defendant is charged with assault with a deadly weapon … was called in Justice Sanders’ court … On motion of defendant the case was taken on change of venue to Justice Porter’s [district] court. The defendant waived examination and was placed under a $500 bond for appearance at the October term of the district court.

In the same edition, D.R.C. Brown Sr. made it known that he and his institution, The Aspen State Bank, had nothing to do with the eviction dispute, despite a report in The Aspen Times that Brown’s bank was involved.

… I think it due to the public to say that neither directly nor indirectly have I or the Aspen State Bank bought or held or had or have in my possession any of the securities issued by the Aspen Times or its owners.

And the fallout from the attack continued to be felt around town, as the same edition carried the following report.

Late yesterday it was reported that a special meeting of the county commissioners would be held today at which the resignation of Sheriff Begley would be requested. The report could not be verified last evening.

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A day later, the Democrat carried an announcement that a Democrat would be running for sheriff in the upcoming election, next to announcements of Democrats bidding for other local political seats.

I am a candidate for the nomination of sheriff of Pitkin county on the Democratic ticket, and if honored by the county convention I pledge myself to conduct the duties of the office honestly, fairly, and impartially.

The above announcement was followed by a front-page prediction by the editor that “Democracy will oust all gangs” in the party’s county convention on Oct. 10.

And it is on that date that the Democrats will make history that will rebound to the good of Democracy of Pitkin County for all time to come. Some people are living in the hopes that the “gang” will control the workings of the county convention … But the hopes of these people will not be realized as the rank and file of the great Democratic party of this county are determined that the people shall rule.

A pair of leading citizens, Fred S. Cooper and Ted Cooper, took representatives of the town’s two newspapers on a car trip to Woody Creek as a way of convincing the newspapermen that the county should build a road between Aspen and Woody Creek.

The trip was taken in the interests of good roads, the objective being the possibility of establishing a road grade that would be a fitting link connecting the two ends of the proposed auto boulevard from Carbondale up the Crystal river and down Maroon creek to Aspen. With a good road from Aspen to Carbondale the circle will be complete … It was thought that the county could build a good road from here to Woody Creek, with a grade of not over four per cent in places for from $3,000 to $4,000.

Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1908 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.

A war of petitions was under way in Aspen, as opposing groups weighed in on a new rule passed by the Pitkin County Commissioners establishing a 200-foot setback for commercial buildings in certain zone districts.

In an effort to combat a mysterious petition purportedly being circulated around Aspen opposing the 200-foot setback … a second petition favoring the setback is now being passed around. [The petition opposing the setback] is apparently being circulated very surreptiously [sic], since many people have heard about it but few have seen it. It would seem that its backers offer it for signatures only to avowed zoning code opponents.

A puzzling theft was reported.

One of the county’s oddest thefts occurred this weekend, when a seeming patriot, if a slightly perverted one, made off with all the flags at the Pitkin County Airport except the American and Colorado ones. Borrowed from the Aspen Institute for use at Sunday’s [airport expansion] dedication ceremony … 12 flags from all over the world were pilfered.

The local businesses decided to take matters into their own hands in an effort to boost Aspen’s image as a great place to make movies.

In a momentous, precedent-setting step, the directors of the Chamber of Commerce voted Tuesday to send a representative to Hollywood and to form a permanent committee to entice film companies and other organization to come to Aspen to meet or work. Tuesday’s actions followed a question by Stuart Mace [about] what they planned to do to interest the Jack Rather Film Production company in coming to Aspen to shoot its new Sergeant Preston series [a popular television series about a Canadian Mountie and his dog, King] … it was pointed out that the film crew would consist of at least 60 persons and would come in November when there is little other business … the chamber directors decided to invest $200 to send Mace to California to talk to film company executives.

Unexpected shortfalls in the Pitkin County budget were threatening the existence of Aspen’s newest bureaucracy, a city-county transportation authority charged with improving and expanding bus service in Aspen and the upper valley.

There was a moment of shocked silence, broken only by a bit of nervous laughter, when County Finance Director Tom Oken announced the bad news Tuesday night at a joint meeting of the city council, county commissioners and the transportation authority board. Oken’s news … was that the city has managed to lose more than three-quarters of a million dollars in its operation of skier buses over the past five years under a contract with the Aspen Skiing Company. About $250,000 of that loss has already been covered by money from the seventh penny of sales tax, but the remaining deficit ” about $504,000 ” is considerably larger than the amount of money left in the sales tax fund.

People in Pitkin County had always figured they were smarter than the average Joe or Josephine, but now a new study gave them some official support for the idea.

That study, by the Donnelly Marketing Information Service, ranks Pitkin County as having the second-highest level of education of any place in the nation … finishing just an educated whisker ahead of Pitkin County on the schooling sweepstakes was Los Alamos County, New Mexico, an area that is home to the U.S. atomic research labs … and very little else.

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