25-50-100 Years Ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 Years Ago

Compiled by John Colson

Courtesy Aspen Historical SocietyBack in the 1950s, Aspen had plenty of service stations, such as Waterman's Phillips 66 on Seventh Street (the main building later became the core of the Agate Lodge complex). Because of the abundance of gas stations, the City Council denied a proposal to build yet another on Main Street.

When William Jennings Bryan accepted, for the third time, the nomination as Democratic candidate for the U.S. presidency, Editor “Cap” Dailey filled the front page of The Aspen Democrat with Bryan’s acceptance speech, along with some thinly veiled supporting prose in support of the Bryan ticket.

Hurling defiance at the predatory interests, he declared that the only hope for the nation is to give back to the voters the power of administering the government. To this end he declared in favor of popular election of senators [senators were elected or appointed by the state legislatures until passage of the 17th Amendment in 1911/1912]. … Mr. Bryan pointed out that every reform measure introduced in Congress by either party in recent years has met with stubborn resistance in the Senate, and drew the deduction that that body has ceased to represent the people and is now working in the interests of corporate wealth and special privileges.

Summers seemed filled with civic events of one kind or another, and The Aspen Democrat boosted them all with equal fervor.

Rain or shine, but shine it should, and probably will, this is Farmer’s Picnic Day at Hallam Lake. The State Agricultural College workers arrived on last night’s Midland and busy hands are putting the pavilion in first-class order so in case of rain all may have a right jolly day indoors. … It’s your property, go and see it, and you’ll like it the better and give the urchins an outing on their own picnic grounds.

Reports were gleeful that coal and iron magnate John C. Osgood, owner of the mines and the town of Redstone, would soon be opening up a marble quarrying operation in the same locale.

According to the report he will expend one million dollars in equipping the quarries with an enormous power plant and will build one of the largest marble mills in the world.

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At the same time, the paper reported that one of the proprietors of the Yule Quarry, in Marble, might be doing a little business in Aspen.

J.F. Manning, one of the owners of the marble quarries at Marble, Colorado, was an arrival on yesterday’s Grande, and came to examine the sand banks of Aspen [at] the Hallam Lake sand banks [and] the Nellie Bird Ranch. They drove around the city to see the town and left last evening for Marble without accomplishing anything. If the deal had gone through it would have furnished employment to a number of men. The sand was needed in the cutting and polishing of marble.

A couple of days later, the paper published a report that a big sandy deal was, indeed, done.

Yesterday a deal was closed with Nellie Bird for all the sand on her ranch, located on the Roaring Fork. Shipment of the sand will begin in a week or ten days when four teams will be employed hauling sand to the cars on the switch near Ute Cemetery.

The town’s sole performance and movie venue, the Wheeler Opera House, had been showing only a couple of films a night, but the fare suddenly increased to four offerings per night, and the program was changing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The program in early August included:

“The Blind Boy;” Illustrated song ” “CHILDHOOD” with Walter Jenkinson, soloist; “It Smells of Smoke” and “A Boarding House Acquaintances.” Doors opened at 8 p.m., performances began at 8:30, and admission was ten cents.

After several weeks of being closed, the Hotel Jerome was to be reopened under new management.

Yesterday arrangements were made for the reopening of the Hotel Jerome under the able management of Mr. and Mrs. George Folsom and Mrs. Combs. Today the complete renovation of the house will begin and no pains will be spared to make it again the best and most up-to-date hostelry on the Western Slope. … Since the shut-down our people have been at a loss for a place to meet where matters for the benefit of our community could be talked over. The reopening of the Jerome will … increase the confidence of the people that the conditions will soon right themselves and travelers will no longer be able to say that Aspen is going down.

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

Even a decade after its rebirth as an international ski resort, emerging from the long decline of the Quiet Years, Aspen still was a small enough town that the plans of the previous year’s graduating class could be contained in one short article in The Aspen Times. A sampling:

Plans of the 19 graduated seniors of the high school for this fall range from being an M.P. in the army to working in a father’s business to studying to be a registered nurse to entering college to work on a degree in psychology, an Aspen Times poll revealed this week. Bert Anderson is headed for Western State College in Gunnison … The Army M.P. is Dick Blanning … Father Leroy Briggs is employing son Leroy in his ski rental shop … Joanne Cowling will study at Blair Business College in Colorado Springs … M.J. Elisha will study preforestry at Colorado University in the College of Arts and Sciences … Dan Maddalone hopes to go to the University of Alaska in Fairbanks [if] he is awarded a skiing scholarship …the psychology major in the group is Fleeta Rowland, who heads for Cotty College in Missouri …

An incident involving a local celebrity’s hot rod gave an entirely new meaning to the term “joy riding.”

A red Corvette belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Fred Iselin, which was stolen Monday evening at approximately 9:30 p.m., was recovered the same night in Salida, according to Sheriff Loraine Herwick. The flashy automobile was filched while Iselin was in the Opera House attending the MAA Monday night film. … The sheriff’s office in Salida picked up the car and the 15-year-old Aspen boy who stole it. … No formal charge has been filed against him.

Aspen’s board of adjustment decided against making room for another gas station on Main Street, and The Aspen Times reported it as a reaffirmation of local zoning philosophies.

Local zoning was again upheld here last Friday … when the Board of Adjustment … refused a petition requesting a change of status for four Main Street lots for the purpose of constructing a gas station. … Among those [at the public hearing] opposing the measure … were several people with property in the immediate vicinity, [including] Mrs. Julie Stapleton, Hod Nicholson, Mrs. Elizabeth Magee, Norris Taylor, Clyde Bowlby, Lawrence Elisha, Mrs. Wm. James and Tom Haenly.

One of the Aspen School District’s most popular programs, and one that often has been held up as an example of the district’s progressive approach to education, came under fire.

Although the majority of students and teachers say the Experiential Ed program [in which students take a week away from Aspen to learn about the wider world] … is “the greatest,” there are some parents who are thinking it might just be a glorified vacation and question whether Aspen High should be in the travel agency business. … Members of the school board hope that members of the community will attend [a public hearing about the concerns] and voice their opinions.

From its inception, the Aspen Airport Business Center was the subject of numerous restrictions imposed by Pitkin County, including a prohibition against including a liquor store in the mixture of businesses. But that was about to change.

A liquor store may be added to the retail roster at the ABC sometime in the near future as a result of a zoning code amendment which received preliminary approval from the county commissioners. … Liquor stores at the business center have been rejected in the past … as a part of [the county’s] efforts to keep that area from turning into a retail shopping center. [A prospective store owner argued] that a liquor store should properly be included in the limited list … allowed. Planner Richard Grice suggested that “the market” for retail stores should be allowed to determine what businesses exist in the business center.

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