25/50/100 years ago
April 17, 2003
April 1903As Aspen’s economy continued to falter, The Times tried to find signs of a “revival” anywhere it could.The closing of gambling at Glenwood Springs will help Aspen not a little. Since the places have been closed in Aspen it has been the custom for men whose money burned holes in their pockets to drift down to Glenwood to leave it there. Now there is no reason for that. It makes no difference how they spend it – so they spend it at home. It will accomplish some good here, no matter what channel it takes.With the long-awaited state approval in place for a road up Lincoln Gulch, Times writers also enthusiastically touted that as a gold-lined opportunity for Aspen.There is a chance and a good one that Lincoln gulch will prove a veritable bonanza and a help to Aspen of almost inestimable value. That it will be a shipping district is already assured.Some of the objectors say that a town will be established up there and that Aspen will get little or no benefit. This is a mistake. A town may and doubtless will be built up there, for the miners cannot be expected to come from Lincoln gulch every night and return the distance every morning. A postoffice and a general store will be placed there. But there is no railroad there and there will hardly be one for many years to come. The ore will have to come to Aspen. It will hardly come in the form of concentrates, but even if it does there is a place here to handle it.The home of the miners’ families will naturally be in Aspen, their children will attend our school, their wives will purchase their drygoods and groceries and household needs here. The population o the town will be increased and the riches of the new district will be poured into our receptive hands.And sometimes the Times just resorted to unabashed boosterism.The payrolls in the camps are large and there is no reason for the statement that the city is going down. It is not. Aspen is in as good condition as it had been for years. The people are saving their money more than they used to do. They remember the pinching times of the panic when they had nothing and when they longed for some of the coin which they spent so recklessly in earlier days.Meanwhile, Aspen business leaders organized to promote themselves, calling to mind today’s efforts to revitalize local businesses.[T]he Commercial Club, a new organization, just gathered together … with the laudable object of developing the business and commercial interests of Aspen. The readers of The Times will recall that at divers times this paper has urged co-operation along similar lines, and has insisted that this and nothing else would redeem the camp. Unless public minded citizens take the matter in hand, any town will perish. It seems that Aspen has a number of that class and all they have needed was an organization and a leader.April 1953Under the headline “Water Forecast Well Below Normal,” The Times reported,The water content of the snow on the Roaring Fork River above Aspen is 83% of the 17-year average as of April 1, according to Forest Ranger Gay Weidenhaft. …The water supply outlook for 1953 is for much less than normal flow. Snowfall during February and March was less than usual and soils under the snow cover are dry. …Weather Bureau forecasters paint a very gloomy picture for practically all of the western United States. The April 1 forecast for the entire Colorado River drainage gives only 8,300,000 acre feet at Grand Canyon while the 10-year average gauged at that same point is 13,320,000 acre feet. …The Roaring Fork estimate at Glenwood Springs is forecast to be 740,000 acre feet while the 10-year average is 974,000 acre feet.Aspen babies benefited from a donation made in the wake of a tragic climbing accident. The Pitkin County Hospital is happy to announce that the portable baby incubator which was donated as a gift to the Aspen community by the families and friends of Gordon Schindell who lost his life on Maroon Peak and Larry Hackstaff who was seriously injured in the same accident last September has been received and installed.Judith Ringle, the school-age daughter of the Times’ editor, kept her peers abreast of all of the important happenings in the Aspen schools with a regular column, which included items like the following:The seniors returned from their trip to Santa Fe Monday morning between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Their headquarters was Santa Fe and from there they went to Los Alamos, Albuquerque, Taos, and toured Santa Fe.They left Wednesday afternoon and arrived in Santa Fe at 2:00 a.m., where they stayed at the El Fidel Hotel.Their entertainment consisted of going out to dinner, dancing, shows, touring, and shopping, of course.They all had a wonderful time, and dreaded coming back.April 1978Controversial development on Shadow Mountain came in a different form 25 years ago; now if only some of today’s public figures could come to the same admission as Gramiger.Aspen realtor Hans Gramiger admitted this week that he has been “a belligerent and controversial” figure over the years, but said he is ready to “bury the hatchet.”A six-member jury awarded Gramiger an excavation-grading permit for a proposed restaurant atop Shadow Mountain, some five years after he originally applied for it.Although the county may appeal the verdict, Gramiger is confident he can proceed with his plans. He bought the property in 1961 and spent ten years in a quiet title suit to secure ownership. …He estimated that the venture will cost some $2 million. Gramiger plans to install a cable car that will carry from 50 to 100 persons up to the peak of Shadow Mountain. The specially designed cable car, to be made in this country, needs to be of larger capacity for use during the construction phase, he said.The proposed restaurant will be placed on a shelf to be built 36 feet down from the peak and the building will face north, Gramiger said. Dining room space and a dance floor will be stepped down the steep, 45-degree slope so that each table has an unobstructed view of the lights of the town below.Unlike in 1953, local rivers were running huge.There should be plenty of water in Aspen area rivers for kayaking and rafting this summer, but Aspen Kayak School proprietor Keith Child urges boaters to exercise caution.If you had a favorite boating run last year when Colorado was plagued by drought, he says, you had better examine the entire run before you boat this year because the water is likely to be 10 times as big and heavy.Owl Creek would be a very different place today if the following development had been approved.Again Monday, a Mitchell Development Corp proposal for 1,950 units on 1,650 acres in Owl Creek was turned down by county officials.County commissioners also, more significantly, told planner Joe Porter and attorney Jim Moran, representing Mitchell, they would not entertain an amendment to the application.Mitchell originally asked for permission to rezone from AF-1 to Tourist some 170 acres for a conference center, another 60 acres for multi-family condominiums, and another 5 acres for services. Mitchell also wanted to do a 30-unit PUD housing development on some 300 acres in the southeast portion of the site. …Sam Caudill, state fish and game commissioner, said development on the Owl Creek property would be “a disaster.” The Division of Wildlife also opposes the project, Caudill said, because it is critical wildlife habitat, elk calving area, migration route and summer range.The Sierra Club also opposes the development, particularly because of water and transportation impacts.Other potential development in Snowmass was also likely to be derailed, as the adequacy of the water supply was questioned. For the continuation of the story, tune in next week. The $7 million sale of 2,900 acres of undeveloped land by the Snowmass Corp, scheduled for closing this week, threatened to collapse this week, because of questions about the water supply.A sales agreement was signed Nov 28 between Snowmass Corp, a subsidiary of Amcord, and an investment group headed by Thomas E Kuhnen of Connecticut and Snowmass, and James W Light and James Chaffin of Hilton Head, SC.Recently the Army Corp of Engineers placed a public notice in the Aspen Times announcing that the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District planned to build a concrete diversion structure on Snowmass Creek. …Jim Sanderson, attorney for the Snowmass Water & Sanitation District, told county officials at a special meeting in City Hall yesterday that the district needs the small diversion structure to meet peak demands in winter and to maintain adequate water supply for fire protection.