From the Vault: Disastrous day at Ashcroft saloon
“Ashcroft’s Disaster Sunday,” proclaimed a headline in the Aspen Daily Times on Dec. 31, 1907. “Roof of only saloon fell in with a crash and then some of the population made a hole in the debris to obtain their drinks. Crash! There was a creaking, groaning noise from above and down came the roof. Bottles and glasses were broken, whiskey and beer flowed freely through the cracks in the floor and the commotion attracted the whole town of Ashcroft. This all happened to Dan McArthur’s saloon. The snow did it. McArthur is the saloon keeper, postmaster, mayor, weather man and the large part of the population of the beautiful snow-clad city of Ashcroft. It wouldn’t take a person all day to count the buildings in Ashcroft and when the roof of one caves in it is almost like devastating the whole town. The men who were in the habit of hovering close around the smoking wood stove in McArthur’s place and taking an occasional nip over the bar will now have to whittle goods boxes in the post office building just across the street. Goodness only knows what they will do for the occasional nip over the bar. Such a disgraceful thing as ‘rushing the can’ was never heard of in Ashcroft and it would be disgraceful up there to see a man standing off in the corner somewhere in snow a waist deep with a bottle elevated to his lips. That would look like Kansas. It is said, though, that a few men crawled through an opening in the wrecked roof and when they came out they were smacking their lips. So it doesn’t matter what happens in Ashcroft a part of the population will get their regular morning’s morning. It is doubtful whether a prohibition law would have any affect up there.” The photograph above shows Dan McArthur standing with a boy and a horse in front of his Ashcroft saloon, circa 1910.
This photo and more can be found in the Aspen Historical Society archives at aspenhistory.org.