From the Vault: The Sick Season |

From the Vault: The Sick Season

compiled by the Aspen Historical Society
Cooper Ave. from Shadow Mountain towards Smuggler Mountain, 1900-.

“Even cats have the mumps,” proclaimed the Aspen Daily Times on Jan. 11, 1896. “Mumps, or a disease of that nature, has been prevalent in Aspen for several weeks and has attacked old as well as young people, to say nothing of the entire families of children who have suffered from its ravages. On the west side of the city scarcely a household where there are little ones has escaped. All sorts of stories are told of the experience which several old men have had with the affliction. So far as known none of the cases have had fatal termination. The most remarkable instance of the season has occurred in the family of John Thorn, ex-mail carrier, ex-Tribune circulator, later candidate for assessor and at the present time agent for a well-known sewing machine that sells well and never fails to afford the purchaser satisfaction and installment plan opportunities. John has been fully as happy since he was defeated for political office as though he had been elected. He is not a temperament that worries over trifles. Hence when all his children had the mumps at the same time his temper was as placid as the Stillwater portion of the Roaring Fork on a summer evening. The children recovered from their wrestle with the tumors of their parotid glands and of the cellular tissue surrounding them, and John thought the mumps era in his headquarters was ended. But it was not. When the children got well the household kitten was stricken with the disease. It played with the young Americans during their illness and has a fully developed case. Instances of animals contracting such diseases are rare, and this is one of the few on record. The kitten’s symptoms are all pronounced. Its jaws are swelled and it exhibits every evidence of suffering. John says he will call the attention of physicians to it. But he adds that he has had all the mumps experience this year that he cares to go through.” The image above shows Aspen in the winter, looking down Cooper Avenue, circa 1900.

This photo and more can be found in the Aspen Historical Society archives at

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