1898: Reflections and mine inspections
In celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Aspen Times, we are printing a story or two from each year the newspaper has existed – 125 historical selections in 125 days. This series is in conjunction with the Aspen Historical Society.Today business will be practically suspended in Aspen, and our people should use this rest from labor in forming new plans and resolutions for the coming year. In looking back, no doubt many mistakes may be noted. Past mistakes may be made our future guide – by keeping them in view we may avoid them. The Times has not attempted to gather statistics regarding the mining camp of Aspen for the year 1887, its production of wealth, its resources and other figures that might be gathered to make a creditable showing for it among the mining districts of the state. While Aspen has suffered in common with every silver producing section in the land, while opportunities for producing wealth has been hampered by the fight upon silver, still a look back over the year just past shows much cause for congratulations. Certainly in the year 1897 the camp has taken no step backward. Conditions over the preceding year have been improved. More tons of ore of greater value were produced in 1897 and more men have been employed than in any other year since 1892.From figures furnished by the railroads, samplers and the big producing mines, it is shown that the value of Aspen’s mineral output for 1897 has been slightly in excess of three million dollars. A careful estimate of the men employed in and about the mines of the camp places the number at about 1500. Diligent inquiry shows this to be a conservative estimate.During the year just closed things have transpired to encourage the belief that Aspen, as a mining camp, has better chance of permanency than at any time in the past few years.The erection of one large concentrating plant at a cost of many thousands of dollars by men of acknowledged business foresight, and the proposed building of one or two more in the near future means much for the permanency and prosperity of the camp.The 1000-foot extension to the great Cowenhoven tunnel with the almost certainty of its being extended 2000 feet further during the year 1898 means more than at first thought might be surmised. It will develop the great mother vein of the Aspen belt for one-half a mile along its length. Then the tunnel company is under contract to mining property owned by a wealthy London corporation. When this is reached the Badger State group of mines will be developed upon a large scale, $200,000 having been raised for that purpose.The contract made for the extension of the Newman tunnel several thousand feet under Aspen mountain and far below the lowest workings in Tourtelotte park is a big enterprise and demonstrates that men of means and business enterprise have yet an abiding faith in the future of the greatest silver mining camp on earth.The business men of Aspen are fairly prosperous. During the year there has not been a business failure of any importance. All classes of our citizens are hopeful and willing to unite to make the best of every opportunity that the year 1898 may present.
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The city of Aspen’s new Lumberyard housing project will necessitate a new traffic light on Highway 82 by Builders FirstSource and Mountain Rescue Aspen.