1910: Explosion at the Smuggler mine
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.It seems queer, doesn’t it, that whenever one expose is made of the selfishness and give-me-all-I-can-get policy of a servant of the people, that there is more to follow?Its a fact, dear reader; and here is another on which the commissioners, that body of which this paper has spoken so flatteringly upon diver occasions.Of course you know the county is building another bridge right close to the much-talked-of Stockman span across the Roaring Fork.The bridge now under discussion is a much-needed structure and one that is used at all times by travelers going from Pitkin to Garfield county and vice versa. This bridge is on the main county road and counting the approaches is several hundred feet in length.In the past this bridge has been washed out by the raging waters of the Roaring Fork in the sweet and gentle spring time last year being the last.Some few months ago the commissioners decided to put in a bridge that would withstand the rushing water (all same Stockman bridge) and they ordered County Surveyor John McNeill to prepare plans and specifications for such a bridge.This duty Mr. McNeill performed in his usual excellent manner and his work was accepted by the commissioners. So far, so good.(Jan. 10, 1910)Mrs. Hines of Aspen Wins $100,000 SuitOmaha, Neb., March 12, Mrs.. Mary J. Hines, of Aspen, Colorado, is $100,000 richer than she was twenty-four hours ago. A jury in the district court has returned a verdict finding that she is entitled to one-fifth of the $500,000 estate of her half brother, Joseph Confer an Omaha man who died about a yearago.There were five heirs and the jury finds that they are to share alike in the distribution of the property. Prior to the death of Joseph Condor, he executed a will bequeathing his property to the Catholic church. Subsequently he destroyed the document and the heirs asked that the estate be probated. The church claimed the property, contending that by making the will Confer intended it should go to the church.The probate court held for the heirs and the church appealed. Now the district court sustains the findings of the probate judge.The property is mostly improved farms and bonds.Mr. and Mrs. Hines are well known here. Mr. Hines, or Tom as he is more familiarly called, being one of the most sociable and plucky mining men in this district. That Tom will now prove his contentious relative to the location of rich bodies of ore, is a foregone conclusion.(March 12, 1910)Explosion and Fire at the Smuggler MineAir Receiver Blew Out and a Disastrous Fire Averted by the prompt action of WorkmenAt about 8:30 O’clock last evening the report of an explosion followed by three prolonged toots from the Smuggler whistle caused a wave of alarm to circulate in the community.Simultaneously with the explosion came a great flash of fire from the compressor room but a short distance away from the Molly Gibbon boiler and shaft houses.The trouble was caused by the blowing out of a receiver of one of the compressors. Recently considerable coal oil had been used in connection with the running of the compressor and it is thought that gas from the oil had generated in the receiver which becoming overheated, ignited the gas causing the explosion. The theory is borne out from the fact that a great sheet of flame issued from the aperture in the side of the tank setting fire to two lubricating oil tanks close by and the oil on the floor round about the compressors.The men employed in the compressor and boiler rooms quickly got out the fire hose and extinguished the blaze. Fortunately the only damage done was to the receiver.On the arrival of the chain gang the receiver was disconnected from the compressor and another coupling made so that by 3 O’clock this morning the compressor was again in commission. (April 29, 1910)
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