November 5, 2009
Mayors in Aspen often find themselves in the local headlines, but a century ago, the city’s chief elected official wasn’t just in the news. He was in jail. The Aspen-Democrat Times reported:
This morning the atmosphere seemed charged with impending events of great importance. At an early hour the peace officers of the city and county were noticed sleuthing about in gum shoes, grim determination and hard-set jaws.
They could tell the reporter nothing but that they were ordered to place Mayor Wagner behind bars at any cost. Sheriff Everett was the only officer who knew what the charge was.
The search for the mayor was kept up until 1 o’clock, when Fire Chief Wack discovered him in a retired nook in Veza’s restaurant, drowsy with that fullness and contentment that comes after enjoying a pound of limburger, etc. etc.
When it began to be noised about that the mayor was behind the bars, the unruly boys of the town formed a hallelujah parade while the department stores had to close as the clerks refused to work while Mayor Wagner remained incarcerated.
People ran wild about the streets looking for the sheriff to explain the cause for the arrest. The crowds about the city bastile made so much noise that Marshal Sanders, who had been on night shift, was awakened, and when told what was going on, a broad grin expanded his features and he went to the jail and released the mayor, explaining to the people that it was just a little joke the boys were having in honor of the mayor’s 41st birthday.
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We’re guessing an Aspen-inspired record a half-century ago did not make the Billboard charts, but according to The Aspen Times, the “Aspen Polka” was nearly ready for the turntables. The newspaper reported:
Jukeboxes around the country may soon blare out the strains of the “Aspen Polka” if teenagers “dig” a record made last week.
The 45 rpm disc was pressed by RCA Victor but will be released under the KAJ Montaphone Records label. KAJ stands for Kurt A. Jaensch, a Denver structural design engineer who has anglicized his name to Yansh.
The KAJ Montaphone label is associated with Bucher’s Yodeling School, which Yansh and his wife run. However, the song plugger told the Times that “several good musicians” are heard in the Aspen number, including Red Ingle of Capitol Records.
On the other side of the record is “Call of the Magic Mountain,” which Yansh also wrote. The disc is due for release in mid-November.
The pop tune was inspired by Aspen’s mountains, Yansh said.
Then as now, it was election time in Aspen during the first week of November, 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:
A record number of Aspen residents went to the polls Tuesday and voted by an overwhelming margin to elected a new Mayor, Michael Garrish.
Garrish received an unprecedented total of 261 votes. His opponent, incumbent A.E. Robinson, was the choice of 120 of the town’s residents in the two wards.
Elected Aldermen were F. W. (Slim) Anderson and Wolf Beyer, Ward 1, and Alfred Braun and William James in Ward 2.
Running unopposed, Dorothy Hoffman was elected City Clerk with 334 votes and Ethel Frost, City Treasurer, with 332 votes.
The Wheeler Opera House was contemplating a risque performance – actually a whole run of them – 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:
“Oh, Calcutta!” the Broadway musical that turned heads in the ’60s for its full-cast nudity, may be coming to Aspen for a winterlong run at the Wheeler Opera House.
The Wheeler board of directors now seems to be willing to reconsider its previous tentative decision to turn down an offer of the show. At a board meeting Monday, would-be producer Robert Kline made his first formal proposal to the board.
Two weeks ago, Kline inquired of Wheeler executive director Bob Murray about presenting “Oh Calcutta!” for a run of 100 nights. As of Monday, however, the number of unreserved nights this winter at the Wheeler was down to 40 to 48.
The board told Kline it would be willing to consider the show for all those dates if Kline could provide a 50 percent downpayment on the rental as a guarantee against failure for the city.
There would also probably have to be a clause in the contract to end the engagement after a week or 10 days if the show wasn’t selling.
Kline said he probably could go along with those conditions, but said he will have to study the economics of the shorter run. He said he will report back within a week.
Incumbents carried election day in Pitkin County 25 years ago. The Times reported:
Tom Blake may have put his finger on it. Land use issues carried the incumbents, fiscal matters did not.
Pitkin County voters demonstrated Tuesday their support for incumbent county commissioners seeking re-election. In two out of three races, the mandate was overwhelmingly in favor of the status quo.
Tom Blake and Bob Child soundly defeated their opponents, Russ Pielstick and Wink Jaffee. George Madsen’s winning margin over Fred Crowley was nothing to boast about.
Judging by the defeat of a tax mill levy increase and a proposed county maintenance facility, Tuesday’s election was primarily a negative reaction toward the expansion of county government and its fiscal policies. Incumbent Blake, who campaigned against the mill levy increase, won re-election by the largest margin.
– compiled by Janet Urquhart