25-50-100 Year Ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 Year Ago

Chris Cassatt/Aspen Times fileKeith Porter, right, was led from the jail to the Pitkin County Courthouse in May 1984 for formal charging. He was initially charged with first-degree murder, felony menacing and assault in the death of Michael Hernstadt.

Roaring Fork Valley real estate has long been an attractive prospect, apparently. Under the headline: Best land in the world is in this Valley, The Aspen Democrat posted this item on May 7, 1909:Yesterday Colonel Manford W. Smith closed a $16,000 deal wherein the farm of Robert Dwyer near Emma was transferred to John Sherett and Clarence Smith and will henceforth be known as the Sherett-Smith ranch.About a year ago Mr. Sherret purchased the King ranch near Basalt, selling it shortly afterwards at a handsome profit. He then left for Nebraska expecting to locate in that state or in Kansas. He soon tired of their ways back there, however, and decided that the Roaring Fork Valley was good enough for him. So he is back to stay and is today an owner of one of the finest ranches in this valley. It comprises 242 1/2 acres and is equipped with all modern machinery and magnificent houses and barns.Baseball between valley rivals the Smugglers of Aspen and Pastimes of Glenwood Springs was apparently a happening event in the early 1900s, not to mention front-page news in The Aspen Democrat. Aspen posted a 9-8 win at home, in front of a large crowd.A great game of ball was played Sunday afternoon on the Flynn diamond between the Smuggler and Pastime teams.The Pastimes were disappointed in their battery not showing up and when they saw they had no chance of winning the game they determined if possible, to run the Smuggler boys to death, and they almost succeeded.It didnt take much to make the news in 1909, as evidenced by the snippets collected under the headline About the city. For example:Mr. Torrence who has been suffering intensely from an ulcerated tooth was better yesterday.Ed Morris, a prosperous farmer of Capitol creek, spent yesterday in the city purchasing supplies.Earl Fishel, who has been suffering from blood poisoning in his hand, will resume his position as assayer today at the Aspen sampler.(Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Societys archives. These excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.)

Open restaurants in Aspen during the offseason in 1959 were apparently in short supply, just as they are now, but the old Red Onion was offering a deal, according to an ad in The Aspen Times. The Onion, open for the offseason, offered incomparable continental cuisine, including the skiers special dinner for $1.50 and full-measure mixed drinks, the ad boasted.With Mothers Day approaching, Jordans Gun Shop in Glenwood Springs advertised a somewhat fishy gift idea for mom:Something for Mother? Need a special gift this year for that special person? Try some fishing tackle. If she fishes, new tackle is sure to please. If she doesnt, you will introduce her to hours of new pleasure.Aspen Times editor and publisher William R. Dunaway took issue with a zoning code amendment proposed by motel and lodge owners who wanted to erect directional signs to their establishments because they were located far enough from Main Street that travelers might not otherwise find them. An excerpt of a Times editorial:Is this an excuse for asking the council to weaken or perhaps kill a zoning provision which undoubtedly benefits the entire town? And this is what would result from acquiescence to this appeal, for once the standards are lowered for the lodges, the bars and restaurants would make a similar request, and rightly so because they would have as much right to the extra business as the lodges. Then, of course, the gift shops, the sports stores, the drug stores and the beauty shops, seeing their cohorts given special dispensations, would clamor for the same rightsThe result would be not only a jungle of signs, but less, rather than more, business, because it is a known fact that one sign or a few signs do serve to attract attention but many signs result in a loss of attention.

In the spring of 1984, there was speculation that now-late Judge J.E. DeVilbiss, who later served as an Aspen city councilman, may have been a target for Keith Porter, who was ultimately convicted of the second-degree murder of Michael Hernstadt and served a prison term. According to a front-page article in the May 3, 1984 edition of The Aspen Times, filed by reporter Mick Ireland (now mayor of Aspen):FBI spokesmen are not commenting on reports that accused killer Keith Porter may have been asked by his victim to kill District Court Judge J.E. DeVilbiss.Were not in position to comment on that. Thats all we can say, spokesman Don Gunnerson said Tuesday morning.Sources close to the case have told The Aspen Times that Porter has reportedly said the man he is alleged to have killed, Michael Hernstadt, offered him money to kill Hernstadts brother, Nevada state senator Bill Hernstadt, and DeVilbiss.Porter reportedly made four attempts to alert the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the offer to kill the senator.Michael Hernstadt is also reported to have wanted to have DeVilbiss killed for having taken jurisdiction in Hernstadts divorce case.Hernstadt died April 24 after Porter allegedly ambushed a car driven by Bobby Harrison in which Hernstadt was riding. Hernstadt was shot between 10 and 20 times but Harrison escaped unharmed.Lift ticket prices for the following season made news in May 1984. The Aspen Times reported:Following the lead of Aspen Highlands and other Colorado ski areas, the Aspen Skiing Company announced Tuesday it will raise the price of lift tickets at Aspen and Snowmass Mountains from $22 to $24 next year.Perhaps reflecting the drooping business at Buttermilk this past season, the ski company is only upping the price there by a buck, from $19 to $20. compiled by Janet Urquhart

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