25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

George Vagneur waves from a potato cultivator working the Louis Vagneur Ranch in the mid-1930s. The Aspen Democrat reported in 1908 that a potato train would be making stops in the Roaring Fork Valley. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)
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All aboard the potato train! The paper announced a new venture to aid potato farmers, who were becoming vital to the welfare of the Roaring Fork Valley.Eugene H. Grubb, member of the state board of agriculture and famous potato grower of Carbondale, Colorado, has interested Professor Cottrell of the Colorado Agricultural College in a special Potato Institute train to be run on the Denver & Rio Grande railroad in February and March of this year. The railroad authorities have agreed to run a train of four cars, stopping at all points on the line of the road in potato growing sections and at each stop giving special instructions on potato growing.With the train will be a baggage car outfitted with all special implements for the cutting, planting, cultivating, ditchers, ridgers, diggers and sorters, to show farmers the kind of tools used in the raising of potatoes.Accompanying the party on the train will be Professor Paddock Bennett, Professor Cottrell, E.R. Bliss, of Greeley, and a number of successful money-making potato growers of the north and western part of the state. Of course the redoubtable Grubb himself will be along to help spread the doctrine of successful potato growing.

But, according to the paper, hopes of another big strike would never die in the hearts of Aspens miners.While there are no new strikes to announce this morning, we have information from Tourtelotte park and the country beyond that is pleasing. Ed Turner has a good proposition on the Good Thunder in the park and will begin the shipment of ore in a few days.Col. Josiah Browns lease in the North Star in the park is a winner, and he will commence shipping on the twelfth.Perry Eddy is taking out some good ore from his lease on the Edison. He has recently put in a complete plan of machinery and from now he will be doing things.The old Mayflower will again become a shipper. The lessees, Messrs. Miller and Robbins, are breaking ore from a 3-foot pay streak, which they are storing in the drifts while waiting for the price of silver to advance a little more. They may conclude not to take out any ore until their electric hoist is in place.John Robinson has some good ore in his lease on the Lottie in Tourtelotte park.The Topliff people are taking out ore and are pushing their tunnel into the vein. Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Societys archives. These 1907 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.

The Aspen Times reported the final weekend of the holidays was a big one on Aspen Mountain.Last weekend was just about a record-breaker for the Aspen Ski School.According to co-director Fred Iselin, the school handled about 500 students both Saturday and Sunday, and it took 72 instructors to handle them.Stuart Maces renowned team of huskies from Toklat starred in televisions Sgt. Preston of the Yukon. Now they were starring in a salvage mission, The Aspen Times reported.Five men and twenty-six dogs are working this week in the high country to bring J.B. Thomas IVs $12,000 airplane out.Stuck on a ridge in upper Italian basin of Taylor Peak since Dec. 19, when it flipped over in a takeoff attempt, the plane last week was pulled down to the south side of the ridge by A.E. Bowles Snow Cat. He then abandoned the operation.Tuesday, Stuart Mace with two teams of 13 husky dogs each, two sleds, two drivers and three helpers went up to the site of the plane. By this morning they had gotten the plane to a meadow halfway down to the cirque to the road.A crew took the wings off the plane. Having filled with drifted snow, they [the wings] are four times heavier than usual and will be brought down later. Expecting to be finished by tomorrow or Saturday, Maces crew has a camp some eight miles from Toklat Lodge through deep snow, until the dog team work is finished. Helping Mace and Thomas are Toklat drivers Oliver Parlette and Kelly Hirstead, and Irv Schechter and Ken Moore went up today.

The Aspen Times gave a holiday roundup.The partys over, as they say, and the question now is did we all have a good time? The definitive answer is, well, maybe and maybe not. It appears that what could have been a bad situation because of Denvers Christmas Eve whiteout was not so bad after all. Reports indicate there were fewer people in town, but those who were here spent more because a number of businesses either held their own or exceeded last years sales figures. ACR [Aspen Chamber Resort] figures for the two-week holiday period shows that the average occupancy rate was 73 percent, that is 51 percent the first week and 90 percent the second. Last year, the average rate was 85 percent, according to ACR. From the week before Christmas to the dawning of the new year, Aspen Skiing Company was up 9 percent over last year. That the company managed to exceed last years skier totals overall prompts the belief that had the weather cooperated, the holiday season would have been one of the best.A proposed tax to finance a resort association to aggressively market Aspen was under a magnifying glass. Mayor Herman Edel said complaints had been voice to him by owners of two successful lodges who objected to being taxed in addition to the funds they already spend on promotion, to help less successful operations. Strongest objections to the proposed tax were voiced by Francis Whitaker, a former City Council member, who served two terms in the early 1970 . He said the tax would be a great burden on the small-business owner.He also objected to the compulsory nature of the proposed funding, saying it would violate the principle of separation of business from government. Whitaker also objected to the government turning over tax funds to a private organization whose directors were not elected by the people, and the tax would cause businesses to raise prices and increase the cost of living, but contribute nothing to the quality of life.compiled by Sara Garton


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