25-50-100 Years Ago | AspenTimes.com
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25-50-100 Years Ago

The new Lift No. 5, transporting skiers to the top of Bell Mountain, was closed for a few days in February 1958 after a chair fell off. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)
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February 1908 A letter to the editor barely contained a citizens outrage at a cost-cutting move by City Council. Editor:Aspen, the once beautiful, is in darkness. Gentlemen of the city council, what do you mean by your action in throwing our city into gloom? Do you wish to encourage crime? Must our wives and children be in constant fear of being insulted by footpads and must our citizens carry guns and do police duty?Gentlemen, do you know that every city and hamlet in the United States at this time is trying to furnish employment for their idle people by grading new streets, laying new water mains and stringing more electric wires? What is Aspen doing for her unemployed?A stranger comes with capital seeking investment. He looks about him, sees the streets in darkness, reads of our thieves and robbers, and he hikes out for some other place and will never again be seen in the Crystal City of the Rockies. Gentlemen of the city council, you have been too premature in cutting out the lights. You should first, like good citizens, cut off your own salaries, then approach the electric light company by conferring with D.R.C. Brown to see what could be done to reduce the light expense until matters adjust themselves. Then, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, the paper reported. Last evening as one of the citys prominent young men was on his way to his home in Riverside, he was startled by an order to halt as he turned the corner at the Newman residence on East Hopkins avenue. The order came from one of two men who suddenly appeared before him. In the excitement of the moment he misunderstood the order and executed a movement to the rear and doubletimed it back to town as gracefully as he could in the deep, dense darkness. Instead of making another attempt to reach his object, he bivouacked for the night in a store window with an incandescent lamp for a campfire. The people of Aspen took the matter into their own hands, the paper wrote.A petition is being circulated, and numerously signed, asking the city council to accept the proposition of the Roaring Fork Electric Light & Power company submitted at the last meeting of the city council. The proposition contemplated furnishing 51 arc lights and 38 incandescent lights in the city hall for $250 per month, a reduction of $50 per month from the old rate. Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Societys archives. These 1908 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.

February 1958 Aspens brand-new chairlift on Bell Mountain (see photo) was shut down, the paper announced.The two and a half day halt in operations was occasioned by a thorough check of lift facilities from a safety standpoint by Herron Brothers, who built and still own the lift, and Ski Corporation officials. The shutdown was called when a chair fell off the lift, which was only completed last fall. Presently, each hanger head connection, attaching the chairs to the cable, is being given close scrutiny be Herron men. The mechanisms are actually being X-rayed by the Denver lift-building firm. There were certain other features of the new lift which Ski Corporation manager Harold Rowland wanted to look over with the Herron men before the final papers, turning the lift over from Herron to the Corporation, were signed. The cost of a room in Aspen 50 years ago during high season was already out of reach for many, according to this story. A local lodge and rooming house owner was found guilty in Municipal court of violating the citys ordinance licensing and regulating hotels, motels and rooming houses and fined $45. Charges stated that when visited Feb. 3, two houses owned or leased by the defendant, Ed Brennan, had too many occupants per room and too many occupants per available bathroom.Brennan pleaded not guilty and explained that he was attempting to provide low-cost sleeping accommodations for students and other people, who might not be able to stay in town otherwise.He also stated that he considered the two houses cited in the charges as share-the-expense units rather than rooming houses. Another hotelier was in the news. Souvenir hunting guests are the bane of a lodge owners existence, but few local lodges have the trouble Guidos [see photo] had last fall.At that time, according to Guido Meyer, instead of taking an ashtray or towel as is sometimes the case, a lodger left with a double bed.This would not have been so bad, the restaurant and lodge owner added, but the guest also took the two mattresses on the bed with him when he left. February 1983 The Pitkin County commissioners had given the OK in January for helicopters to ferry skiers to the top of Highland Bowl. The Aspen Times wrote there was even more heli-skiing on the Western Slope. Aspenites no longer have to travel hundreds of miles or spend thousands of dollars for helicopter skiing; they can now make reservations in Aspen for skiing on the high alpine slopes above Marble.Colorado First Tracks announced this week that regular flights are now available to serve that region. Headquarters for the helicopter service is in the Beaver Lake Lodge in Marble, and a high altitude Lama copter has been leased to handle Marble area flights, the company stated. It takes seven skiers, plus guide.

Also in use for flights in the Crested Butte area is a Hughes 500D helicopter, which can handle groups of five plus guide. Covered by the permit is over 52 square miles of high alpine powder-snow terrain, which makes the service the states largest ski area, the company maintains. [Guide Craig] Hall told The Aspen Times this week that the terrain above Marble has a different snow climate than Crested Butte or Aspen and has been receiving about twice as much snow. Cost for the day of helicopter skiing is $245 and the Aspen Touring Center will try to make up groups of seven. Vertical drop for the slopes above Marble served by Colorado First Tracks varies from 2,400 to 4,000 feet, Hall explained, and the number of runs obtained in a day varies with snow conditions, weather and ability of the group. compiled by Sara Garton


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