25-50-100 years ago
Copies of The Aspen Times from October 1903 until 1911 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. To continue our journalistic history of Aspen, we include excerpts from The Aspen Democrat, the Times’ competitor 100 years ago.President Teddy Roosevelt, whose mutual love affair with newspaper reporters is well documented, traveled to Colorado’s Western Slope for bear 100 years ago. The paper ran daily front-page reports.Mr. Roosevelt is a guest of Colorado today, and will be a guest for some weeks, during which he will find new health and strength in the mountains of the western part of the state. …Mr. Roosevelt is the first president for many years physically able to indulge in the arduous work of hunting big game and tramping the steep and lung-testing cliffs of the Rockies. He is the first president for many years with the physical endowment which a president should have to bear the work of the office as it has increased. The headquarters of the United States government have been established at the Hotel Colorado [see photo] in Glenwood Springs and will remain there for an indefinite period. There is every reason to believe that the headquarters will be maintained there until President Roosevelt concludes his lion and bear hunt in the mountains to the west and south of Glenwood Springs. A slight accident occurred to President Roosevelt’s train this morning near Basalt, when a rock came down from above and slid to the edge of the track, knocking a cap off the rear truck of one of the cars. The accident did not cause the train to stop.With characteristic enthusiasm President Roosevelt lost no time upon his arrival in New Castle in getting started. When he arrived at 7:45 this morning he got up from the breakfast table to make a short speech and he made it bareheaded. A thousand people were at the depot to meet the train, cowboys, miners, ranchmen, a characteristic western crowd and the president met them in a characteristic way. A canvas hunting coat, checked flannel shirt, a red bandana handkerchief around his throat, a cowboy hat, corduroy trousers tucked in his hunting shoes.
The people of the Western Slope have a long history as activists in responding to federal legislation regarding their land and resources. But, oh my, what a different position was held 100 years ago! The committee, named at the forest reserve mass meeting Saturday, met yesterday and adopted the following resolution addressed to the secretaries of agriculture and the interior:Whereas, It comes to the citizens of Pitkin and Eagle counties that the departments of the interior and agriculture are seriously considering the advisability of setting Pitkin and Eagle counties aside as a timber reserve, to be known as The Holy Cross Forest Reserve; …[T]here is now in Pitkin county alone, at least one billion feet of mature timber which could be cut from out daily growing forests without injury to the forests or the watersheds;That if this timber is properly cut and handled would be ample for ALL mining, agricultural and domestic purposes for the next 100 years, and that with judicious handling, the forests of that day will be in better condition than ours of today.That there is no conflict between the timber and grazing interests …That the mining, agricultural and domestic interests of these counties demand that our mills be permitted to cut timber continuously;That our hills are fast reseeding themselves, therefore need but little reseeding;That in our opinion these departments could wisely permit the grazing in these counties as heretofore and under some proper restrictions permit responsible millmen to cut timber at altitudes of 8,000 feet or better;That to this end some stable arrangements be made whereby the millmen would be justified in making the expensive roads into the distant and almost inaccessible timber;That we ask a stay of action along the lines of a general reserve, from the fact that local conditions do not demand such restrictions.
The Aspen Institute campus, located in the sage meadows of the West End (see photos), announced a “body” component to complement the Aspen Idea of “Mind, Body and Spirit.”Plans were revealed last weekend for a $250,000 health center to be built in Aspen near the new Chalets at the northwest corner of town by the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies.Reports are that Artist-Designer Herbert Bayer and Fritz Benedict now are working on the plans for the center. … The “Spa” will provide organized rehabilitation and relaxation facilities under medical supervision and to attract high-level executives who are important to their companies and whose health must be guarded. …The exact site chosen is the high point above the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and Castle Creek in Hallam addition near the AIHS Chalets.The Aspen Times reported more good health news for the community in 1955: an inoculation program against a ravaging childhood disease.About 100 Aspen and Basalt children will be the beneficiaries of the new, safe and effective Salk polio vaccine that has been tested and found to be around 90 per cent effective in preventing the dread disease.Our nation and the world rejoiced Tuesday when Dr. Thomas Francis Jr. formally announced that his study of the data of last summer’s test indicated that the new vaccine developed by Jonas E. Salk was effective and that it should be used to virtually stamp out the dread killer and crippler. The immediate results of the test and study of the new vaccine will be the inoculation of all the first and second grades in the Aspen and Basalt schools by local physicians. …
While the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis is furnishing free the vaccine for the first and second grades, pharmaceutical houses have a sufficient supply on hand so that most of the other priority groups of children can be inoculated by their own private physicians.The water-content measurement of the mountain snowpack was front-page news 50 years ago, and it wasn’t good news for the dry Southwest.The water content of the snow on the Roaring Fork River drainage above Aspen is 65 per cent of the 19-year average, as of April 1, according to Forest Ranger Gay Weidenhaft.Readings taken on April 2 show that Independence Pass Tunnel has a snow depth of 45 inches with a water content of 12 inches. This is below the 1954 readings of 51.7 inches of snow and 14.8 of water. The 9-year average water content for this course is 18.4 inches of water on April 1.
Spring was late in arriving in 1980, and track practice at the high school had to adjust, according to this article.Running track isn’t always fun [see photo], but without a track to run on, it can be downright difficult, as the Aspen High School team is finding out.This winter’s bountiful snowfall has left the skiers happy, but high school runners on the road since their track is still buried.”It’s tough to get times and practice checking lanes without the track. I don’t know if we’ll get on it this year,” Dave Conarroe, coach of the men’s team says.Kathy Chaloupka, coach of the women’s team, says running on the road has forced the team to spend more time distance running and less time working at sprints, because hard workouts on pavement can cause shin splints and other stress injuries.Being a track team without a track has been particularly hard on the hurdlers and the jumpers, who need a dry takeoff and landing. The result, says Chaloupka has been some very strange practice sessions indoors.”We had one practice where the hurdlers came running into the gym from outside to do their one hurdle. It was bizarre with people running in and out of the gym from all different directions.”It was the end of an era on Aspen Mountain as skiers said “Goodbye to Gretl’s.” The paper reported,There were hugs and laughter.And now and then some tears,Tortes and strudel and whipped cream.Children zipping in and out of the crowd, giving everyone colored Easter eggs.Strawberries and champagne.Potato salad and knockwurst.Dancing in ski boots on the splintered wooden floor.Bloody Marys in the lemonade mixer.It was Gretl Uhl’s big end of the season party on Easter Sunday at her restaurant on Aspen Mountain.And this year it was also a celebration of the ending of the restaurant. …And close beneath the hugs and laughter and tears there was the sense of changes already here and changes to come.It wasn’t just the end of Gretl’s.For all around were the people who established Aspen with their hard work and are now slowly giving way.
There were more changes reported in the paper. Our neighbor to the northwest was about to get a new name. Next July 4 the town of Grand Valley will become Parachute, it was decided by the town council Monday.At their regular meeting of the trustees, who number six and a mayor, voted to accept the results of a recent vote to change the town’s name. Recently voters of Grand Valley, located roughly 20 miles from Rifle, voted for the name change by a 51-to-41 margin.
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