25-50-100 Years Ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 Years Ago

Fortunately, the State Bank of Aspen (above) was still open for business in March 1908, when the bank examiner closed the doors of the People's National Bank.(Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

The People’s National Bank of Aspen did not open its doors yesterday.

On Sunday Bank Examiner George W. Gooddell arrived in this city and informed the directors that it would be necessary for them to make certain guarantees or he would not permit the bank to open Monday morning. …

This is a most regrettable affair and many of our most prominent business people believe a mistake has been made, that the action of the examiner was entirely uncalled for as, in addition to the guarantee offered by the stockholders, there is sufficient cash now in the vault to pay over 50 percent of the deposits, and we venture the assertion there isn’t any other bank in the country that can show a better standing. …

Plans are now under way for a complete reorganization of the bank on a safe and permanent basis. …

There is something wrong when a bank examiner or any other government official is permitted to come into Aspen and order the closing down of an institution without giving the owners a chance “to make good,” or if they do make good to close them anyway ” which would seem to be the case with the People’s National Bank. …

But don’t become excited, it will come out right!

There is no reason for the people of Aspen to become scared and stampede on account of the closing of one of our banks yesterday. The State bank [see photo] is prepared to pay dollar for dollar on all its deposits.

This bank, under the name of the First National bank, was instituted 21 years ago and has withstood three panics, and during the entire period has been conducted under the presidency of D.H. Moffat of Denver. … It is known that in former times of financial stringency when it was thought a run might be made on the bank, currency has been sent in by special train to be on hand in case it should be needed.

Mr. John Q. Davidson was put off his little ranch below the bridge, but which is located on land owned by the Colorado Midland company and which is now under lease to Tagert and Teuscher.

These gentlemen are raising grain and potatoes on a large scale on land practically surrounding the Davidson ranch, and he would not have been molested had he been considerate enough to have shut his gate thus prohibiting his stock [see photo] from roaming at will over the grain fields. This was the trouble last summer, and many times were Mr. Davidson’s cattle driven out of the grain fields thus doing much damage.

March 1958

Writer Marshall Sprague filed a dispatch from Aspen for The New York Times. The Aspen Times reprinted the story, describing a town beginning to take charge.

After three years of toil and vigilance, a group of citizens from this Elk Mountain community have achieved what in America could be regarded as a miracle. They have virtually eliminated advertising signs from the 90 miles of highway serving Aspen and have set up rules which govern the character of 90 percent of the signs in the town itself.

In 1955, the winter skier or summer tourist approaching Aspen on State Route 82 had his attention divided between the landscape and 51 assorted billboards extolling beer, gas stations, restaurants, motels and bars. …

It pained [the small anti-sign group] deeply that Aspen’s piquant architecture ” part Colorado Victorian and part Swiss chalet ” had to compete with blobs of commercial come-on. They considered it undemocratic and poor organization that 51 bill boards obstructed some of the world’s loveliest views, including Independence Pass, Pyramid Peak, the Smuggler, Red Mountain and the bejeweled waters of the Roaring Fork.

One day they heard that someone planned to put an 18-foot-high wooden cowboy on skis near the town entrance. And that was the last straw.

The trigger man was probably Fred Glidden (Luke Short), western story writer, who had struggled with Aspen’s problems for years as a member of the City Council. … [He learned] that Colorado law, like the law of many other states, authorizes county commissioners and city councils to appoint planning commissioners and boards of adjustments with power to control all building, including signs, through zoning and public hearings.

March 1982

The Times announced an autograph-signing party for two of its cartoonists (see photo) who are remain two of its most popular cartoonists today!

The Unicorn Gallery will host an autograph party from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 18, for editorial cartoonists Mike Peters and Chris Cassatt, in celebration of the publication of their new books.

Cassatt’s first book, “Sal A Mander, The Electable Lizard,” is a collection of strips covering the political career of the lovable lizard Cassatt had created for The Aspen Times.

Peters had produced three books, but his latest, “Win One for the Geezer,” is the first to be distributed nationwide. …

“I think the only reason a cartoonist does books is to be able to give them to friends to say, “This is what I did for the past three years, it’s my best stuff,” Peters said. …

Cassatt’s book dates back to 1976 when Sal ran for Pitkin County sheriff. The fictitious lizard, backed by the equally fictitious Guns and Drugs Party, ran as a write-in candidate and collected 42 votes and a lot of press attention.

The next year Sal ran for mayor of the city of Aspen. He even filed a nominating petition, but election officials denied him a place on the ballot on the grounds that he wasn’t a real person. After that election, Cassatt legally changed his name to Sal A Mander to insure that Sal could qualify for the ballot.

Then the fun really began in 1978. Sal ran for governor on the Newest Party ticket, an event that caught the attention of the national media. He won 2,453 votes to place fifth in a six-way race. …

In “Win One for the Geezer,” Peters skewers presidents from Nikon and Ford to Carter and Regain. He also takes on such deadly serious issues as nuclear energy, acid rain, air pollution, CIA activities, Vietnam, abortion, and the war in Ireland, El Salvador, the Iranian hostage situation. …

Gary Trudeau, creator of “Doonesbury,” calls Peters the “Peter Pan of the cartooning world.”

– compiled by Sara Garton