25-50-100 Years Ago
April 1905Copies 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.The paper continued to provide day-by-day reports of President Teddy Roosevelt’s hunting trip on Colorado’s Western Slope.At 5:00 o’clock the president was up and after taking a plunge in the East Division creek was ready for breakfast. An hour later the party was on the trail.The day was perfect. The heavy snow and rain storm of yesterday had worn itself out and the warm sun had melted almost all of the snow around the camp within an hour after sunrise.The party struck out at once across the hills in the direction of Redstone and expects to pierce into the very heart of the Huntmen’s Hills section. It is this locality the [guides] Borah and Goff have located the bears, including one monster grizzly.The next day’s report began with the dateline “Camp Roosevelt, via Courier to New Castle, Colo., April 18.”Before night another bear will probably have fallen to the hunting prowess of President Roosevelt. Already they are on track of the game and it is only a question of hours, the guides say, until he will return with the third bear on the third day of hunting.
Matters of state would not be delayed by stormy weather or a bear hunt. The paper reported,A driving rain was coming down when the party arrived [from Glenwood Springs] and left [for Camp Roosevelt] and a heavy snow is falling in the mountains. From the anxiety by Secretary Loeb to begin the six-mile ride to the president’s retreat, it is believed that he has news of grave importance to communicate to the president. He carried with him a number of documents in a messenger’s leather bag attached to straps that were thrown over his shoulder.When asked why he braved the elements for what seemed to be a mere pleasure trip, Secretary Loeb smiled and said that it was necessary for him to personally deliver the papers to the president, action on which could not be deferred for one moment. Meanwhile, back in Aspen, there was a changing of the guard as a new (Democrat!) administration took charge of city affairs. The paper jokingly reported, The stars did not tumble from their places in the moonlit sky last night. The snows did not slide from the summits of the peaks. Teddy’s hunting trip was not interfered with. Here in Aspen no buildings burned down or up. The living slept the sleep of peace, nor did the “sheeted dead squeak and glibber” in the Aspen streets.But, yet, for all that, still, nevertheless and notwithstanding, there was a change of municipal administration. Mayor Robinson stepped down and Mayor Twining stepped into his place. Aldermen Foutz, Gilbert, Mason and Stevens became plain, ordinary, everyday citizens and Aldermen O’Kane, Grover, Atkinson and Gilbert donned the municipal togas.After an assault by several Aspen men on two minor-age girls, there was a “clean sweep in the police department” by the “Citizen” (Republican) Party in the election of a new marshall and a night captain of police. The Aspen Democrat sternly admonished,
If there is not good administration of the police affairs of the city during the next two years, it will be the fault of these gentlemen. There will be no excuse for them to prove derelict to any duty. … Both know what should be done. If they do not do it, the people of this town are going to know it. The Democrat will not nag them nor “pick at them.”April 1955Cherie Gerbaz (and now Oates) won the county spelling bee 50 years ago. The paper noted several other longtime family names in the top contestants.Eight pupils from the Aspen Public School participated in the County Spelling Contest held at the Court House. Along with the pupils from Aspen, eight students from the Basalt School also entered. …Of the first five places in the contest, Aspen filled four of them. Cherie Gerbaz won the contest (she will enter the state contest in Denver); Judy Marolt, 2nd; Renate Braun 3rd; and Jeanne Willoughby, 5th. A boy from Basalt placed 4th.Aspen had its own gravel pit 50 years ago. However, reducing long hauls by heavy trucks on the highway in exchange for polluting Aspen’s air was probably not a good trade. This caption ran under a photo of a new crusher.Pat Hemann, owner and operator of Aspen Sand and Gravel business, is shown with his new crusher unit being operated at his seventeen-acre gravel pit near Hollywood campgrounds four miles above Aspen. Hemann can now furnish crushed gravel to any specifications demanded by contractors and builders.
“County Zoning Hearing Creates Much Interest” was the headline on a front-page story in 1955. “Much Interest” was measured by a very different number of citizens than the number who attend a public hearing in Aspen today.About 5 persons were in attendance at the hearing on the proposed county zoning resolution held in the Blue Lounge of the Hotel Jerome last Monday morning. Trafton Bean, who conducts a planning service for several other communities in Colorado and nearby states, conducted the hearing. After reading and explaining the proposed resolution and accompanying maps, he threw open the meeting to questions and discussion from the floor. The meeting became quite spirited and many persons entered into the discussion. Some opposition to the zoning developed from areas between Woody Creek to Basalt, with particular opposition to the 5 acres and 300 foot frontage minimum requirements for projects now developing and in the future.The classified advertisements placed by Terese David (see photo) were always humorous reading.THE OLIVETTI typewriter which a few weeks ago was practically unheard of in Aspen is now a great topic of conversation for its new owners are so proud and delighted with it, that they even take time off from talking about skiing to tell their friends about it. You will find it on sale at the Pied Piper and you are welcome to try it out. It does everything but spell correctly and being Italian one can hardly expect it to do that.April 1980
The paper reported the reaction of an Aspen business owner to a new state law.In response to the recently enacted state paraphernalia law scheduled to take effect July 1, Keith Porter this week ordered $2,000 worth of additional goods [see photo] for his shop, Dr. Feelgoods, Aspen’s only headshop.”I want to give people an opportunity to buy all the toys they want before they’re outlawed,” he said.The bill, signed into law by Governor Richard Lamm, makes possession of any device intended for processing, ingesting or transportation of illegal drugs a Class II misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $100.The law also makes it illegal to display or advertise such devices for sale.”The law effects 75-80% of my merchandise,” Porter said. Dr. Feelgoods currently offers a wide variety of vials, powder spoons, cigarette clips, bongs, pipes, mirrors, single-edged razor blades, screens, metal straws, and other paraphernalia, all of which will be illegal to buy or possess after July 1 if the law goes unchallenged.Rolling papers, incense, greeting cards and jewelry will not be affected, Porter said.A 12-year record of no injuries while riding in an Aspen school bus was broken on the slick S-curves after an April 1980 snowfall. The paper reported,At about 8 am, Aspen police Officer Joel Lapin was checking on an accident on Hallam Street when he saw a yellow school bus came around the corner heading for the middle school.Instead of continuing around the corner, it slid broadside in the road and hit a tree alongside the highway [see photo].
Lapin radioed for help, and raced to the bus where children were beginning to scream.Pulling open the doors, he saw children bleeding from inside the bus, as he later said.In total, 11 children were transported to Aspen Valley Hospital, and four others were transported in another vehicle.After cuts had been stitched up, ice applied to contusions, and comfort supplied for traumatized emotions, medics concluded that none of the children were seriously hurt, and all were released before noon.The Woody Creek Tavern will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The paper announced,Commissioners approved an application from Rocky Fork Associates, Ltd., for a license to sell beer, wine and liquor at the old Woody Creek Store.[George S.] Stranahan said the tavern will serve as a neighborhood meeting place. It will have a bulletin board, provide some food service, and welcome families.Stranahan presented a petition in support of the tavern with 197 signatures, including such diverse personalities as Wink Jaffee and Pat Fox.One board member said, “I wouldn’t have thought you could get this many people in Woody Creek to agree to anything.” …Many Woody Creek residents attended the commissioners meeting to support the application.”Let’s go have a drink,” one said, when approval came.
“Softball players strike out at city hall” was the headline for this story, After a half a year of play, and in spite of a late rally at city hall Monday night, the score still stands: fiscal conservatism five, softball two.More than 40 Aspen softball players were unable to persuade the city council to pick up the tab for field and court maintenance for city parks.The council decided last fall to allocate $18,648 in maintenance costs to organized sports in the city’s numerous recreation programs. The softball teams’ share of the $18,648 is $2,700 or $54 per team for the 50-team league.Many of the teams’ representatives and sponsors are particularly upset because that $54, along with other proposed expenditures for their program, results in a doubling of the team fee this year from $200 to $400.
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If there’s one silver lining of the 2020 hellscape for cinephiles, it’s the democratization of film festivals for the masses. So if you missed an anticipated movie at Aspen Filmfest this year, check out these film festivals out of Denver.