25-50-100 Years Ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 Years Ago

The Fourth of July in Aspen at the turn-of-the-century and early 1900s was a town-wide celebration, as seen in this photo circa 1920.(Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

While Aspen was still struggling to maintain its luster as a silver mining boom town, following the collapse of silver prices in the 1890s and the subsequent decline of Aspen’s economy, all holidays were viewed as an opportunity to put the town’s best foot forward. And the Fourth of July was no exception, as can be seen by the exuberant front-page rundown of the celebration’s schedule, being the culmination of weeks of constant articles on the subject.

As the sun peeps over Smuggler Mountain the morning of the Fourth, the light artillery brigade will fire the national salute and from that time fun will run riot in the Greatest Mining Camp on Earth …

The Leadville and Aspen ball teams and boosters from both camps will then parade through the principal streets of the city concluding … at the Jerome where the parade will disband and scatter in all directions …

Promptly at 1:30 in the afternoon the ball game between the Leadville Columbines and the Aspen Blue Stockings will start …

At the conclusion of [the ball game] the place of attractions will be at [Hallam Lake] where the Eagles will celebrate by holding their annual patriotic picnic [and] the Elks band will march from the Fair Grounds direct to the lake and will give a concert down at the lake as a starter.

From this time on the Eagles will see that you are properly entertained until 12 o’clock at night…

Of course, while the Fourth of July took center stage, other matters continued to make the front page, including this item of deep interest to anglers locally and abroad.

Elsewhere in this issue will be seen a notice published by Frank Warren stating there will be no fishing in his trout lake [located high atop Smuggler Mountain] this summer.

That settles it. There will be snap for the anglers who are not much with the fly ” and we had so hoped of being able to catch a few big ones this summer.

The next summer Frank says there will be something doing.

The paper printed a letter to the editor by an unidentified “Taxpayer,” complaining that the county road crews were wasting public funds by traveling to and from their work site, “about 10 miles from town.” The wages lost on that round trip, which the complainant claimed took nearly two hours, could be saved if the men simply established a camp near the work site and stayed there until they were finished. The next day the editor took up the cause.

It was current rumor that the county road gang were “masculating the linen” all day contradicting the statements made by “a taxpayer” … and incidentally “cussing” this paper. All right, gentlemen, keep on with your cussing but really, if what the taxpayer said is true that you work but four hours on the road and take four hours to drive to and from the point of work, you are the fellows who need the “cussing.”

(Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1908 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.)

Skiing may have been the economic engine driving Aspen’s rebirth as an international resort, and editor Bil Dunaway was undoubtedly a dedicated skier, but he frequently had other kinds of “driving” on his mind.

Lack of funds in the Chamber of Commerce treasury may have lost Aspen the biggest National Sports Car Rally of the year … [the] Sixth Annual Continental Divide Rally in Aspen. Although all the [chamber] directors present were in favor of having the event end in Aspen, a $700 fee was requested by the club, and it was decided that the chamber could not afford to pay this. Main reason given by the directors for voting not to bid for the rally was the poor response to their request for funds in connection with the Design Conference … from chamber members.

The paper also mentioned a matter that, while not prompting much comment at the time, would trouble Aspen increasingly in ensuing years ” the changing ownership of longtime local businesses, often going to out of town interests.

One of Aspen’s few short order cafes, Edies Cafe on Galena Street, was sold recently [to] Mr. and Mrs. James Ball, formerly of Long Beach, Calif. The restaurant was formerly owned by Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Rader, and the sale was negotiated just before Rader’s death on June 19. No changes are planned in the present operation of the cafe, Ball stated.

And, in the same edition …

Aspen’s oldest sports shop, Magnifico Sports, was sold this week [to] Mr. and Mrs. Sandy Sabbatini, from Mr. and Mrs. Gene Mason.

The first specialty ski shop in the area, Magnifico was started in the 1930s by Mike Magnifico, pioneer Aspen skier and ski club organizer.

Just as it appears now, area officials began breathing easier as dire predictions of massive and catastrophic flooding, due to deep snows in the high country, seemed to have not come to pass.

County officials are painting a much brighter picture of the flood situation this week, even though the River Run Road west of the Gerbaz Bridge is completely washed out and there have been varying degrees of damage throughout the county [and] some adventurous souls … managed to entertain themselves Saturday by kayaking and windsurfing on North Star Lake … usually known as North Star Nature Preserve. Pitkin County Environmental Coordinator Mark Fuller said Wednesday that although nobody can be sure, he expects the worst is over.

The U.S. Forest Service announced a decision that, given the current infestation of Colorado’s forests by the pine beetle, takes on a darker meaning than it may have at the time.

Pine Beetle suppression work will not be conducted in wilderness areas this year, it was announced recently by the forest service… Mountain pine beetles have been a constant problem in Summit and Eagle counties, with infestations reaching epidemic proportions, and recently beetles have been noted in eastern Pitkin County. Expenditures by the federal government to fight the beetle… was reduced this year to roughly $1 million from $2 million spent in 1982.