25-50-100 Years Ago
The lure of silver continued to prove stronger than any local belief that mining was no longer a paying enterprise in Aspen, or worries about the hazards of the work, as shown by occasional references in the “About The City” column in The Aspen Democrat.
Frank Henry, Sr., left last evening on the Grande for Porphyry Mountain to do assessment work on his mining property.
George Nyce and Andy Parks left yesterday for the Montezuma mine where they will spend a couple of day surveying.
Tony Larson had his head and foot badly hurt on the night shift at the Smuggler Mine Thursday by a cave-in and was removed to his home in Williams addition where he is receiving medical attention.
And, in the true tradition of boosterism, should anyone be found speaking pessimistically about mining, they would be roundly condemned in print.
For the past few days chronic knockers have been busy circulating a report that the Smuggler Mine and mill would soon be shut down … the local management denied that any such action had been taken or even contemplated, although the present low price of silver was very discouraging … a word of advice to the knockers: “Don’t trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.”
The gleeful Colorado members of the Democratic party, which swept the state elections and ended six years of Republican rule in the state, were predicting that as many as 600 elective and appointed positions would switch allegiances as a result.
The lines are so decisively drawn that when the Democrats assume control in January they will have a patronage involving nearly every appointive position in the state government.
Locally, The Aspen Democrat called for an audit of the county’s finances prior to the newly elected commissioners and others taking office in January.
These officers are entitled to know just what they are taking and the people are entitled to know just what their servants have been doing. The Democrat does not intend this as a reflection on any of the present officers … but we know and you know that there are some things down in the court house that need looking after, and they need it badly.
Various odd, but obviously necessary civic policies were occasionally reported, such as the following under the headline, “Two Cows In Pound.”
As a result of the crusade on stray cattle instituted by city authorities, two cows are now in pound. The depredations committed by stock running at large has become such a nuisance that something must be done to stop it … owners of cows will find it cheaper to buy hay for their cows than to turn them loose to prey on their neighbors.
And as would any good, hometown paper, the Democrat would take up the cause of a local working man who had been treated badly by an employer in the eyes of the editor, such as a man fired by the local Wells Fargo express office because he could not arrange to be “bonded” by an insurance company.
Those interested in the transaction state that they believe some individual or individuals “having it in” for Link [Conrad, the man who was fired] had made misrepresentations to the bonding company. This opinion became so strong that one of Aspen’s leading merchants drew up a petition [signed by] some thirty of Aspen’s businessmen … requesting that … Mr. Conrad be reinstated.
(Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1908 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.)
As work continued on new lifts on Aspen Mountain, and additional ski slopes at Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk Mountain, The Aspen Times reported that a spurt of construction had greatly increased the number of beds available for visiting tourists.
With a doubled lift capacity and two new ski areas about to open here, Aspen has also increased its motel and lodge accommodations by 43 percent. Accommodations for an estimated 1,860 overnight guests will be available when the lifts at Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk Mountain begin operating at Thanksgiving. This compares with 1,300 last winter, according to Jack DePagter, president of the Hotel and Motel Association, which ran the survey. Several new lodges are being finished now and other established lodges are adding or have added new units. DePagter said that reservations for the Christmas season are already at about 90 percent of capacity.
A committee of area citizens was working on a plan to consolidate the schools of the middle and upper Roaring Fork River Valley into one large district.
The present Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale schools would be merged into one giant Roaring Fork Valley school district, if a plan proposed by the Pitkin County School Reorganization Committee is approved by the state … and voters here. President of the committee San Howell explained the plan … may receive resistance from some quarters since Garfield County also claims the Carbondale District, which is presently run jointly by the two counties.
Mining had long since ceased to be a major factor in the local economy, but the newspaper reported that could change.
Pitkin County may be the scene of an uranium boom and James. S. Dodge [geologist and mining engineer] may be the owner of a rich strike if ore tests now in progress show that ore shipped this week is worth processing. The ore was taken by Dodge and his assistants from a mine on Porphyry (sometimes known as Lookout) Mountain above Lenado. The first 30 tons were shipped by truck … to the Rifle Uranium Mill at Rifle where … tests will be carried out. Results of the tests should be known in two weeks.
A report on the city’s record-breaking budget shows how times have changed, and how the city’s finances have multiplied a hundred-fold in half a century.
The highest budget in the history of modern Aspen, a record $92,300, was approved on final reading by the city council … Also approved was a 19-mill tax levy to make the historic budget possible … the same as the levy for 1958. The 1959 estimate of revenue and expenses was $5,400 greater than the $86,900 budget that was in effect this year. The increase is due mainly to an increase in local [property] valuation.
A Highway 82 collision that left one man dead from a head-on crash and traumatized a local woman and her family continued to be a topic of general discussion months after it happened, and after the woman was fined $98 by a local judge and given eight points on her driver’s license.
An Aspen woman whose collision with a motorcycle on Aug. 9 left the rider of that vehicle dead on Highway 82 has yet to admit responsibility for the fatal accident. In statements to the court, in a press release and during the course of an investigation of the death of Bernie McCall, local resident Phoebe Ryerson, 66, has made it clear that she doesn’t accept responsibility for McCall’s death. Although she admits swerving directly into McCall’s lane seconds prior to the crash, Ryerson’s statements thus far focus on how McCall could have avoided the accident by swerving out of the way of her car [and that] she swerved into McCall’s lane because she thought McCall was swerving toward her.
The plan to hold a stage of the Coors Classic bicycle race in Aspen was inching forward.
An Aspen stage of the renowned 1984 Coors Classic Bicycle Race moved closer to reality this week when the city council voted to pay the $8,000 entry fee … complimentary rooms for 600 people [connected with the event] had been arranged by the Aspen Resort Association … but money for 1,200 meals must come from the community.
” compiled by John Colson
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