25-50-100 Years Ago
If ever there was any doubt that Aspen remained a mining town after the devaluation of silver in 1893, the following front-page item would dispel such doubt. The paper enthusiastically predicted that “extensive work” was being planned for the Smuggler, Mollie Gibson and Durant mines by owner D.M. Hyman, in language and terms that only a readership shot through with miners could fully comprehend.
Among the propositions involved is the sinking of the Free Silver shaft 700 feet from the 12th level and a drift tun into the Smuggler to determine if the large and rich ore body encountered in that property some time ago continues down. If the ore body should continue to that depth the Smuggler will be a larger money producer than at any time in its best days, as there would be stoping ground of nearly 1,000 feet to the level where the mineral is being mined at present.
Editor Charles “Cap” Dailey was clearly a big fan of the Aspen High School football team, and quite ready to chastise ” even insult ” any opposing team, such as the Leadville squad after a game between the two was canceled.
The Aspen team had been doing considerable practice work for the past week … but at the last moment yesterday word was received that the Leadville football boys had again shown their “yaller” streak and asked our boys to wait another week. This makes the third or fourth time the Cloud City lads have shown their “yaller” … the Aspen team hung it on the Leadville bunch [defeating the Leadville team decisively the week before] and maybe they didn’t want to be whipped again today and wanted to postpone their second drubbing for another week.
Continuing with his enthusiastic mining predictions later in the week, the editor denied he was raising false hopes and warned “knockers,” or gloom and doom types, to shut up … or else.
The Democrat is not publishing these mining articles to deceive the people or to “jolly” them, but it is doing so with the firm belief that the predictions as published will be carried out … Any sane man … versed in mining knows that the Aspen mineral belt has been merely scratched … “shutting down” rumors were in circulation 14 years ago. When Mayor Cain arrived in Aspen about 14 years ago, he hadn’t gotten off the depot platform before he was told that the camp was about to drop off the earth ” that the Smuggler was about to be shut down. The mayor is still here, the Smuggler is still running and Aspen is still on earth, but let us hope that that knocker has left town … cut it out, fellers and get out of the “knockers” column. You wouldn’t like to have your names published, now would you?
Also due for some of Dailey’s boosterism was the news that the Yule Marble Quarry in Marble had started shipping blocks destined to become a new public building in the East.
The first carload of marble for the new courthouse in Cleveland, Ohio, was shipped from here today. The Cuyohoga County courthouse at Cleveland, when finished, will be one of the most magnificent structures in the United States, and all the marble work for it is coming from the quarries and hills of Colorado. The entire order amounts to more than half a million dollars … the first order of that size given for Colorado stone. The Cleveland courthouse demands fifty-six marble columns, each 14 feet 2 inches long by a little over three feet in greatest diameter, and each to be composed of a single block of marble. The only place in the world where blocks of that size can be cut from pure white marble is in Colorado.
(Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1908 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.)
Voters in the Aspen School District were being asked to approve a bond to finance construction of a new school.
Packed daily into a building which is now too small for them, Aspen students will have a new elementary school if a bond issue and construction program … is approved by the voters on Dec. 17. [The ballot question seeks] a $381,000 bond issue [for a school to be built on the half block on West Bleeker Street between North Center [now North Garmisch] and North First … offers to buy the rest of the block have been made, but rejected by the two owners.
The local population shrank by a factor of one, but that one was of greater import, historically speaking, than most.
One of Aspen’s few remaining active miners died here Wednesday, Nov. 6, after a short illness. Henry Fitzpatrick, 64, a retired rancher who was engaged in mining around Ashcroft, died at 6 a.m. in Pitkin County Hospital. Born on May 2, 1892, in County Cork, Ireland, he came to Chicago as a young man to work as a railroad clerk …
Aspen’s Chamber of Commerce made a relatively unheralded decision, one that would have a community-wide impact for decades as the event in question slowly changed from a wacky expression of individual exuberance into a largely commercial expression for business interests.
This season the Chamber of Commerce will join the Ski Club to sponsor Aspen’s annual Winterskol carnival, it was decided Tuesday by directors of the C of C.
A member of Aspen’s Boy Scout Troop No. 37, Greg Mace, earned a singular honor from the statewide Scouts organization.
The Explorer Scouts of the Western Colorado Council of Boy Scouts of America held a “Citizens Now” conference at Western State College, Gunnison. Troop No. 37 of Aspen was represented by Greg Mace as Panel Discussions leader for the entire conference, which was attended by 75 scouts from all over the western slope.
Efforts continued in the rush to bring television to Aspen’s residents.
Although an estimated $700 is still needed for the main TV tower, construction began this week on an equipment building and on tower footers, it was announced yesterday by the Community TV Committee. The committee, which has been conducting an intensive drive to raise approximately $5,500 to bring television here, also explained that work was being carried out on additional facilities at the Sunlight tower above Carbondale. The equipment building, which is going up near the tower location on Smuggler Mountain, is of cinder block construction and will be fireproof and weatherproof.
Aspen’s former district attorney, Frank Tucker, got into trouble when he was convicted in 1979 of official misconduct and failure to disclose a conflict of interest over charges that he billed the public for money he spent on a girlfriend, including plane tickets to Hawaii, while he was DA in the late 1970s.
[At one point] Tucker was convicted of embezzlement, but the verdict was later overturned. Tucker admits he lied when he testified he didn’t know where the woman was. The [plea agreement] he signed dismisses the first and second counts … The former DA has agreed to the suspension from the practice of law for one year and a day and will pay the costs of the proceedings against him, $32.10.
The former wife of a then-Pitkin County resident, and the couple’s young daughter, were found dead in a Fort Lauderdale home, the mother a murder victim and the daughter dead from dehydration.
Susan Bolander Hamwi, 38, divorced this summer from local contractor Paul Hamwi, 38, of Basalt, was stabbed to death … Police discovered the victims after being asked to investigate by the mother’s employer, a Ft. Lauderdale attorney, who acted on a request of a mutual friend … The 18-month-old Shane was found in her crib … Hamwi had worked as a beautician in the Ft. Lauderdale area before moving to Aspen in December, 1981 [and], and had been working part time for the attorney since her return to Ft. Lauderdale this summer.
– compiled by John Colson
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