25-50-100 Years Ago
December 17, 2008
As it is with modern newspapers, television news and other outlets, tales of crime and punishment were hot items on any day. The Aspen Democrat published more than one story about the conviction of a Carbondale man, John L. Thomas, on a charge of killing a calf that allegedly belonged to another man, David Hough, and claiming the carcass as his own.The defendant admitted the killing of the calf … The prosecution contended it was Houghs calf, basing its contention on the fact that Houghs cow, the alleged mother of the calf, remained at the scene of the killing, bawling and showing other manifestations of grief … The case was the outcome of years of suspicion and unrest among the valley people occasioned by the mysterious disappearance of stock.And then there was the case of a well-known local man, Edgar Stallard, fined $32 for violating a quarantine imposed by local health authorities, after the Stallard households children came down with scarlet fever in early October. Edgar Stallard, who showed no symptoms of the disease, was ordered to stay away from the home or be subject to the quarantine.Since that date considerable complaint has been of Mr. Stallard visiting his home and associating too closely with his family, but nothing came of it until last Sunday when several people saw Mr. Stallard doing chores about his home in company with his oldest son, Robert, the latter having had the fever first but who was still at home and in quarantine … a complaint was filed, and Mr. Stallard was arrested.Hard times led some people to desperate measures, such as Frank Nestell, Jesse P. Puckett and Fred Rockafellow. All three were charged with stealing groceries from the store house of Harry G. Koch and hauled before the district court.At the time of the preliminary hearing Puckett and Nestell secured bond. Rockafellow being unable to furnish bond was remanded to jail, escaping some time ago and is at present at large. It is alleged that groceries were carried away … to the amount of $200.A few editions later, the editor let readers know the fates of some of those unlucky criminals.John L. Thomas, recently convicted of cattle stealing, [was sentenced] to a term of from two and one-half to three and one-half years [in state prison]. Frank Nestell … having pled guilty [to the charge of stealing groceries] was sentenced to be confined in the reformatory at Buena Vista [for a term to be decided by reformatory officials].Aside from the law, other matters frequently made front-page news, such as two notices announcing the opening of telephone service between Aspen and Crested Butte.The telephone line between Aspen and Crested Butte was connected up at 10 oclock yesterday morning. Manager Mogee of the local exchange tenders to each and every citizen of Aspen today the courtesy of a three-minute free talk to Gunnison, Crested Butte, Pitkin and other towns on the line. Within a short time the Montezuma mine and mill will be connected up; then Ashcroft, Richmond Hill, the sawmills back from Castle Creek and in the near future Tourtelotte Park.Editor Charles Cap Dailey liked to insert humorous items about personalities around town to leaven the diet of his readers. One was a piece about a handsome young brakeman, C.E. Doxey, new to his job on the Rio Grande Rail Road. As the train was about to pull out one day, he grew flustered by the appearance of a gathering of female admirers.A crowd of young ladies were standing on the platform when Doxey made his appearance and this apparently rattled him as when he attempted to call All Aboard all he could say was Maggie. Father Servant happened along just at this time and seeing his distress came to his aid and shouted, All Aboard! Doxie could only give him a grateful look as he departed … Never mind, Doxey, it will come easier to you next time.(Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Societys archives. These 1908 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.)
Evidently reflecting the surprise of many local voters, the paper reported the passage of a school bond question by a narrow margin, giving the Aspen School District authority to raise $381,000 to build a new elementary school at the corner of Hallam and Center [now Garmisch] streets.Stunning nearly everyone, the much-discussed school bond issue election passed yesterday by a margin of 39 votes. 169 voters approved the issuance, and 130 opposed it in a surprisingly light turnout. Backers of the issue were surprised at its success because few bond issues pass on the first try and there seemed to be much pre-election opposition. [The school board] will acquire the north half of block 57 from its present owners, Mary Shinnick and William Brumder, who have agreed to sell if agreeable terms can be reached. They [the district] already have possession of the south half.The ongoing debate over how to fix the Highway 82 Entrance to Aspen road alignment was no less contentious half a century ago than it is today, as shown by a headline describing a two-hour public meeting on the subject at which opinions crackled during talk of state plans to four-lane the highway into town on a proposed new bridge over Castle Creek that would connect directly to Main Street.At this weeks meeting the majority [favored] building the bridge in a new location at the west end of Main St. [66 to 34]. At the meeting last summer 38 were for the present location [the S-curves that still exist today] as opposed to 2 for the Main Street location. [Assistant Chief Engineer Charles] Shumate [of the Colorado Highway Department] told the assembly that the main Street location would cost the state approximately $230,000 more and that the money [already set aside for the project] would not cover this.
Local affordable housing advocates were opposing a county decision that would permit the proposed 239-unit Centennial affordable housing complex, which was planned to be 100 percent affordable, to revert to free-market status 20 years after completion.The [Aspen/Pitkin County Housing] Authority [recommended] that the restrictions [deed restrictions designed to keep condos and apartments affordable] become ongoing and permanent. The housing authority … maintains the project is a replacement of a severely impacted portion of the housing market, namely the condominiumization of the Silver King apartments [now Hunter Creek Condos].Aspens reputation as a place where big-time drug dealers could hang out with impunity took a hit when a local home was seized.A home in Brush Creek Village that former Aspen resident Frank Rossito is alleged to have used to pay off part of a $1 million marijuana-deal debt has been seized by the U.S. Marshal. According [to federal officials] Rossito admitted … that he signed over the house to William Ellswick in 1979. The seizure of the house put three Aspen women [house sitters] out on the streets with four hours notice.The Aspen City Council, under pressure from council member Charlotte Walls, agreed a study was needed to verify Walls charges of pay discrimination against female city employees, and approved instant pay raises for the lowest-paid city wokers.Three [council members] were willing to make immediate pay adjustments at the city council meeting … Walls [recommended] that the council authorize immediate pay raises of $100 a month [and] to direct [Personnel Director Patsy] Malone to proceed with a comparable worth study, which is a process of determining … salary equability.