25-50-100 Years Ago
A mounting scandal swirled around the Pitkin County Commissioners concerning the awarding of payments for publication of the 1908 delinquent tax bill in The Aspen Times. The Times’ rival paper, The Aspen Democrat, trumpeted the news that the district attorney was poised to mount an investigation into the matter.
There is now a question as to whether District Attorney Gentry will bring suit recover $2,508.84 [the total amount paid to The Times] or $1,059.76 [the amount that the Democrat and others believed to be the correct amount to be billed]. But that he will bring suit is a certainty as the heavy taxpayers of the county will resolve to that end at the meeting of the stockgrowers next Saturday.
A few days later, the local stockgrowers’ association did pass a resolution calling for an official investigation, despite the objection of the Times’ editor, B. Clark Wheeler, according to a report in the Democrat.
Wheeler said he did not think it was necessary for the executive committee of the Stockgrowers association to inform the district attorney as to his duty … Why take any action on this tax list matter? Judge W. White and W.W. Williams spoke on the subject, contending they were fighting no person or persons but since these charges had been made by The Democrat, they wanted the investigation made in the interest of all the taxpayers. Wheeler began to froth at the opening in his face …
Competition between the two papers deepened as the faction of county government ” commissioners Smulling and Powell, and county attorney L.H. Hays, who favored The Aspen Times ” maneuvered to make the Times the legal paper of the county at a meeting of the county commissioners.
The king [Powell] and jester [Smulling] and their keeper [Hays] got along rather decently for them ” until the legitimate business of the meeting was concluded when the resolution making the Times the official paper of the county was sprung. Then the delectable trio began to give vent to their spleen against the editor of The Democrat, declaring that here was where they would get even with him … but in their vain attempt to get even with the paper they offered direct insult to the incoming board of county commissioners and indirectly to the voters of Pitkin County …
But even as the rivalry between the two papers blossomed into an all-out war of words, the Democrat continued to report on the small happenings and personal stories, such as the reports of sumptuous parties despite the hard economic times.
An enjoyable New Year’s party was given Friday evening at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Anderson, Oklahoma Flats, in honor of Edna and Inez Anderson … All sorts of games were played and a great time was had by all …
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Beck gave a dinner party New Year’s Day in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Kobey of Denver. The dining room was decorated in cut flowers and ferns and the dinner was fit for kings …
Friday night’s attendance at the picture show [at the Wheeler Opera House] was a record breaker … the great attraction was the deciding of the diamond ring contest. A great many people were holding chances on the ring … hoping they might be the lucky one. Dennis Conners was the holder of the lucky number …
A raffle is being arranged at the Hotel Jerome for a $150 punch bowl and fruit basket. Chances will be from 1 cent to $2 each. High dice will take the punch bowl and low dice the fruit basket …
(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 the new year opened, the lead story in The Aspen Times was an announcement that the upcoming Winterskol parade would feature a renowned act from another ski town.
Steamboat Springs’ famed band on skis will be a feature of the Winterskol parade. In addition, the Glenwood Springs band and Camp Carbon’s bagpipe band have been invited to the annual march. However, no positive word has been received from either group. Seventy ski clubs from all over the country will be invited to enter Winterskol queen contestants.
The ski industry was a rising economic force in the country, according to an unprecedented report issued by a statewide business research group.
Skiing in Colorado turns out to be a $5 million annual industry, a survey by the University of Colorado Bureau of Business Research shows. Thought to be the first of its kind, the survey was underwritten by the Southern Rocky Mountain Ski Association area operators.
A local owner of a sled-dog operation agreed to do his best to retrieve a wrecked plane from the Taylor Pass area.
An attempt will be made this week to recover an airplane belonging to J.B. Thomas IV which has been reposing on its back on a ridge of Taylor Peak for nearly two weeks. Husky dog owner Stuart Mace said he would try to pack in by sled to the overturned plane to bring it out. Matter-of-fact about the seemingly monumental task, Mace said that the actual hauling would be the simplest phase of the operation. [If the plane is buried in snow], merely locating it and digging it out would present serious problems. Once found and uncovered, the plane must then be dismantled and packed on the sleds and towed out by the sturdy dogs.
Confusion about renovation of a local lodge led to legal entanglements with tourists scheduled to stay at the lodge, who arrived while it was still under construction. It took two weeks of negotiations, involving the city attorney’s office and the Aspen Resort Association, to work out a monetary settlement that never was disclosed.
The Aspen Resort Association apparently has averted a legal dispute between an Aspen lodge owner and 46 South Africans who initially claimed they were bilked out of $30,000 because the accommodations they contracted for didn’t exist when they arrived [at] the Applejack Lodge, 311, W. Main St., which currently is being transformed into The Aspen condominiums … the owner, Bob Morris … told The Aspen Times the [renovation] project wasn’t finished [as scheduled] for “thousands” of reasons, most notably the record snowfall during December. [Manager Stan] Siligman purportedly told [the South Africans] delays in the project were caused by the city officials.
A news story announced that a controversial employee housing project, which initially was to revert to free-market status after 20 years, was deed-restricted in perpetuity as a result of fervent negotiations between the county and the developer.
The Phase IV housing project will remain price-controlled employee housing forever ” or, at least as close to forever as the law will allow. Responding to pressure [from county advisory groups] the county commissioners met with developer Sam Brown to negotiate the terms of the deed restrictions. The new arrangement will keep the [project, later renamed Centennial] as employee housing for 21 years after the death of the last surviving county commissioner who voted on the project.
After failing to open Highlands Bowl to helicopter ski tours for the 1983-84 ski season due to poor snow conditions, the Aspen Highlands management announced that heli-ski tours would begin in January.
Skiers on the tours will be carried by a five-passenger, twin-engine, jet-powered French Aerospatiale helicopter, operated by Tailwinds Aviation … skiers will have to pass a rigorous qualification program before they are allowed to make reservations. The process will take two days, the first for qualification, the second for the actual tour.
– compiled by John Colson
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