25-50-100 Years Ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 Years Ago

Courtesy Aspen Historical SocietyA view of the old Woody Creek Store complex, taken from the Denver & Rio Grande Western railroad right of way above Upper River Road in 1974. With the store on the right, the post office and a residential cabin at the left end and the trailer park behind, it all looked much as it does today. Of course, the gas pumps have been replaced by tables and umbrellas, and the pine tree on the left is a good deal taller today. In 1984 the county and a developer were trying to figure out how the residents could buy the spaces beneath their mobile homes
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As a new board of Pitkin County Commissioners took office and got down to business, The Aspen Democrat suggested they look into allegations of misuse of a county building that was intended to be used as emergency housing for the poor and unemployed.On the corner of Durant and Galena streets is a place occupied by a county ward. It is well known to the city … that the place is used as an assignation house, where males and females congregate almost nightly, rush the growler and hold high jinks. This place is supposedly maintained by the county for the care of its charges, not for the accommodation of the most vicious element in the city. Look into this matter, gentlemen … into the conduct and manner of all county patients … we believe the county is being imposed upon in a number of instances by those well able to work if they so desired. Pitkin County is not rich enough … to support the idle and vicious.(Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Societys archives. These excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.)

As school districts throughout Colorado went through the difficult task of reorganization and, in some instances consolidation, as mandated by the state Legislature, The Aspen Times appealed to Gov. Steve McNichols for help in making local reorganization committees work more transparently. In a letter, McNichols replied that the statute governing the reorganization and consolidation of school districts was clear on the subject.The letter reads as follows: Until a committee has a plan completed the laws does not require the committee to hold public meetings, but when such meetings are held notices must be published and posted. Apparently the Pitkin County Committee has not reached the hearing stage …Later in January, the countys reorganization committee, which hoped to consolidate schools in the mid- to upper valley into one district, approved what the paper called a controversial Plan A for submission to the state.The plan, which has aroused much local opposition, including that of the local school board, would incorporate Aspen in a district with Basalt, Carbondale and the Crystal River. However, according to the 1957 reorganization act, the local committee cannot legally incorporate Carbondale in its plan because that town is in Garfield County and figures in that county committees plans [in which case] Redstone, which is in Pitkin County, will be isolated unless Pitkin County committee agrees to release it [for inclusion in the Garfield County plan]. Meanwhile, a straw vote taken in Carbondale showed that just about half of those polled preferred a district made up of Basalt and Carbondale alone.In a report that must have caused chuckles in the newsroom, the Times chronicled a case in which regular citizens came to the aid of the towns constabulary in apprehending a thief.Three Aspenites joined the night marshal last Saturday morning in an exciting game of cops and robbers … The action took place at approximately 2 a.m. in and around the Little Nell Cafe and ended in the capture of Donald King, 23, of Denver as he attempted to burglarize the cafes cash register. He was caught in the act with the cash drawer open by Dick Hollers, Werner Kuster, Roy Fricke and Night Marshal Joseph Lennon. From his apartment across the alley Hollers said he had heard the burglar as he broke a window … immediately phoned Kuster and the police … and when all had assembled the group crept into the cafe and surprised King.Just prior to the 1959 Winterskol celebration, the events committee chairwoman, Ruth Whyte, announced that it would be seen not just by Aspenites and visitors but perhaps also by a statewide television audience.Activities during the final two days of this years Winterskol will be filmed for Denver TV. [A television crew that] do much of the film work for Denver TV station KLZTV [were expected to come to town] and Winterskol officials hope that the film they expose here will be used on that station.Aspens recent entry into the modern world of television appeared to already be jeopardized by changes in technology and federal rule making.Television, which only recently became a reality in Aspen, may vanish if a United States government edict stands. Colorados television booster stations relay transmitters which serve isolated areas such as Aspen must close down or convert to new equipment within 90 days, the Federal Communications Commission said last Wednesday … The FCC said it could not license boosters which are operating in the VHF (very high frequency) range because of the possibility of interference with other TV channels and radio transmission [and translator systems] would have to adapt to UHF reception … [Colorado Gov. Steve] McNichols accused the FCC of a complete sellout to equipment makers [because] the ruling means that individual set owners will have to spend probably $100 apiece to convert their receivers.

It seemed that the troubled Phase IV employee housing project [later to be renamed Centennial] had jumped through a significant regulatory hoop, a detailed submission before the Pitkin County Commissioners, and was on its way to fruition.It was, in fact, one of the major and final hoops of the series [erected by local government to review development proposals]. Sam Brown, the projects developer, greeted the approval with a big smile [and] that he expects to start construction in the early spring.But there was still one potentially fatal hurdle on the projects track.The Phase IV employee housing project may have received its most important county approval this week, but a disgruntled group of neighboring homeowners is still racing to block the project by annexing it into the city [through a petition process] … Those backing annexation are counting on the city council to veto the project … since a majority of the council members have declared themselves firmly opposed.Plans to turn the Woody Creek Trailer Park over to its residents, a long and storied controversy, was stalled by Pitkin Countys demands for more information from the projects developer, Dick Jennings.County officials, while noting that they favored the project, insisted on getting answers to a lengthy list of questions before they granted general submission approval [including] a full and detailed plan for the … capital improvements required at the existing park … and information on plans to offer financing to help present park residents buy their spaces. [After debating the countys demands] Jennings said that the project already has little or no profit in it and that further delay or increase in expense could put an end to his plans. compiled by John Colson


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