25-50-100 Years Ago | AspenTimes.com
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25-50-100 Years Ago

Courtesy Aspen Historical SocietyThe name of the patient is unknown, as is the ailment she suffered from, but the hospital room and two nurses were in the old Citizens Hospital in Aspen. Perched on the bench of land above the confluence of Hunter Creek and the Roaring Fork River, it was built in the late 1800s with money raised from community "subscriptions" sold predominantly to local miners, who wanted good health care in town.
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Although it continued to snow in Aspen, as successive blizzards moved east from the Pacific Coast and caused deaths in the mountains and on the plains, Aspen Democrat editor Charles “Cap” Dailey already was thinking of the coming warm months and the profits represented by tourism. Front page articles for days offered a drumbeat of boosterism.

Spring will soon be here, and with the opening of spring the tourists will begin their annual wanderings … it is high time our boosters were getting together for … proper advertising of the many places of interest in this vicinity, the fine camping grounds, the numerous streams where the finest fishing in the country may be had and the places where large and small game may be hunted. The railroads will help in this as they have signified their willingness to cooperate in the way of advertising and … reduced rates during the tourist season. But first the people of Aspen must wake up and do things themselves. We should not let another summer of golden opportunity go by and call ourselves “chumps” in the fall.

The editor also revived his now-annual call for a big, extravagant fair in the coming autumn.



February is almost gone and yet the dates for the 1909 fair have not been decided on. Why all this delay? Or are we to wait until next September before we decide to have a fair this year. It’s time something was doing, don’t you think?

At the same time, the paper was reporting a series of deaths in Basalt from an apparent epidemic.




Another death has occurred in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Chatfield from diphtheria. The grief-stricken parents have been called upon to mourn the death of two children from the dread disease within 12 hours. The other diphtheria patients are improving. Dr. Kennedy and son, who are suffering from diphtheria, have been placed in quarantine.

Editor Dailey urged Aspen residents to be alert to symptoms of the deadly disease.

Now that it is known positively that there are several cases of diptheria [sic] at Basalt and near Emma, it behooves all the parents of Aspen to unite with the local physicians in their fight to keep this dread disease out of Aspen … By calling in a physician whenever a case of sore throat is developed, we will do more to prevent an epidemic in Aspen than in any other way … diptheria [sic] can be handled easily if a physician has charge of the case in time … Aspen has experienced epidemics of scarlet fever and measles and all precautions should be taken to guard against an epidemic of diptheria [sic].

After several days of bulletins, it was reported that the disease had come to Aspen for the second time ” the first was in 1898, when 15 people died of it.

Mrs. Stover, of West Hopkins … had a very light case … and did not feel hardly ill enough during the first days to call a physician until she read the article in the Democrat … it is rumored there is another case of diphtheria in town …

(Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.)

The controversial proposal to combine the public schools of Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs had run into a wall of resistance from the public, but was moving ahead anyway.

Despite mounting opposition from organizations and residents in the Aspen area, the Pitkin County School District Reorganization Committee [has] formally adopted a plan to unify the school districts. At the same time the Garfield County committee [gave] its approval to the plan … all buildings, playgrounds, equipment and cash assets belonging to existing school districts would become the property of the new district … all bonded indebtedness, however, would remain the obligation of the tax payers in the old districts.

Meanwhile, a series of standardized tests given to Aspen High School students showed Aspen public schools were doing a pretty good job.

The results … indicate that the school stands among the top one percent of all schools across the country … the Iowa Tests of Educational Development are designed to measure educational growth and fundamental abilities … they measure not only quality of educational instruction but natural abilities and accumulated knowledge.

A national labor tribunal handed down a verdict against a local corporation and in favor of two fired workers, George Flogaus and Worley Hubbard.

Accused last fall by two discharged workmen, the Mid-Continent Coal and Coke Co. and the Redstone Workers Association were found guilty by an NLRB [National Labor Relations Board] trial examiner … of several counts of unfair labor practices. [The two men maintained] they had been discharged for having complained to the Colorado Coal Mine Inspector and for having engaged in union activity … they also complained that the Redstone Workers Union was in effect a company-owned organization. [The examiner] recommended that Mid Continent offer Flogaus immediate and full reinstatement [and repay] any loss of earnings. The mine … was reactivated by Mid Continent in September, 1956. The RWA was formed on Oct. 4, 1956, with the aid of the company.

The speculative land empire of Aspenite Hans Cantrup, 80-some acres scattered around town and accumulated over a decade of deals, was going through bankruptcy even as the city of Aspen tried to deal with a massive hotel proposal on a part of that same empire. Both the land-use review and the bankruptcy were tied up with a purchase agreement between Cantrup and Commerce Savings, of San Antonio, Texas. Two Aspen attorneys, Bob Hughes and Spence Schiffer, were working on the case, in which a federal judge overruled efforts to disallow certain creditors from making claims against Cantrup’s estate.

Commerce Savings [has] been [seeking permits for] a large luxury hotel on the Cantrup properties at the base of Aspen Mountain … for the past several months … Hughes agreed with Schiffer, who told The Aspen Times … that the Cantrup bankruptcy was one of the most complex on record.

After statistics revealed that Aspen was home to a high rate of drug and alcohol abuse, local residents succeeded in talking Presbyterian St. Luke’s Health Care Corp. in Denver to open a drug and alcohol treatment center near the base of the Tiehack ski slopes on Buttermilk Mountain.

Although only a few potential patients have signed up … director Bill Kent is confident the Roaring Fork Valley will make good use of the 10-bed treatment program … local resident Ruth Brown, a driving force behind the [creation of the center] was given a plaque acknowledging her efforts.


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