25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com
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25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton
In 1905 the management of the Homestead undercut the $3.50-per-shift wage paid to miners working in the shaft. This interior of a miners cabin in the early 1900s was obviously composed by the photographer. Denver Public Library Western Collection/Aspen Historical Society photo.
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Copies of The Aspen Times from 1904 until 1909 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. To continue our journalistic history of Aspen, we include excerpts from The Aspen Democrat, the Times’ competitor 100 years ago.Mining was hard, dangerous work with minimal pay. It seemed the shaft workers on the Homestead claim were getting the shaft, and a meeting of the miners was held to try to resolve the dispute.A largely attended meeting of the miners of Pitkin county was held at the Socialist Hall last evening to discuss the controversy which has arisen on the Homestead property. …After discussion of the matters in controversy by some of the men who had worked on the Homestead property, a motion was carried that the chair appoint a committee of five to wait on the management of the Homestead and also upon the men now working on the property to see if some amicable settlement could be arrived at.It was the sense of the meeting that $3.50 per shift was the ruling price for shift work in the camp and had always been paid for this class of work, and a motion was carried that the miners stand by $3.50 per shift as the wages to be paid for shaft work of all kinds. …Representatives of the miners union present denied the accusation which they had heard made that they were responsible for the posting of so-called scab lists, and emphatically disclaimed any such action on their part.It being brought to the attention of the meeting that five union miners who were sent here to work on the Homestead and who had refused, on being informed of the trouble and the conditions existing, to go to work, a motion was carried that a collection be taken to defray their expenses while here. Those present responded liberally and $12.90 was collected.

While it was the sense of the meeting that wages should be upheld in the camp, there was no expression of a desire on the part of anyone to hinder negotiations looking to an amicable settlement of the controversy, and the meeting adjourned subject to call of the negotiating committee to be published later.The paper went on to scold Aspen’s businessman for not showing up to give support to their fellow citizens.It was a very noticeable fact that the business man of the city did not attend the meeting as they should. It is fair to presume that Aspen’s business men are as much interested in the wages of the miners as the miners are themselves, and it is only fair to expect that they attend meetings of this sort to lend their influence to help the men that made Aspen maintain the standard of wages that have been paid in camp for years. Items discussed at the City Council meeting reflected Aspen’s ongoing effort to keep up appearances in spite of hard times. The paper reported,The matter of a cow catcher again came up and was continued to next week.Mayor Twining reported that Adam Keifer had requested the council to order Porter Nelson’s trees in front of his house trimmed and also give him the right to take up every other tree in front of his property. On motion the matter was referred to the street and alley committee. On motion the city marshal was instructed to see the owner of the building on the corner of Second and Hopkins avenue and order it torn down. Marshal Irving reported the building on the corner of Aspen and Hopkins avenue damaged and very dilapidated, and on motion the matter was referred to the fire committee.

Aspen and Hollywood have had a long and symbiotic relationship. In 1955 “Sgt. Preston of the Yukon” was about to go on location in the Castle Creek Valley!Stuart Mace’s recent trip to Hollywood has produced some very interesting results for Toklat and Aspen.Last week, Mr. Charles Skinner and Mr. Tom Curtis of Chas. Skinner Productions flew to Aspen to see firsthand the dog teams and Yukon-like scenery [see photo] that Mace had showed them in color pictures on the coast.After two days of looking and planning here, it was decided that Toklat would be the home base for filming in color for TV release the now very popular radio show, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon.This story of a Mounty, his huskies and life in the Yukon will be shot out of doors in sound with only the interiors being done on a Hollywood stage. … They will bring only the principals, getting their bit parts and extras when needed from Aspen folks who want to have some fun and earn something at the same time. They will also try to use all the local help and animals that are available for shooting days.If this group can be helped to produce their first series within their operating budget, they will be back and other groups will come to add steady earnings to this area both in the peak and slow seasons.

The Aspen Times noted a very industrious volunteer group, the Lions, Club, responsible for city beautification and the routed wood and hand-painted street signs that graced Aspen’s intersections until the early 1990s.Painting of the new street signs, being manufactured by the Aspen Lions Club and installed with the help of the city, is now in progress on the second floor of Armory Hall. All Lions are asked to assist in the painting from noon to 8 p.m. each day until the entire 100 posts and 200 street names have been properly painted and ready for installation.The Aspen Lions Club voted unanimously Tuesday evening at their regular meeting to accept the report of the city park committee composed of Henry Pederson and Rob Roy and begin the beautification program of trees and shrubs next Sunday.A crew will begin digging holes for at least 20 trees and shrubs which another crew will secure from the National Forest. A permit was issued some time ago from the Forest Service and Ranger Gay Weidenhaft. It has been renewed each year and just about everything needed can be secured locally at no cost – only time of the Lions and all other citizens who wish to help in the beautification program and have an outing at the same time.An item in “Around Aspen” cheered,Hurrah! Hurrah! Spring is here! Official word came Tuesday from Mr. Hendy of the Aspen Water Co. How did he know? The last vestige of winter disappeared into the warm air when the one remaining frozen pipe in the city of Aspen at the home of Art Mikkelson thawed out Tuesday morning. The Water Co. is once again in full business.

The Aspen Times announced the appointment of a new Captain Clean (see photo), just in time for spring cleaning.Aspen has a new Captain Clean, all decked out in white and stars and stripes. He is Ron Moses, known in Aspen for his character parts in community theater. (He was Renfield, the fly-eating lunatic in Dracula.)He is also a Shakespeare actor and the former owner of an art gallery in Binghamton, N.Y., a life he packed up four years ago to come out West.He is an artist, a leather craftsman and a cartoonist, a man able to talk in depth about art and philosophy and life. So what is he doing being Captain Clean in Aspen? He laughs. “Captain Clean is a sort of character role so I can keep my hand in,” he says. …He will be at the forefront of a Cleanup Day this Saturday, May 17, in which all citizens of Aspen are invited to clean up the streets and highway. …Following the cleanup will be a party at Herron Park, with a picnic sponsored by the chamber of commerce. Clean team T-shirts will be awarded to participants. …

“If people choose to think of Aspen as a Sodom and Gomorrah town, or the drug capital of the world, well, that can’t be helped,” he says. “But it will at least be clean.”Twenty-five years ago, there was only one 18-hole golf course (see photo) in the Roaring Fork Valley. How did we ever manage?Aspen’s golf pro Jim Mooney has a simple aim: make the Aspen Golf Course nationally known as one of the country’s finest.To that end, Mooney is already busy touting the course’s virtues to almost anyone and everyone who will listen, both locally and nationally through advertising and letters.The end result of this promotion, Mooney says, will be a course that will not only play for itself, but will eventually be an economic asset to the community, drawing golfers in the summer as Ajax draws skiers in the winter.”It’s my job to make it go, to raise revenue to pay off the bonds that financed it,” he says.The $1.5 million course alongside Highway 82 was purchased with open space funds generated by the sixth penny of the city sales tax, and the improvements were financed with money provided by a $900,000 revenue bond. …Aspen’s par 71 course has a rating of 71.8, meaning it is more difficult to make par than most par 71 courses. He expects the rating to revised upward this summer when the Colorado Golf Association rating board has a chance to play and discuss the course with him on a hole-by-hole basis.

Maybe consultant fees are too exorbitant when this expert advice is considered in hindsight. The paper reported,Highway safety consultant Mark Skrotzki told the Public Safety Council at a recent meeting that four-laning of Highway 82 looks “less and less feasible economically.”Skrotzki, who opposes four-laning, said that the Basalt bypass project has “almost certainly” been cancelled. This, he said, should free some $6.5 million for spot improvements to the two-lane highway. …Skrotzki said people are driving less, so less money is being available for highway construction. … [Skrotzki’s draft recommendations] suggest 32 safety improvements for Highway 82. Projects are categorized as overall projects to be built through the length of 82 between Basalt and Aspen, intersection channelization projects, curve-straightening projects, and spot projects.


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