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

Courtesy Aspen Historical SocietyAspen in its early years was the scene of numerous civic-minded efforts, such as the Citizens Hospital funded by private subscriptions, and numerous large-scale public buildings funded by the silver barons. The town also boasted a succession of large school buildings, such as the Lincoln School pictured here in 1893 on Bleeker between North First and North Center (now Garmisch) streets. The block is now the site of the Yellow Brick Neighborhood Park and community center.
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Aspen Democrat Editor Charles “Cap” Dailey continued to rail at local merchants, urging them to come up with a plan to attract tourists as a way of diversifying the local economy.

It is a well known fact that at least one hundred thousand tourists visit Colorado each year and any town that attracts them is certain to receive $10 from each tourist. Now suppose we could induce one thousand to visit Aspen … that would mean $10,000, and next summer we would have at least 10,000 tourists and that would mean $100,000 for our people! And yet with all these possibilities we sit here like bumps on a log …

The constant drumbeats of boosterism appeared to have some effect, as local businessmen responded with actual proposals aimed at attracting more tourists.

George Folsom, proprietor of the Jerome, comes to the front with a great big boost … each Sunday during the summer months he will entertain all traveling men at the Jerome by giving them a free fishing excursion up one of our numerous clear sparkling streams. Folsom will furnish the conveyance, the fishing tackle and all refreshments.

The paper informed its readers of the death and burial of one of the last of the Indian war chiefs, the Chiricahua Apache chief, Geronimo, who was given a Christian ceremony, having been baptized some years earlier.

The funeral procession was more than a mile long, and three-fourths of those in its ranks were whites. Twenty years ago they would gladly have hanged Geronimo from the nearest tree. But when the chieftain was once beaten, his white conquerors forgave him …

Aspen was still under threat from the dread disease diphtheria, as evidenced by a front-page story about a boy being held home from school.

[Little Freddie Kissel] went to school Tuesday but on account of his complaining of a sore throat that evening they did not send him back to school [on Wednesday]. Mr. Kissel also states that the family is under quarantine pending the determination of whether the boy has diphtheria or not …

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that it had jurisdiction in a case filed by The Aspen Democrat and its editor, Charles “Cap” Dailey, and against B. Clark Wheeler, Pitkin County Judge Shumate and others who reportedly were trying to wrest control of the Democrat from Dailey. The Supreme Court’s decision took the case away from the local courts, which had sided with Wheeler and his group and had directed Pitkin County Sheriff Irving Everett to seize The Democrat’s press over alleged nonpayment of a $1,008.30 debt, although Dailey explained to the readers what he thought the real issue was.

It will be remembered that the editor of The Democrat in December last exposed the $1,059 tax list steal of Wheeler’s [who was running The Aspen Times] and since that time that gentleman (?) has turned heaven and earth to “do up” the editor and this paper. This is what makes the “father of Aspen” sore!

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

Local ski patrollers were unhappy about their wages, and were in the middle of negotiations with the Aspen Skiing Corporation for what amounted to a 40 percent pay hike.

Demanded by the patrolmen, who are in charge of giving first aid and evacuating injured skiers … is a pay increase to $1.75 an hour [and] an optional two days a month time off [without pay]. At present the patrol members usually are required to work seven days a week and are paid approximately $1 an hour, with time and a half for overtime after 40 hours. If its request for what it termed “a minimum living wage” is not met tomorrow the patrol association announced that its members would go out on strike.

As state and local school officials continued to debate a plan to combine the schools of Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs into one district, pressure to reject the idea was gaining steam.

Three more influential Aspen organizations joined the fight against the controversial school reorganization plan this week when members of the Aspen City Council, the Lions Club and the American Legion voted unanimously to oppose the [plan]. The action of the three groups this week brought to six the total of local organizations that are now on record disapproving the [proposal]. [The others are] the School Board, the Citizens Council for Education (CCE) and the Chamber of Commerce.

By the end of the month, the CCE decide to put the matter of school reorganization to the voters, albeit in a non-binding, informal election to be held in the local high school gymnasium.

The council voted to hold a special straw vote for the electors of the school district on March 20. Earlier this month the council asked the Pitkin County Reorganization Committee to sponsor such a plebiscite. However, when no action was taken by the committee, the council members decided to sponsor the vote themselves.

Meanwhile, the local school district took the relatively unheard-of step of returning $500 in state financial aid.

According to superintendent Ira Ralston, valuation in [the district] increased more this year than had been anticipated. As a result, the 12-mill tax on property … brought in enough funds to cover school costs without these state funds.

Pitkin County’s planning and zoning commission was working on a plan to relocate Highway 82 ” long known as “Killer 82″ and deemed the most dangerous stretch of state highway in Colorado ” as a way of prompting state highway officials to come up with money for improvements to the road.

Among the possibilities considered was switching the highway to the opposite side of the airport from where it now runs and also to switch the road to the opposite side of the Roaring Fork River in the vicinity of Shale Bluffs. All the possibilities involve wider paving than presently exists ” possibly up to eight paved lanes in some areas.

Long before the phrase came into common usage in the U.S. or around he world, a local organization announced a series of discussions and lectures concerning the “greenhouse effect” and its impact on the global environment.

‘Our Planet: Environment, Population and Technology’ is the topic for the events sponsored by the Aspen Community and Institute Committee. The course will examine climate change and its impact on food production, food system resiliency, population growth and alternatives to current environmental predicaments.

” compiled by John Colson


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