25-50-100 Years Ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 Years Ago

Courtesy Aspen Historical SocietyTravel by train was a normal part of everyday life in Aspens early years. The town was served by two lines, the Denver & Rio Grande Western, known as the Grande, and the Colorado Midland, known as the Midland, an example of which is pictured here in the early 1900s. The pullman cars carried ranchers down the Roaring Fork River to tributaries leading to their lands, as well as businessmen headed for Denver and points beyond or ladies taking a shopping trip to Glenwood Springs, to name but a few of those who regularly made use of the trains.

In the ongoing saga of fraud and graft in Pitkin County, the Aspen Democrat reported that two former county commissioners Edwin Powell and J.A. Smulling as well as the Aspen Times and its manager, B. Clark Wheeler, were being called upon to share in the obligation to repay the county for some $837 in overcharges for publication of the countys delinquent tax list.The Democrat has every right to feel proud of its campaign against graft now that the perpetrators are about to be brought to the bar of justice where they will have to explain why they so fraudulently paid out the peoples money.The very next day, the Democrat reported that local businessmen who had signed on to guarantee a supposedly temporary surety bond for Commissioner Smulling bonds were required before commissioners could take office as a precaution against graft were unhappy that they might be held liable for paying his debt to the county. Their names were reported as W.C. Tagert, W.H. Twining, Henry Beck and William F. Setzler.Now, it is alleged by one of the bondsmen that Smulling later told him [that] when the surety bond [from a Denver surety company] was accepted the individuals temporary bond would be annulled but after being notified yesterday he was liable to have to make good for Smulling he made inquiries and found that he and his associates had been STUNG.Many of the reports in The Aspen Democrat reflected the fact that Aspen, despite having lost its status as a silver boom town, continued to be served by two railroad lines that were its main connections to the outside world and to other valley communities.Harry Snyder left last evening on the Midland for Oregon, Illinois, to make his future home. He will be joined in Nebraska by his wife, who is visiting a sister there.John White was an arrival on the Rio Grande yesterday from his ranch on Capital Creek and spent the day visiting friends, returning on the Midland last evening for his home.The paper also reminded readers that Aspen remained a mining town, no matter how diminished, every time an effort was made to bring a mine into production.E. Dunbar Wright and Mr. Wheeler of Chicago are expected to arrive in Aspen in the next few days [to] consider the proposition of unwatering the Free Silver shaft and extending the main drift into the territory of the Park Regent Consolidated No mining man in the district deserves success more than Mr. Wright. A hundred prominent mining men have become faint-hearted and quit the camp but Mr. Wright has held on.(Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Societys archives. These excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.)

As The Aspen Times reported on the battle over efforts to consolidate Aspens schools with those in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, and published statements written by opposing organizations hoping to garner public support, the paper itself editorialized against the idea.If the advocates of reorganization have not presented any facts to substantiate their claims, the opponents have, [including arguments] based on loss of local control evidence of higher rather than lower costs [and] the fact that quality in education is an intangible thing and is not based necessarily on bigger districts Another governmental effort that the paper opposed was the controversial Fryingpan-Arkansas Project to dam up the Frying Pan River above Basalt. Project proponents quest to build tunnels to deliver Western Slope water to the thirsty cities of the Front Range remained mired in legislative muck.The policy review committee for the proposed $160 million Fryingpan-Arkansas Project is meeting today in Denver to continue attempts to iron out the controversy The bill has already been defeated three times in Congress.A small item on a back page of the paper heralded a significant change, at least to skiing purists, in how ski race courses were set up.The old familiar bamboo slalom poles will soon be a thing of the past. Aluminum poles were used during the running of the North American Championships too weeks ago at Squaw Valley, the Harriman Cup at Sun Valley and the Roch Cup National here, and proved to be so successful that they will be used in the 1960 Olympics. Designed and donated by the Head Ski Company, [the poles] cost approximately $16 a pair to manufacture.In other skiing news, it was announced that Aspen was in the running for a significant honor in the international ski racing scene.Aspen will have the opportunity of sponsoring the official 1960 Olympic Alpine Ski Training Camp if members of the community decide to do so, it was announced last week Funds for such a training camp would not be taken out of the actual Ski Games budget the camp would have to be financed by private contributions and donations in the sponsoring resort. Aspen was selected because the long runs, challenging skiing and good snow makes it an ideal place

A development that is still not complete today got its first governmental approvals 25 years ago.The first phase of the proposed Base Village development in Snowmass is finally in the bag [after] the Snowmass Village town council gave the developer what amounts to a green light [and] approved the architectural design for the Court at Alpine Springs.An important building in Aspens commercial core, which was nearly as old as the town itself but had been allowed to deteriorate for decades, was about to reopen after extensive repairs.After two and a half years of restoration work, the Wheeler [Opera House] will open again with the same excitement [as accompanied the original opening in 1889]. There will be a week-long celebration over Memorial Day weekend and all the arts that will be using the beautifully restored Victorian theater will be represented theater, dance, music and film.Another mainstay business in the local nightlife scene, Andres, had just been sold by long-time owner Andre Ulrych to Swedish nightclub entrepreneur Pelle Lundberg.[Manager Tom] Lilledal said some changes may be in order He said he doesnt like the apparent dichotomy between locals and tourists, and hopes to make Andres more popular with the locals He is adamant that Andres drug reputation be eliminated. compiled by John Colson

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