25-50-100 Years Ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 Years Ago

Courtesy Aspen Historical SocietyThis picture of a band of Ute Indians was taken by early photographer Horsethief Kelley somewhere in Colorado, probably in the early 1900s. At the time, the Utes, who once held dominion over all of Western Colorado and beyond, were being crowded onto an ever-shrinking system of reservations and white land speculators were gobbling up their former territory.

With a story that took up a quarter of the front page, Editor Charles “Cap” Dailey trumpeted the news that a state judge had concluded that 5 million acres of former Ute Indian lands, including lands around Aspen and Gunnison, were being held in reserve illegally by the government, specifically by the U.S. Forest Service. The judge, said the paper, argued that the lands should be sold to the highest bidders immediately and the proceeds handed over to the Ute tribes.

“By an act of March 3, 1883, it was … provided that the proceeds of all pasturage, and sales of timber, coal and other projects from the Indian lands, should be turned into the treasury for the benefit of the Indians. It is not apparent by what right the forest service is now applying collections for grazing, etc., on the Indian lands to the general expense of maintaining the forest.”

Traffic mishaps occurred a century ago, although the nature of the accidents was a far cry from the high-speed collisions of today.

The Woody [Creek] was blocked yesterday. Horace Gavin was bringing a lot of hay into town when the wagon upset, bumbling the baled hay in the road, preventing the other farmers getting into town. Everybody got busy reloading the hay, but it was late in the evening when the ranchers reached the city.

The paper informed its readers of a momentous occurrence ” Ernest Shackleton’s expedition had come within 111 miles of the supposed location of the South Pole, after a voyage and expedition that began in July 1907.

After reaching the ice fields and making the most elaborate preparations, the main expedition started on a sledge journey which occupied 126 days and traversed 1,708 miles southward [and] reached latitude 88.26 and longitude 16.2 east … a second party pushed forward to the magnetic pole at latitude 72.25; longitude 126 east. The British flag was left flying at both places.

And another, perhaps not equally momentous event, but more far-reaching, was reported from New York City.

Three photographs came to the New York World the night of March 23 from Washington by wire. Their transmission furnished the first instance in this country of the use of the telegraph for actual reproduction of light and shade … by the processes employed by the World the work of the camera anywhere, with persons, scenes of documents, may be placed the same day by wire before newspaper readers in any city where the apparatus is installed. The machine is the invention of Prof. Arthur Korn of the Munich (Germany) University … Prof. Korn is 38 years old.

Still aglow from the public relations coup of having U.S. Vice President Teddy Roosevelt visit in 1901 following a hunting trip, and then return for a second visit a few years later after he became president, the city of Glenwood Springs decided it deserved a permanent place in the nation’s political life and proposed a project to build a Western White House there.

Because Colorado is the “nation’s playground,” according to ex-President Roosevelt, Rep. Taylor [of Colorado] has introduced a bill appropriating $250,000 for the erection of an executive mansion at Glenwood Springs. This building will be for the use of the president and his family during the summer months.

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

The Aspen Times was keeping an eye on the oil industry’s plans to extract a petroleum-like substance called kerogen from the so-called shale formations of Western Colorado, and other, related adventures in the oil business.

Students at Cornell University have completed a design for a city of 350,000 inhabitants which is expected to rise only 85 miles from Aspen, near the site where the United States Atomic Energy Commission will carry out its “Operation Plowshare.” The AEC plans to trigger a nuclear explosion in the ground at Parachute Creek in an effort to see if the tremendous heat and force released by the blast will provide an economical and efficient method of tapping the vast reserve of oil which is now locked in shale rock. The city which the Cornell graduate students have designed is expected to be constructed between the present towns of Rifle and DeBeque … about where the present town of Grand Valley [now Parachute] is now located.

As the Colorado Department of Highways [now called the Colorado Department of Transportation] prepared to replace the aging Highway 82 bridge across Castle Creek, it appeared that the exact location for building a new bridge remained in doubt.

J.J. Marsh, Denver’s member of the State Highway Department, told Pitkin County Commissioner Orest Gerbaz that his department had definitely decided to build a new bridge at the site of the old one, due to a lack of funds. [But] Charles Shumate, assistant chief engineer for the department, told the Aspen Times that a definite decision on the location of the bridge had not been make, but would be made within the week. [The debate centers on] whether the bridge should [be built] going straight out from Main Street [or should retain the existing] two 90-degree turns at the entrance of town.

Federal drug authorities seized a majority of the property in the controversial Basalt South subdivision near Basalt, maintaining that it had been financed with money from a marijuana smuggling operation run by two Louisiana men.

David Koehl and Glen Wood of New Orleans, who have been convicted of drug trafficking charges and are serving time … [consented to] forfeit their real estate holdings. Federal prosecutors would not comment on whether or not the other partners in the development … attorneys Dave Slemon, Tony Mazza and John LaSalle, and real estate agent John Wix … are under suspicion in the federal investigation. It is believed that the four had no prior knowledge of the drug dealing … according to informed sources.

Aspen police were getting nowhere in their efforts to identify a corpse uncovered by melting ice in the Roaring Fork River near the Neale Street Bridge, nor could they determine what killed the man.

He was found under a log jam when [two] fishermen saw his feet and lower legs sticking out from under the snow [at the edge of the river]. Deputy Coroner Gary Haynes estimated the man had been [there] for two or three months … autopsy results were consistent with drowning as the cause of death, but did not conclusively establish that the man had drowned. While an external examination of the body did not indicate shooting or stabbing … foul play had not been ruled out.

– compiled by John Colson

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