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

Photo courtesy The Aspen Historical SocietyRecords indicate this photo shows a "chorus line" of local women " including Mary Ella Stallard, whose home now houses the Aspen Historical Society, standing fourth from the right " who took part in the Aspen Elks' Club minstrel shows in the early part of the 20th century. It is not known if this particular group was involved in a special Ladies' Minstrel Show being publicized in April 1909 to raise money for construction of a hospital clinic at the Aspen Fair Grounds.
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In the spring municipal election, challenger Charles Wagner beat out incumbent W.G. Cain for the mayor’s job, a political changing of the guard that caused Aspen Democrat Editor Charles “Cap” Dailey to wax exultant over the incumbent’s snubbing of the local Democratic machine.

Mayor Cain made a blunder, and blunders of that kind are known as political crimes and are generally punished as such … He denied his friends the privilege of placing his name before the [local Democratic] convention for nomination … only to surrender himself at the eleventh hour to the wiles of a few political acrobats and mountebanks, only to go down in disastrous defeat to be shunned by his late associates and spurned by his former political friends.

The editor also used the election outcome to chide his rival, B. Clark Wheeler of The Aspen Times, whom Dailey now called “Crazy Horse Wheeler,” for being improperly registered and nearly being denied the chance to vote for Wheeler’s candidate, incumbent Cain.

[Wheeler] insisted that his old room in the opera house block [in precinct 2] was his proper residence notwithstanding he now lives and has lived in precinct 3 for the past four months. After fuming and shaking his fist in the face of one of the lady judges … a majority of the elections officials permitted him to vote. In thus forcing his vote in a precinct in which he does not live, old C.H. has clearly broken the law and it will be no surprise if he is prosecuted to the limit.

Statewide, voters in many towns were deciding whether to stay “wet,” meaning to allow liquor to be sold and consumed in the community, or to go “dry,” as was demanded by the “Anti-Saloon League of Colorado.”

Twelve out of twenty-four cities and towns … go dry. The twelve towns are Grand Junction, La Junta, Canon City, Swink, Monument, Aroya, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Ft. Collins and Colorado City. The temperance people expect to lose Durango, Steamboat Springs and Trinidad … Montrose put seven saloons out of business.

Meanwhile, the communities of Glenwood Springs and Leadville opted to stay “wet,” while one nearby town, Basalt, went the other way, as summarized in a pair of articles.

The town went dry by 12 votes, 6 of which, it is claimed, were imported from Cardiff [a now defunct community near Glenwood Springs]. The vote making the town dry will be contested on the ground that the proposition [ballot question] embraced the territory from Leadville to Cardiff [presumably following a line over Hagerman Pass, although that was not stated in the article.]

A small front-page announcement somewhat mysteriously summoned the “Ladies Minstrel Chorus” to a meeting.

All members of the chorus for the lady minstrels are requested to meet in the upstairs parlors of the Jerome Hotel at 7 o’clock this evening.

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

As the fallout continued from Aspen’s decision to retain local control over its schools, rather than be part of a larger district ranging from Glenwood Springs to Aspen as proposed by the state, the residents of Basalt chose to do the opposite.

At a meeting called by the Pitkin County Reorganization Committee, some 60 Basalt residents voted in favor of such a plan [becoming part of a district with Carbondale and Glenwood Springs]. Only 4 people opposed the idea. The committee … has not yet worked out details of the new plan [which will] will replace the Aspen-Basalt-Carbondale-Glenwood Springs plan.

When the ski lifts closed down, Aspenites turned to other forms of entertainment, and The Aspen Times kept track.

Skiing may be more or less finished for the year, but bowling rolls on. In the businessmen’s league at Aspen Lanes, the Abstract Company team split two and two with Newt’s to maintain their lead. Meanstwhile, Beck and Bishop took four games from Aspen Lumber and Supply to gain second place.

A local educator had just won a grant to help produce a series of national educational films.

Robert Lewis, Aspen High School science teacher, has been granted a year’s leave of absence by the school board so that he can accept a grant … to work on an American institute of Biological Science-sponsored project. Lewis will leave for Kansas City in June where he will spent 15 months on the preparation of a series of 120 films to be used in teaching biology to high school and college students.

In other education-related news, the paper reported that teachers at the Aspen schools were about to get a raise.

At last week’s meeting, the Aspen School Board decided to raise the base pay for teachers with a Bachelor’s degree from $3,800 to $4,100 and from $4,100 to $4,400 for teachers with a Master’s degree.

An avalanche killed three veteran ski patrollers at Aspen Highlands, while they were doing avalanche control work in the Highlands Bowl area, resulting in the closure of the area to all but special excursions.

Although the fatal avalanche was triggered by their own explosives, it appears that the three men … took appropriate measures to ensure their own safety. Several eyewitness accounts … confirm that veteran patrolmen Chris Kessler, 27, Craig Soddy, 29, and Tom Snyder, 35, were well above the slide they triggered when the stable snow above them cracked. The slide occurred exactly two years after Snowmass patrolman Roberto Gasperl was killed while doing avalanche control work at Snowmass.

The paper reported in the same edition that snowfall for the year had broken previous records.

With a snowfall of 221 inches as of April 1, this winter of 1983-84 has already broken the record for the most snow. The previous record was the winter of 1964-65 with a total snowfall of 219 inches. Records have been kept [by Jim Markalunas at the Aspen Water Plant] since the winter of 1933-34. [Previous] big snow winters [with more than 200 inches, included] 1935-36 with 207 inches, 1961-62 with 201 inches; 1964-65 … 1981-82 with 206 inches, 1982-83 with 216 inches.

Longtime area rancher Mike Strang threw his hat into the political ring.

Strang announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the race for [the 3rd Congressional District] seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Strang, 54, a Missouri Heights rancher and Aspen stock brokerage executive, is seeking the post vacated by Rep. Ray Kogovsek of Pueblo, who is retiring after three terms in Congress.

– compiled by John Colson


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