25-50-100 Years Ago
A century ago, Aspen celebrated the Fourth of July with sports at the fairgrounds, fireworks and a grand ball, according to The Aspen-Democrat Times. The newspaper reported:
The two days’ Fourth of July celebration was conducted along safer and saner lines than at any other time in the history of the camp. All seemed to enjoy themselves and there were but few slightly injured by fireworks.
The town was tastefully decorated, flags flying from the public buildings and business houses and many of the residences trimmed with flags and bunting.
On Sunday, many people went to the Scandinavian picnic at Pearson’s grove on Maroon Creek, to Ashcroft, Brush creek, Snow Mass, and other fishing and picnic resorts, and a delightful time was enjoyed by all until the afternoon when a heavy rain storm set in, lasting until late in the evening. The storm put a damper on the fireworks display at night.
Shortly after the noon hour [Monday], the Aspen City band paraded the streets discoursing popular airs. The band was out in the interest of the sporting events to be pulled off at the Fairgrounds, beginning at 2:30 o’clock. These sports consisted of a baseball game between the Elks and Eagle teams and three bicycle racing events.
The Aspen Times, publishing weekly in 1959, played up the planned Independence Day events in the July 2 issue:
Fire Chief Clyde Clymer is planning “an old-fashioned Fourth of July.” Previously, he had said “we’ll have things no one else has,” and inferred the trend would be modern.
Actually, the two statements are compatible. The term “old-fashioned” refers to the one-pound sky rockets that the firemen have secured for this year’s celebration.
The new items were not revealed by the Chief. But he says that no other town will have a similar display.
For the rockets, a special rocket launcher is now under construction on Aspen Mountain. The aerial show will be set off there as has been the custom in the past.
The pinwheels, fountains and other ground displays will be fired at the Durant Street end of Wagner Park.
No one was talking about global warming at an Aspen Institute lecture 50 years ago, but there was a focus on the need for an alternative energy source. As it turns out, certain predictions were a little off the mark. The Aspen Times reported:
James Tuck, head of Project Sherwood at Los Alamos Proving Ground, warned that present sources of energy would be exhausted about the year 2150. Tuck made this prediction at an Aspen Institute lecture at the Seminar Building Tuesday evening.
He predicted that present oil supplies would give out about the year 2000, coal would be completely exhausted by about 2005, uranium would provide energy for about another 150 years. After that, humans must find another source of energy.
The extensive use of sunlight as a power source was ruled out by Tuck. He said that the size of the generators needed would be so great that there would be room for nothing else on the face of the earth.
Project Sherwood, which Tuck directs, is aimed at finding a new power source. This source of energy would be the opposite of the present atomic reactions using uranium. Atomic power at present is generated by the splitting of heavy uranium atoms in a process called fission.
The new power source would involving the merging of very light atoms in a different process called fusion.
Twenty-five years ago, an Aspenite was headed for the Olympics and the town was gearing up for the Coors Classic bicycle races later in July. The Aspen Times reported:
A series of strong finishes in the Olympic Cycling Road Race Trials in Spokane, Washington has won Aspen’s Alexi Grewal a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.
Competing against the top racers in the country, Grewal, 23, finished second, third and fourth in the three Olympic Trial events to capture first place overall in the trials.
By winning his position, Grewal became one of nine Coloradans on the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team.
And speaking of bicycling, there was this report:
In less than three weeks – on Wednesday, July 18, to be exact – several hundred of the world’s best bicycle racers will be competing here in Aspen in the Coors Classic.
The Classic is open this year exclusively to national teams, who will be racing in Colorado as a final tune-up before they head west for the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
The competition here will be demanding, a true test of the racers’ abilities, and the staging of the race will be demanding in and of itself – a true test of Aspen’s abilities to handle a world-class event.
– compiled by Janet Urquhart
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Aspen’s dirty downtown alleys are enough of a blight that the city government is taking the initiative to clean them up this week.