25-50-100 years ago
Copies of The Aspen Times from 1904 until 1909 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. To continue our journalistic history of Aspen, we include excerpts from The Aspen Democrat, the Times’ competitor 100 years ago.Spring sunshine had dried the roads – perfect for an outing in a brand-new rig! The paper reported,Wm. Tagerts and a number of men were kept busy yesterday afternoon unloading a car of fine new buggies and light wagons, especially fitted for the present fine weather when picnics are in order. As soon as the buggies were unloaded they were put together and set up for immediate use. From the “Boudoir Confidences” column was an item about the “Newest in Coiffures” (see photo).Fringes – as known in the nineteenth century – are now things of the past. Smart women wear a light, straight rouleau of hair on their foreheads, or wave the hair into an artistic frame for their faces, with one or two soft curls to break any hardness in the outline. And sometimes one curl is worn drawn to a point in the middle of the forehead. A few women, tall and with long, swanlike necks, dress their hair low, with a loose knot in the nape of the neck.
More fashion news in always fashionable Aspen reported the latest venture (which included janitor, bartender, bootlegger and town chauffeur) of one of Aspen’s favorite citizens.Hannibal Brown will today open a new bootblack parlor at 111 South Mill street, lately occupied by the Little Grocery, and from now on Hannibal will be prepared to furnish all kinds of shines at all times. He will also have a ladies’ parlor in connection and solicits the patronage of all.It may have been the Quiet Years, but Aspen citizens never seemed to relax. The paper reported the genesis of Wagner Park.Aspen can show more real live boosters to the square inch than any town of it size in the state. Here is a suggestion for the boosters of Aspen Beautiful by two of our most prominent and enterprising citizens.Yesterday E.L. Ogden of the Aspen Dry Goods company and Henry Koch of the Koch Lumber company were discussing some possible plan for providing a public park and recreation place for the people of Aspen.These two gentlemen were looking over a rather central location and one that could be secured cheap, and they finally suggested that the site of the old Clarendon hotel and the land in the immediate vicinity be secured and turned into a city park. A good deal of the property now belongs to the county and no doubt the owners of the land adjoining could be induced to sell at a reasonable price.With an eye to Aspen Beautiful and a source of pleasure and enjoyment to all citizens, The Democrat would suggest the clearing away and transforming this property into a beautiful park, a park that everyone can enjoy with a bandstand in the center, fresh green grass to roll on, nicely laid out gravel walks running from each corner to the bandstand in the center, recreation yards for the children, a tennis court, a croquet ground, etc., etc.This idea is well worth talking up. What a resort, what a comfort and what a pleasure a park of this kind would be.In spite of hopeful plans for the future, there were frequent reminders that things were falling apart in the present.
Last evening about 7:30 the residents on the hill near town were badly frightened by a loud crash which sounded right at hand and very odd. However, upon looking for the seat of the trouble, it was discovered that the big tin roof on the old J.B. Wheeler building on S. Mill had been torn loose, all except the front end, and thrown in the air by the small gusts of wind, then rising it fell across the front of the building and is now hanging clear down on the ground. It will probably be detached and cleared away today, as in its present condition it is a terror to those passing that way.
Today a rite of spring is the Ride for the Pass. Fifty years ago it was a politically correct Ski the Pass (see photo). Read on.The Colorado Rocky Mountain School has received permission from the Southern Rocky Mountain Ski Association to hold a First Annual Family Ski race on Independence Pass, Sunday, June 5.The course will be ready for practice runs on Saturday, June 4. Any two members of a family may enter as a team and by special request there will be races for bachelors and spinsters. There will be prizes for the several classes of skiers and ages as well as a grand prize for the family making the most points.Hear a blast from the fire siren? No, it’s not lunchtime, it’s turn-off-the-water time!A single blast of the fire siren last Monday for a scheduled fire drill by the fire department meant little more than a noise to most people, especially those running sprinkling devices on their lawns. One of the rules, yea even ordinances, says that upon the sound of the fire signal that ALL irrigation hydrants MUST be turned OFF.Fred Hendy, manager of the Aspen Water Company, reports that at the sound of the fire signal last Monday, the pressure did not go up one pound and even dropped when the fire boys turned on their hose, proving that householders did not remember the rule to turn off the irrigation. After all, it won’t be the Aspen Water Company’s house that burns but some citizen that probably failed to turn off the hose when some other guy’s house burned.Aspen Airport alterations were under way, just in time for the summer season. The paper reported,A lengthened, improved runway for the Aspen Airport and a twin-engine Cessna 310 will improve air facilities for Aspen this summer. The runway for the airport is being extended several hundred feet beyond its present length, and the trees at Owl Creek are being cut down to provide a better , safer landing approach. The strip is being graded to eliminate a rise which has been causing premature takeoffs. Also in the way of field improvements, a better drainage system is planned to insure a firm, dry field.The Cessna, one of the few twin-engine planes in this area, is being bought by the Aspen Institute for both its use and for the convenience of the Aspen community. The plane, now being equipped with a full line of radios and safety devices, is expected to be ready by mid-June.
One of Aspen’s most beloved features made its debut 25 years ago on Memorial Day weekend (see photo). Mary Eshbaugh Hayes wrote,The Mill Street Fountain will have its grand opening Friday, May 30, at 4:30 p.m. with the fountain playing amid smoke, rockets and balloons.The fountain is the joint creation of electronics wizard Nicholas DeWolf and sculptor Travis Fulton.Working on the project since May 1978, DeWolf designed the computerized controls while Fulton did the engineering for the hydraulics. …DeWolf explains further, “Travis was subconsciously looking for a spot and bam, there it was in the storm drain at Mill Street in front of the Wheeler Opera House.”Here was a spot where a fountain could leap out of the pavement and then go away again, back into the drain under the street instead of leaving an ugly dirty unused pool.[DeWolf] say, “My fondest hope is that the fountain will become a standard meeting place in Aspen – that whiling away a little time there will be entertaining.” …Members of the city council and DeWolf agreed to split the cost of the fountain materials 50-50 and DeWolf and Fulton contributed their labor.The tally at the end of the project is 4,200 hours for DeWolf, 750 hours for Fulton and $17,000 out of pocket for the city.Twenty-five years ago a portion of ranchland, now part of Burlingame, was purchased as open space. The paper reported, Park Trust, Ltd., in cooperation with Pitkin County, agreed Monday to buy 45 acres west of Aspen from Joseph Zoline over the next six years for open space purposes. Park Trust, Ltd., is a subsidiary of the Pitkin County Park Assn. County commissioners voted to spend $100,00 for the first of six parcels making up 45 acres. …
The $100,000 will come from existing sources – $15,000 in park dedication fees, the rest obtained when the county sold open space to Aspen Valley Hospital. …Park Trust is now planning a fund drive for about half the total purchase price of $600,000. That drive will be spread over the six years. …Zoline, although not obligated, has indicated an intention to make donations of conservation easements (he will restrict the use of this property to agricultural use, and not allow building).The Zoline property has been a priority for the Park Assn. and Open Space Advisory Board. It helps provide an entry into Aspen, establishing a boundary between the more agricultural and urban areas. Master planning efforts over the years have aimed at keeping the highway corridor scenic.A discussion, which seems to be ongoing, between parents and the school board was reported. The pupil-teacher ratio in the kindergarten of the public schools is a matter of concern to the parents of children who will be entering kindergarten next fall, parent Lynn Levinson told members of the school board at its recent meeting.”If you do not improve the pupil-teacher ratio, we won’t send our children to public kindergarten,” she told the board. …She stated that there are 56 students in the present kindergarten with two teachers and one aide. This makes a pupil-teacher ratio of 19 to one.”We want a ratio of 14 to one,” she told the board. “We want three teachers and an aide.” …Board member Dorothea Farris said she did not like the threat made by the parents … that they would not send their children to public school.
“We could retort that if we don’t get the money from taxes, we can’t provide the education,” she said.
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Highway 82 is closed in both directions Wednesday morning after a multiple vehicle crash, according to a Pitkin County alert.