25-50-100 Years Ago
July 29, 2009
Shacking up in Aspen was a criminal offense a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported on (as the headline noted) “Pitkin County’s most notorious ‘Mac'” in late July 1909:
Yesterday a complaint was filed in Justice Sanders’ court charging Ed Crellen with unlawfully living with Lida Falvey.
The warrant was placed in the hands of Sheriff Everett for service and Crellen was produced in the justice’s court at 10 o’clock this morning.
The complaint being read by Attorney Clark, acting as the district attorney. In answer to the question “Are you guilty or not guilty?” the defendant admitted he had been living with the woman and was not married to her and guessed he was guilty.
The court read Crellen a lecture in which he regretted that a man who was once a respected and useful member of the community should be brought before him so often for sentence, concluding by sentencing him to ten days in the county jail [and] suitable labor as be directed by the county commissioners.
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Crellen has been before the courts several times on similar charges in connection with Mrs. Falvey, the last time being confined in the city jail. After serving part time he made his getaway and left town with the woman.
A short time ago he returned and took up abode in a shack four feet by six near the one mile post on the Grande track. Their household arrangements were very unique. Their kitchen utensils were carefully concealed under sagebrush near the shack, while bedding, clean clothes and soiled clothing were distributed about the country and concealed in the bush. Each article was carried into the shack as needed.
Gambling in Glenwood Springs also made the news. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:
Patrick O’Neill, proprietor of the Silver Club saloon and gambling house, held a posse headed by Sheriff Wilmoth and Marshal Weidhammer at bay for three hours last night when they attempted to raid his place.
The trouble was an outgrowth of a brawl or fist-fight which followed the loss of $6,500 by a rich St. Louis man named Stacey Bray in O’Neill’s place last night. Bray played the roulette wheel and lost heavily.
A friend of his, Jeff Owens, told him later that the wheel was not run on the square and the two returned to the gambling house to make an investigation. O’Neill attacked Bray and knocked him down the stairs and it was then that the sheriff and marshal were summoned.
O’Neill stationed himself half way up the stairs with a gun in either hand and threatened the officers with death if they attempted to enter his establishment. They were finally obliged to retire.
New terrain and chairlifts at Aspen Highlands, then an independently owned ski area, were in the works 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:
Several new trails, a new Poma lift and another loading platform on the main Exhibition double chairlift are on the construction schedule for the Aspen Highlands, it was announced this week by Whip Jones, owner of the area.
The new trails, according to Jones, will link the top of the Golden Horn Ridge, which is to the right of the Thunder Bowl and above and to the left of the Exhibition lift, to the new loading platform.
They will be served by the Poma lift, scheduled to run from a point about one-third of the way up the Exhibition ridge to the top of the ridge.
This will be approximately 1,200 feet long and have a vertical rise of about 600 feet. It will be designed to have a capacity of 400 skiers per hour.
Trails and lift will be strictly for expert skiers, Jones stated, and will permit them to ski on the steepest possible slopes without using those designed for beginners and intermediates.
Twenty-five years ago, Aspen turned out to watch the tennis greats of the day do battle on the court in a fundraiser at The Aspen Club. The Aspen Times reported:
The concept of celebrity may never be properly defined or explained, but whatever it is, it drew hundreds to the Aspen Tennis Festival this weekend and raised thousands of dollars for the battle against cerebral palsy.
Tennis stars John McEnroe and Vitas Gerulaitis – backed by a field of lesser luminaries and a small army of ABC contract entertainers – put on a crowd-pleasing weekend at the Aspen Club, including two hours of network programming on ABC’s Wild World of Sports.
Those who didn’t receive free passes (which seemed to be available through any one of a dozen channels) paid $25 to $500 to attend.
Then, as now, the Hunter Creek Valley was a popular playground for Aspenites, but crossing the creek was something of a challenge after a former iteration of today’s Benedict Bridge was washed away. The Aspen Times reported:
An unlikely alliance of government and private sector forces are gearing up to make permanent the restoration of access to the Hunter Creek Valley.
Dick Fenton, a leader in the movement to limit county property tax revenues in the past two elections, and county engineer Ron Thompson are looking for ways to replace Jim Auster’s spruce bridge with a more permanent structure across Hunter Creek.
Auster, the manager for property owned by Fritz Benedict along Hunter Creek, cut the 190-year-old spruce tree on July 18. Its 80-foot length provides a safe, easy span across the now-calm creek but won’t last when high water returns.
Trails worker David Weiss has added a rope guide that makes the two foot in diameter bridge an easy crossing.
The Benedict Bridge, washed out in early July by a flash flood, was built in the early 1970s with volunteer efforts.
– compiled by Janet Urquhart