25-50-100 Years Ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 Years Ago

Chris Cassatt/Aspen Times fileAlexi Grewal - Aspen's "Golden Boy," according to the headline in The Aspen Times - was the center of attention in early August 1984, after he captured Olympic bicycling gold.

“Gold is where you may find it,” screamed the headline in The Aspen Democrat-Times a century ago, when the newspaper was rife with articles about the hunt for gold in the Aspen vicinity. The Democrat-Times reported:

Notwithstanding the fact that numbers of one-day prospectors have fallen victims to chronic cold feet, the search for the yellow metal continues and ere long, the old legend “survival of the fittest” will have full exemplification in the reward that will accrue to those who have met and overcome the hardships incident to prospecting in a rugged country and have yet had the heart to persevere.

Last night Frank Croman got returns from a four-inch streak in his property on the Roaring Fork of $95 in gold and $5 in silver to the ton. This morning, E. L. Ogden accompanied Mr. Croman to the property. This property is one of those which have been condemned, drawn and quartered the past month by all the Gloomy Gusses in this county. Whether this claim will ever take its place in the ranks of bonanza shippers, time alone will demonstrate.

The Times-Democrat also jumped on a development in local rail activity:

This morning the Midland train went out over the Rio Grande Track.

A number of rumors were in circulation as to the cause for this, and The Democrat-Times, desiring to get information from the fountain-head, sent a reporter to Joint Agent Graves.

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The reporter found Mr. Graves in jocular mood and was informed that the depot grounds at Snow Mass had been burned, the rails consumed by fire and the bridge slightly damaged, but failed to state whether or not the river had gone up in smoke, for the reason, perhaps, he had not been able to figure out if the water would go up in smoke or steam.

Fully satisfied that he had received all that could or would be imparted to him at the depot, the reporter gracefully retired and later learned that at 12 o’clock last night the agent at Snow Mass awoke and discovered three or four spans of the railroad bridge ablaze. After notifying those “higher up” he did what he could to extinguish the fire. Before the fire was subdued, however, about 280 feet of bridge and trestle had been consumed, leaving but four spans at the east end bridge intact.

It is supposed the fire started from sparks from the engine on the up run last night.

The local hospital was about to come under new management 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Aspen’s Pitkin County Hospital will have a new management this fall when its new wing is opened if negotiations now under way between local hospital officials and the Mennonite Board of Missions are successful.

An evangelical Protestant sect, the Mennonites operate over 65 hospitals and nursing homes in this country as part of their church service program.

In Colorado they now manage hospitals at La Junta, Rocky Ford and Glenwood Springs, where they manage both the Mountain View Nursing Home and Valley View Hospital. All are run on a non-profit, non-sectarian basis.

Parking in Aspen has long been an issue. A half-century ago, vehicles in the alleyways were the problem. The Times reported:

Following a complaint voiced by local resident John Weaver, the City Council decided to enforce current no parking regulations in alleys at its meeting Monday, Aug. 3.

The decision followed a discussion of Weaver’s complaint during which Weaver, local phone company manager, explained that often company trucks were blocked by parked cars.

Aspen has lately debated whether or not to honor Lance Armstrong’s accomplishments. Twenty-five years ago, there was no question that Aspen’s “Golden Boy,” bicyclist Alexi Grewal, would be honored for his gold-medal Olympic performance. A downtown parade took place, and The Aspen Times interviewed the man of honor:

“There’s always one real moment of crisis in a race,” says Alexi Grewal, “a point where you really don’t know if you can do it or not.

“The crisis in this one” – and by “this one” Grewal means the 118-mile Olympic cycling road race – “was on the last long climb, about three miles from the finish.

“Bauer was keeping up the pace and he was really hurting me. I mean,” and now he can laugh out loud about it, “I really wasn’t having a good time. I was starting to crack. I didn’t know what to do. I was dying. There was no one from my team there to help me. I didn’t know if I could outsprint Bauer at the finish.

“I was ready to just drop off and settle for second place.”

But he didn’t drop off. He hung on and fought past that crisis. And at the finish line he found that, yes, he could outsprint Canada’s Steve Bauer – he could and he did and now Aspen’s Alexi Grewal owns an Olympic gold medal.

– compiled by Janet Urquhart

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