25-50-100 Years Ago
September 4, 2009
“Giant Powder Claims Yet Another Victim,” screamed the headline in The Aspen-Democrat Times on Sept. 4, 1909. The newspaper reported:About 7 o’clock this morning a distressing accident occurred in the Smuggler mine, which will probably result in the death of Peter Peterson.When Peter Peterson, a machine man, and his helper, Lawrence Krasavic, went on shift this morning in the tenth level they found that one of the holes fired by the graveyard shift had only partially exploded. Peterson proceeded to reload the hole preparatory to shooting it out before putting his machine to work drilling. He tamped in two sticks of giant powder and was moving away from the hole when the explosion occurred.The other men on the tenth level and those at work on the ninth level heard the report, and no warning having been sent out, they surmised an accident had occurred and began an investigation.They soon found the two men. The force of the explosion had struck Peterson full in the face and his head looked as if it had been shot to pieces. Krasavic was stunned and had sustained numerous abrasions and bruises about the head and body from flying pieces of rock.The men were taken to the surface as speedily as possible where they were placed in a conveyance and taken to the Citizen’s hospital, where Dr. Lof, the house physician had been summoned….At last reports, Peterson was still alive but no hopes were entertained for his recovery.
These days, Aspen leaves winter snows up to Mother Nature, but a half-century ago, the resort contemplated lending a hand. The Aspen Times reported:The feasibility of conducting its own cloud seeding program with the help of a hired consultant was discussed by directors of the Chamber of Commerce at their regular meeting Tuesday, September 1.On the agenda was a decision as to whether or not the Chamber should again hire the Denver cloud seeding firm employed last January.Guest at the meeting was Dr. George Cowan, physicist from the Los Alamos Atomic energy laboratory, and an Aspen house owner. Dr. Cowan suggested that the chamber look into the possibility of interesting some university in conducting weather modification experiments in this area.These could be used for snow making purposes, he explained. Dr. Cowan also pointed out that cloud seeding generators were not complicated and would be easy to build.Colorado is now studying the feasibility of high-speed rail through the mountains, but 50 years ago, a train running the mountain route was losing money. On Sept. 3, 1959, The Aspen Times reported:Although some concern was expressed about D&RGW Railroad plans for dropping the “Mountaineer” train, the Aspen and Glenwood Springs Chambers of Commerce felt they could not insist that the railroad maintain highly unprofitable service.This was the conclusion reached at an amicable meeting of the two groups with railroad executives Friday evening, August 28. The railroad has petitioned the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to cancel the train and, according to D&RGW officials, the chances are good that the request will be granted.The “Mountaineer” … leaves Glenwood at 5:15 PM and arrives in Denver at 11 PM. The trip from Denver leaves at 8:30 PM and arrives at Glenwood at 2:40 in the morning.Bert Gregory, Executive Representative from the line’s headquarters in Denver, said that the train carried an average of 6.54 people per trip in 1958.He pointed out that the run lost $235,000 in 1957, $227,000 in 1958 and $42,000 during the first four months of 1959.
An Aspen audience was, at least potentially, in for a musical treat in early September 1984. The Aspen Times reported:’Twas the week before Christmas when Jimmy Buffett last performed in Aspen, and that so-called “Evening in Margaritaville” was a sellout and a musical success.That was just Jimmy and a guitar and a part-time accompanist, but this coming Tuesday, Sept. 11, you can see him with his whole Coral Reefer entourage – a tight-sounding unit that infuses Buffett’s folk melodies with just the right amount of blues funk and hard-driving rock ‘n’ roll. Even in the acoustic nightmare of the Aspen Club’s indoor tennis area, it should be about the most hard-driving show you’ll see in Aspen. And for the record, promoters say they’ve taken measures to improve the sound this time around.An added, but not guaranteed, attraction may be rockers Bob Seger and Glenn Frey. They’re lined up to play in Buffett’s golf tournament Monday and Tuesday and rumor has it they’ll get on stage at the concert.What was blowin’ in the wind near the old Smuggler Mine was of concern in Aspen 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:Is there lead and other heavy metals in the air blowing off the Smuggler Mine dumps? Concerned Aspenites will know within a few weeks if there is.For the past two and one-half weeks Environment and Ecology, a consulting firm from Denver working for the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has monitored the air in the Smuggler area.Using two monitoring devices owned by the city/county health department and two brought from Denver, the group hopes to conclude its tests within another week.Sample pads from the four machines are being sent to the EPA lab in Triangle Park, N.C., but Tom Dunlop, director of the local environmental health department, does not expect to know the results until sometime in October.The Aspen Skiing Co. was pitching a new zoning district to Pitkin County back in 1984. The Aspen Times reported:The Aspen Skiing Company thinks the zoning on Aspen and Buttermilk Mountains isn’t quite appropriate, and wants the Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission to think about changing it.Two spokesmen for the ski company made their case to the P&Z Tuesday.Nick McGrath and Fred Smith told the P&Z that the current zoning for agriculture and forestry doesn’t quite jibe with the way the ski company uses the land.The way the county land-use code is written, the company often has to go through costly and time-consuming procedures just to get conceptual approval for its improvements – many of which are pretty minor changes.What the ski company wants is for P&Z to create a new zoning district that better represents the kinds of things ski areas do with land.- compiled by Janet Urquhart