25-50-100 Years Ago
An accident at the local train station was front-page news in The Aspen-Democrat Times a century ago. The newspaper reported:
About 2 o’clock this afternoon a serious accident occurred at the union depot.
Lee C. Boyer had driven his dray [a cart] in between the main and a side track in front of the freight depot and was loading a car with household furniture.
At the same time a switch crew was switching a number of cars loaded with ore and cut loose fifteen cars on the main track, the engine endeavoring to make the main track in time to catch the cars on the run.
When the cars that had been cut loose were near the dray, Yardmaster Tarbell noticed the circumstance and shouted to Boyer to drive out, which the latter tried to do but the train caught the dray and horses before a move could be made.
The impact threw Boyer down between the horses, while the animals, dray and furniture were crushed between the two trains.
When the train was finally drawn away, Boyer was found to have received a badly cut face, an abrasion on the scalp and a bruised body. …
The fifteen cars had, one after another, hammered one of the horses, breaking a rib and driving a sliver of wood into its flank. The animal was taken to Smullings barn and will probably die.
These days it’s all about catch-and-release, but a half-century ago a lot of trout likely found their way into a frying pan. Fifty years ago, under the headline, “Aspen Fisherman Catches 576 Trout,” The Aspen Times offered this tidbit:
Although he says the fishing in the Aspen area “hasn’t been so good this year,” Homer Jaycox had caught 576 trout through Labor Day, September 7.
Jaycox, a printer at The Aspen Times, attributed the fact that he is slightly behind his pace of past years to “a lot of rain” and “roily waters.”
He has gone fishing 70 days since the season opened May 16. During this time, he has caught his limit 42 times.
Even a half-century ago, the fledgling resort that was Aspen recognized the power of the press as a marketing tool. The Aspen Times reported:
Eighty-five travel editors and writers from the country’s leading newspapers will visit Aspen briefly next week as part of a Colorado tour sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Motorists of the AAA.
The group, which also includes leading AAA travel counselors, was invited to Colorado to see the beauties of the climate in the post summer season.
After a weekend in Grand Junction, the tour will motor to Aspen by chartered bus next Monday, Sept. 14, and is scheduled to arrive here at about 5:30 PM.
The editors and counselors will then be transported by private car to their motels. Lodging has been donated by the various Aspen establishments. …
Tuesday morning, three itineraries will be offered to the visitors. They will be able to ride the double chairlift at the Highlands, visit Toklat lodge or drive to Maroon Lake.
These days, people interested in exploring the high country on Independence Pass near Aspen are encouraged to stick to the trail, but a quarter-century ago, visitors were apparently tromping around with abandon. The Aspen Times reported:
People are trampling the delicate tundra on Independence Pass, and forest service officials are wondering what to do about it.
Last month, forest service staffers from the Leadville and Aspen ranger districts met at Independence Pass to assess the existing management of the area, and to discuss how they might better manage it in the future.
So far, no public issues have surfaced regarding forest service management of the area. But officials are concerned about several potential problems.
Among them is the vulnerability of the high alpine tundra, which is routinely trampled by people on or near paths (and over the years creating new paths).
Officials are also concerned that existing trail signs and markers do not meet forest service standards, and that because the pass is one of the most-visited mountain passes in Colorado, it deserves a higher standard of management.
– compiled by Janet Urquhart
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