25-50-100 Years Ago
September 17, 2009
The Punch Bowl on Independence Pass has long been a spot for daring leaps. A century ago, The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:As is generally known, a majority of our teaching corps made a trip to the Punch Bowl last Saturday. A story is just leaking out of a thrilling incident that chilled the marrow in the bones of all those who witnessed it. The story is best told in the language of one of those present:”The day, scenery and crowd were all that goes to make an outing a most enjoyable one. The one event worth chronicling was the narrow escape of Mr. Querton, the high school principal. Being an athlete, he attempted to leap from one rock to another – a distance of some three feet – but the rocks were slippery owing to recent rains, and instead of landing on the opposite side as intended, he found himself floundering in the depths of a turbulent stream. Mr. Blank gallantly came to the rescue and through his presence of mind saved Mr. Querton and his cap from an untimely end. The only loss sustained by Mr. Querton was some loose coin which he generously contributed to the trout, as it rapidly descended to the bottom of the stream. He attributed his misfortune to the fact that there were thirteen in the party.”
These days, some transit advocates wish there were a commuter train serving the Roaring Fork Valley. A steam train was under discussion 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:Although officials of the D&RGW Railroad squelched the idea of a steam train between Aspen and Glenwood recently, they have offered to discuss the matter further.The proposal was made to the railroad August 28 during a joint meeting of the Glenwood Springs and Aspen chambers of commerce. At that time, representatives of the D&RGW said they could offer no hope that the railroad would consider the matter.At the meeting were Bert Gregory, executive representative in the office of the railroad’s president, and C.E. McEnany, superintendent at Grand Junction.The offer to give the matter more consideration was made by Gregory in a letter to the Glenwood chamber. Gregory thanked the Glenwood and Aspen bodies for the idea and said he would welcome the chance to discuss the proposition again at another joint meeting.The reason given by the railroad for turning down the idea during the first meeting was that the train would not be able to pay for itself. … They estimated that the trip would have to have 400 round-trip customers per day at a $10 fare in order for the train to be profitable.Fifty years ago, a new T-bar was to be the new lift at Buttermilk. The Aspen Times reported:Keeping step with Aspen’s other two ski areas, Buttermilk Mountain will add a new lift this fall to be ready by the beginning of the winter season.According to officials of the Buttermilk Mountain Corporation, the new lift will be a Doppelmayr T-Bar and will be designed for beginning skiers.To be about 1,000 feet long, the new installation is to have a vertical drop of approximately 75 feet. It will start on the flat below and to the east of the restaurant and run roughly parallel to the bottom section of the existing lift.Corporation officials hope that when completed, the new lift will take much of the pressure off the original T-Bar by providing a place where beginners may learn to ride.This should permit them to operate the existing lift at greater speed, they explained.
Wealth in Aspen is nothing new. A quarter-century ago, per-capita income in Pitkin County was tops in the state. The Aspen Times reported:Pitkin County, of which Aspen is the county seat and tourism the major industry, had the highest per capita income in the state during 1982, a recently released survey reported.Conducted by the Colorado Public Expenditures Council, a privately-funded agency that studies public spending and economic trends, the report stated that the 1982 per capita income for Pitco was $17,186.The council concluded that, in general, the highest income counties are stacked across the top half of the state, with the lowest across the bottom. …Overall, per capita income in the state rose by 165 percent during the decade between 1972 and 1982, the report added.- compiled by Janet Urquhart