25-50-100 Years Ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 Years Ago

Courtesy Aspen Historical SocietyA Colorado Midland Railroad passenger train, circa 1900. In 1909, Aspen was experiencing a shortage of train cars - not for hauling passengers, but hauling ore.

There was a “car famine” in Aspen a century ago, according to The Aspen-Democrat Times, but the problem was not a dearth of automobiles. The newspaper reported:The shortage of cars in Aspen is greatly interfering with the operation of the Aspen Sampler and the Taylor & Brunton sampler.The matter has been taken up with the railroad companies and the Rio Grande officials say they will look into the car situation in Aspen. Last night a special train of empties was ordered out of Colorado City by the Midland officials. The train is expected to arrive in the city tonight.Now, wouldn’t that jar you!It has been a long time since we experienced a car famine in our little old town. We wonder if the railroad companies, listening to a few of our local knockers, refrained from sending cars here for fear that when the bottom fell out of the camp, the cars would go down to China with the balance of the wreck?By the way, have you noticed the number of ex-knockers who are trying to get into the choice seats in the booster wagon?Speaking of a car famine calls to mind the fact that the samplers have recently been advertising for men to properly handle their increasing business – and this indicates that the output of ore is greater now than in years past.

Bears are frequently in the news these days in Aspen. A bear hunter made headlines a half-century ago. The Aspen Times reported:A local bear hunter found last week that it was easier to let the bears come to him.Avril Startup had been hunting bears with a bow and arrow for the past three years without success. Saturday, Sept. 19, he was tracking them high in the Woody Creek area when he became just plain discouraged. Giving up, he sat down to rest before heading home.His nap was interrupted by the progress of a 300-pound black she-bear moving in his direction. His old interest in bruins revived quickly.The first arrow traveled fifty yards and hit its target. Rearing and snorting, the animal charged through the brush at the marksman. Startup waited until the bear was thirteen yards away, then put the second arrow through its heart.A local watering hole was about to change hands 50 years ago. The Times reported:One of Aspen’s landmarks, Newt’s Bar, will change hands at the first of the year if arrangements made last week are satisfactory.According to Newt Klusmire, owner of the establishment, a group headed by John Barr and Fran Brady, Aspen, and Charles Warren, Denver, have signed an option to purchase which must be exercised by the first of next year.The prospective owners are now managing the restaurant bar under its former name. They have not announced a name for their new firm.Klusmire bought the bar three years ago. Before he purchased it, it was known as Mario’s, and before receiving that name it was called the Silver Grill.

The feds had Aspen’s Smuggler Mine in their sights a quarter-century ago. The Aspen Times reported:The mine tailings at Smuggler Mountain will probably be included in the Environmental Protection Agency’s next list of hazardous waste sites, which is expected to be released any day.Meanwhile, the EPA has notified all residents within one kilometer of the tailings that it will hold a public meeting on the issue tonight, and that it will conduct blood tests of children in the area….The Smuggler mine tailings have been the target of extensive testing during the past three years, since it was discovered that they contain above-normal concentrations of lead and cadmium.Aspen was about to poised to get jet service 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:Aspen will soon have its first jet commercial air service, it was announced this morning by officials of Aspen Airways, the Denver-based airline that serves Aspen.The firm has placed an order with British Aerospace for two four-engine BAe 146-100 regional fanjet planes and is negotiating an option for six more.

– compiled by Janet Urquhart

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