25-50-100 years ago
November 19, 2009
Despite the efforts of local clergymen to halt the performance, “The Soul Kiss” found its way onto the Wheeler Opera House stage a century ago. There was, as it turned out, nothing particularly suggestive about the musical comedy. “It was not so naughty,” The Aspen Times-Democrat headline declared. The newspaper reported:”The Soul Kiss” company came, performed and is gone, and to a close observer, the standard of morality in our little city is as high today as it was on Saturday. The Wheeler Opera House was packed almost to its capacity last night and the audience witnessed one of the best performances seen in Aspen in a number of years. The people composing the ensemble were good to look at, the costumes were not alone gorgeous, but were fresh and clean, while the scenery and light effects added charm to the production. … The plot was not very deep nor complicated, and was designed in its culmination to show the triumph of good over evil. … There was no glaring display of the female form divine, not so much as at an ordinary circus performance to which older persons feel obligated to take the youngsters.With Thanksgiving Day approaching, things didn’t look good for the turkeys a century ago. The Aspen-Times Democrat reported:At the raffles and turkey shoots tonight, tomorrow and Monday, there will be enough birds to supply about half the people in town. One hundred live birds were received this morning for the raffle tonight at Rod Swartz’s cigar store on Hyman Avenue, next to Tony’s tonsorial parlor. As is the custom, these birds will have been distributed early in the evening. There are a number of turkey shoots scheduled for tomorrow at various ranches, chief among which will be that at the Kauble ranch on Brush Creek at 10 a.m. Tomorrow morning, Bus Eckberg will have a shoot at the rifle range near the state bridge on Castle Creek where anyone may get one or more turks by any old kind of shooting.But the premier “shoot” of the season will be the one to be pulled off by Stanley Watt at the rifle range beginning at 1 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. Will it be great? Well, yes! There will be at least fifty of the finest turkeys ever brought to this market, specimens of which are on exhibition in the show window next to Wagner’s tailoring establishment on Hyman Avenue.
For the second straight week, Aspen firefighters scrambled to extinguish a house fire 50 years ago, saving the residence and an adjacent building. The Aspen Times reported:For the second time in seven days, Aspen’s Volunteer Fire Department squelched a major conflagration before it could completely destroy a residence or spread to others.The alarm for the latest blaze was sounded at 1 a.m. Friday the thirteenth and firemen were on the scene at 219 W. Bleeker Street within five minutes of the call. Last week, firemen were able to save a good portion of a Red Mountain structure in which fire had made considerable headway. Notification of the Nov. 13 fire was given from the Clark Ilgen Sr. residence across the street. Flames were raging on the porch of the dwelling and in two front rooms. They had also spread to the wall and roof of the George McEwen residence and Leonard of Aspen photo studio next door. The main fire was in a dwelling built before the turn of the century and now owned by Ed Brennan. A man and woman living in the structure were not injured. At their height, flames “lit up the whole neighborhood,” according to firemen. However, by playing three hoses on the blaze, the local brigade was able to confine damage to those areas which were on fire when equipment arrived at the scene. Chief Clyde Clymer estimated damage to the Brennan house at $2,000 and $1,000 to the McEwen dwelling. McEwan and his mother were able to return to their house after the fire was put out.
Twenty-five years ago, an elected official in Basalt (a locale that apparently required pinpointing for readers who’d never been there) was pushing an annual tax on liquor outlets and a licensing authority to monitor watering holes. The Aspen Times reported: There was a time when Chuck Cole thought he may have had a drinking problem, but now it’s the town that he thinks has the problem. Cole, 40, is a member of the town’s Board of Trustees and is preparing a proposal to deal with the effects of the bottle on Basalt, located on the Western Slope between Glenwood Springs and Aspen, Colo. There are only eight liquor licenses in Basalt, but Cole said that when related to the town’s population of 653, the per-capita ratio of liquor licenses was significantly higher than area towns similar in nature. Cole said there is a liquor license for every 81.6 Basalt residents. In nearby Carbondale, the figure is a license for every 184.6 people, and in Glenwood Springs, one license for every 156.3 people. With the exception of nearby resorts Aspen (56.5) and Snowmass Village (48.0), Basalt’s per capita figure for liquor licenses is higher than any other town in the area, Cole said. Some locals, including ski company employees, were without a valid ski pass for opening weekend of 1984. The Nov. 22, 1984 edition of The Aspen Times reported:Resuming a policy that it first tried out around this time last year, the Aspen Skiing Company has announced it will only honor employee ski passes on a restricted basis during the opening weekend. Today through Sunday, around-the-neck passes held by employees, dependents, concessionaires and Aspen Ski Club members won’t be good for free skiing, says Jack Brendlinger, ASC director of public relations. The same goes for Aspen and Snowmass Resort Association wallet cards. Excepted, of course, are employees who are actually on duty. Everyone else who holds one of these cards will have to pay host-pass validation rates – $14 for a full day or $8 for a half day – to ski Aspen Mountain and Snowmass. – compiled by Janet Urquhart