25-50-100 years ago
There was little local news during the first week of December 1909 in The Aspen Times-Democrat, but an Elks Lodge event received promotional ink several times in advance of the occasion. On Dec. 2, 1909, the newspaper reported:On next Sunday evening at 8:00 o’clock at the Wheeler Opera House, Aspen lodge No. 224 Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, will host its annual memorial service.This annual memorial service, when the “Absent Brothers” are recalled to the minds of all in tender recollection and affection, is peculiarly a feature of Elkdom. It is a touching tribute to the memory of those who have passed to the Great Beyond, and typifies the great principle of the order – “The faults of our brothers, we write upon the sand; their virtues upon the tablets of love and memory.” No nobler sentiment than this could be expressed, and it is the foundation upon which Elkdom rests. This sentiment permeates this great organization and is an Elk’s idea and conception of true fraternalism – that and his love of home and the protection of all womankind. No one should fail to attend these services as they are strengthening, morally and spiritually.
Aspen recently hosted women’s World Cup ski racing – a chance to see top racers from around the world in advance of the February Winter Olympics. Fifty years ago, U.S. ski racers hit the local slopes. The Aspen Times reported: The men and women who will carry the United States’ colors in the forth-coming Winter alpine ski races are now in Aspen training for the February events. They are participating in an official National Ski Association training camp sponsored by the town of Aspen. The camp began here on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Four days earlier, however, the participants convened at the Broadmore Hotel for a banquet and two days of physical exercise as guests of the hotel. The 22 racers, 9 girls and 12 boys, will train in Aspen until Dec. 22, when the camp will disband. Training will resume on Jan. 4 and last until Jan. 10. During the last weekend, the Olympic hopefuls will compete in a series of tryout races. Results of these will be used to pick the team which will compete in Squaw Valley.House fires seemed to be a regular part of the news in late 1959. The Dec. 4, 1959 Aspen Times offered this report: Despite cold weather and obstructions from well-meaning but distracting onlookers, firemen were able to extinguish a blaze in a residence at the northeast corner of Fifth and West Main Thanksgiving Day, but it took them two hours to do it. Occupants of the house were Curly Martin, a carpenter and plumber employed by a local contractor, and his wife and four children, ranging in ages from pre-school to 16 years old. Starting where an overheated pipe from a coal stove ran against a kitchen wall, the fire had shot up the hollow wall of the old buiding and was burning in the attic when the local volunteer fire department arrived on the scene shortly after 11:15 a.m. It then spread to shingles on the roof which were covered with tar paper. Extinguishing the fire in the burning shingles, protected from streams of the firemen’s hoses by the tar paper, gave the volunteers considerable trouble, Chief Clymer explained. … Chief Clymer estimated the damage at $2,500. Thanksgiving dinner, in the oven when the firemen arrived, was not harmed.On a related note, the newspaper reported: Fines of $30 each were levied against two Aspenites in City Court Friday evening, Nov. 27, for driving over fire hoses Thanksgiving Day. Defendants John P. Greene and J.B. Carson both pleaded not guilty but were judged guilty by City Magistrate Gene Mason. Both indicated they did not know there was a law prohibiting the practice.
A spat involving Aspen Highlands, then a separately owned ski area, and the Aspen Skiing Co., was headed to the nation’s highest court 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported: Aspen Highlands’ suit against the Aspen Skiing Company is apparently of more than local interest – it’s going to the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation’s highest court Monday agreed to hear the five-year-old case, in which Aspen Highlands accused the Ski Company of violating federal antitrust laws. Highlands claimed ASC welshed on a joint-lift-ticket agreement, deliberately monopolizing ticket sales during the 1977-78 ski season. Highlands won a $2.5 million judgment from a federal grand jury in June 1981. The amount was tripled to $7.5 million, a standard action in antitrust cases. In addition to awarding the money, the court entered an injunction requiring the Ski Company to cooperate with Highlands in multiple-area passes. That injunction has expired, but the companies are continuing the arrangement this season anyway. … According to the original suit, filed in 1979, ASC told Aspen Highlands in May 1978 that it wouldn’t participate in sales of four-area ski tickets any more unless Highlands agreed to take a smaller split of the proceeds.And speaking of Aspen Highlands, the ski area planned to discontinue helicopter skiing in Highland Bowl during the winter of 1984-85. In those days, the bowl wasn’t a regularly accessible, hike-to part of the Highlands terrain, as it is today. The Aspen Times reported:Aspen Highlands has decided against continuing helicopter skiing service in Highlands Bowl this winter. The decision was mainly an economic one, according to ski patrol director Mac Smith, although the deaths of three ski patrolmen in the bowl last winter played a part. “It was not lucrative last year,” says Smith. “We had way too many expenditures for the number of people who wanted to go.” He says the ski area might consider reinstating heli-skiing in some future winter, if it could be marketed to create more interest. Perhaps more critical is the decision of whether the patrol will continue doing avalanche control work in Highland Bowl. Smith said the ski company hasn’t yet decided. -compiled by Janet Urquhart
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City of Aspen officials are trying to figure out what the downtown core looks like this winter as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the state and in some parts of the country.