25-50-100 years ago…
December 10, 2009
There was no quick evacuation from Warren Lakes atop Smuggler Mountain a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:The party who broke the trail to Warren’s lake yesterday to bring to Aspen Mr. and Mrs. Warren were Charles McBride, Mate Bradley, Norman Ashlock and Schuyler Swearinger. The party had with them five saddle horses. John Harmon drove a sleigh and Mr. and Mrs. Warren and party returned to the city at 7:30 last night after a strenuous trip over Smuggler Mountain and through deep snow. Mr. Warren, whose hip was injured in an accident several weeks ago, is now receiving the best medical attention possible at the home of his father-in-law, Mr. Glace, of Ute addition. To say that Mr. and Mrs. Warren were glad to see the men from town is putting it mildly.Winter or not, mining continued up Lincoln Creek, in the mountains southeast of Aspen, a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported: The Ruby mine in Lincoln gulch will continue mining operations during the winter with a force of 15 men. At the present time, a crew of twelve men are engaged in driving a crosscut a distance of 200 feet to cut a vein carrying good values in silver and lead which was opened up in the mine several weeks ago. This new ore body, in addition to the old ore bodies, will keep the mill running to its capacity next summer. In the spring, a new pipeline 700 feet in length will be constructed to carry water to the mill and will obviate any shortage of water supply for milling operations. During the past two months, a large amount of supplies have been taken to the mine by Aspen freighters. Once the mill is producing concentrates, the Ruby product will be freighted to Aspen and sent to the smelters from this point.
Nowadays, the annual Elk Mountains Grand Traverse challenges skiers to cross the mountains from Crested Butte to Aspen in a formal race. Fifty years ago, two skiers training for the Olympics did it on their own. The Aspen Times reported: The lure of Aspen proved too strong to be resisted this week by two Olympic cross country squad members training at Crested Butte. Monday, they skied and hiked the 30-odd miles over the mountains to Aspen. The two skiers, Leo Massa of Matawan, N.J., and Dick Taylor of Gilford, New Hampshire, had been working out in the Gunnison County town with two other members of the Olympic nordic combined squad. Due to report to the cross country training camp at Granby next week, the two decided to visit Aspen before entering official training. Leaving Crested Butte at 5 a.m. Monday morning, they hiked and skied over the mountains, covering the 30-odd miles in about eight hours. The route used was over East Maroon Pass. Aspen is no stranger to Hollywood, nor was it 50 years ago, when a made-for-TV film was to be shot at the resort. The resulting movie still airs on local TV from time to time. The Aspen Times reported: Filming will start this month on Aspen Mountain for an hour-long TV spectacular to be produced and directed by Fred Iselin for a major Hollywood studio. Iselin, who is co-director of the Aspen Ski School, announced that plans had been completed for the film during a visit in Hollywood last week. He returned to Aspen Wednesday, Dec. 3. The film, Iselin stated, would be a skiing story about a little girl who lives at the Sundeck. It will star Susan Wirth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Wirth. Also scheduled to appear in the film are Jean Tournier, comic skier from Chamonix, France; Iselin and Hobo, a local St. Bernard. Michael Murphy, Hollywood cameraman who worked on “Adventure in Alaska” with Lowell Thomas and other major productions, will be head cameraman on the Aspen movie, Iselin states. An Aspenite, Waddy Catchings, has been signed as unit manager. Other local skiers are to be asked to work in the film when shooting starts, the producer indicated. Iselin hopes to solicit the aid of local children for a children’s race sequence. There will also be a night scene which calls for a large group of local residents.
A fire in the community center was front-page news in The Aspen Times a quarter-century ago. The paper didn’t offer much information about where the center was exactly, but it apparently contained low-income housing for senior citizens, as well as a day-care facility. The Times reported: Buckled into a high chair at her day care room in the community center, little Megan was celebrating her birthday around lunchtime on Monday. But before she could enjoy her cake, Megan was screaming in terror. And the next thing she knew, she was being rushed away from a room-turned-inferno, through a smoke-filled hallway and to safety in the community center’s snowy parking lot.Within minutes, the parking lot was filled with 16 wailing infants and their frantic parents, a dozen senior citizens, horrified into silence, and an army of firemen, medics and police officers. It was because a handful of people in the community center thought fast and on their feet that nobody was injured in a fire that consumed one room and all of its contents, and caused massive smoke damage to the entire wing that houses senior citizens and infants.Longtime locals still recall shopping at Elli of Aspen, located at a busy downtown corner (the space is now a bank, and the building is no longer blue). Twenty-five years ago, shopkeeper Elli Iselin marked 30 years in business. The Aspen Times reported: Elli of Aspen is a landmark. The sports shop, housed in a bright blue Victorian building at the corner of Mill and Main, has been in business since Thanksgiving 1954 when it was opened by Elli and Fred Iselin.Although Elli Iselin sold the store in 1978 to Aspen Sports and Gorsuch Ltd (of Vail), she has continued a personal interest and can be found still working in the shop every day.The shop hasn’t changed much under the new ownership … the addition of handmade Alpine furniture by Gorsuch Ltd. has only added to the quaint European ambiance of the premises. Only once did Elli try to make much of a change. “About seven years ago I had replaced the wood siding on the outside of the building and the wood was so pretty, I wanted to leave it natural,” she explains. “The city came and told me I had to repaint it to blue. They said it was historic. I said that made me historic. “The building was yellow when I started my ski shop there. Herbert Bayer is the one who decided in 1954 that I should paint it blue.” – compiled by Janet Urquhart