25-50-100 years ago… | AspenTimes.com
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25-50-100 years ago…

Devon Meyers/Aspen Times fileAspen Mayor Mick Ireland may not talk much about it now, but 25 years ago he was a reporter at The Aspen Times, and a ski racer for the Times team in a Media Cup competition.
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“Aspen not treated right by railroad companies” complained the headline in The Aspen Democrat-Times a century ago. The newspaper reported:

For many years past, Aspen has had to put up with all sorts of kinds of sick, wheezy, crippled and rheumatic engines, both on the passenger trains and in the yards.

Up to a few weeks ago, it required from two to six hours for old No. 23 to bring the Midland passenger to Aspen from Basalt and about the same condition existed on the Rio Grande and does at the present time. However the Midland took a spurt and the engine now on that road is all right and can make the trip on scheduled time.

But in our yards, holy smoke, the old wheezy switch-engine is so on the bum that it can’t work for more than an hour at a time without going to the hospital for repairs and to be tinkered with for two hours, when it is again ready for business for one hour. One hour on and two off, that is the way our switching crew has to work these days of railroad favoritism in Aspen.

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The result of having a bum switch engine is that on Saturday night at least seventy-five cars of ore were in the yards waiting to be made up in trains to be taken out, but the old switch engine was not equal to the occasion and the seventy-five cars are still in the yard.

Happenings at Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House often made the front page 100 years ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times offered this plug on Feb. 8, 1910:

There is nothing so wonderful as the human will. When exerted for good the results are startling. Go to the Wheeler Opera House tonight and see that wonderful film, “A Slave to Drink.” How the young man born with a thirst for liquor overcame the habit by his will power. Don’t miss it. It’s great.

The ski news in the Feb. 12, 1960 edition of The Aspen Times included this:

Bad Gastein had its FIS World Championship in 1958, Squaw Valley has the 1960 Winter Games, but Aspen will be the scene this Sunday, Feb. 14, of the one and only Saloon Slalom.

Billed as the 7th Annual World Championship Saloon Slalom, the race between Aspen’s arch-rivals, the Golden Horn and the Red Onion, will be held on the slopes of Buttermilk Mountain at 1 p.m.

Before Sunday’s race, the two purveyors of liquid refreshment will vie with each other at noon in a parade through the streets of Aspen. …

The competition was inaugurated in 1952 as part of the Winterskol Carnival by ex-Olympian Steve Knowlton and Dean Billings. Few rules were adopted. One that was requires every employee of each establishment to enter the parade and the race.

A penalty is imposed for every employee who does not participate in each of the two events. The race scoring is done by a complicated system of handicaps which baffles even the scorekeepers.

He would become a revered Aspen architect. In 1960, Herbert Bayer’s career took a step forward. The Aspen Times reported:

An Aspenite since 1946, Herbert Bayer, one of the world’s most famous designers, was granted a license to practice as an architect in Colorado this month.

Bayer, who studied and later taught at the renowned Dessau Bauhaus in Germany, has been acclaimed for his paintings, exhibition designs, photography and typography as well as for building designs.

At present he is chairman of the Design Department of the Container Corporation of America. He also does free lance work in all phases of design.

For his Colorado license, Bayer submitted plans and descriptions for several of the buildings which has designed in this country and abroad. Among the buildings with which he has been associated are the Aspen Meadows, the Aspen Health Center and the Aspen Meadows Central Building.

Twenty-five years ago, Aspen was experiencing a deep freeze. The Aspen Times reported:

There were 52 freeze-ups with water pipes this past two weeks in Aspen, according to Jim Markalunas of the Aspen Water Department.

He says that Aspen residents should take precautions to keep their water lines from freezing. People should leave their cold water faucets running at a trickle at all times. …

Markalunas says that if people’s water lines do freeze, they can get water from their neighbors through a garden hose until they can get their pipes thawed.

He said the Water Department will make an adjustment on the water bills of people who practice the good neighbor policy and loan water.

It wasn’t Homeland Security listening in on Aspen residents 25 years ago. The busting up of an alleged cocaine distribution ring led to ongoing news reports about the case, including phone calls monitored by the FBI. The Aspen Times reported:

An Aspen Times survey of area residents whose conversations with alleged drug dealers were monitored by the FBI finds that the government may have disobeyed a court order by not informing those persons that they had been monitored and identified by name in the course of their conversations.

More than two dozen Aspen area residents are among 101 persons who are named in a court order requiring the FBI to notify them that their conversations had been listened to by federal agents.

And six of those persons told The Aspen Times they had not received the required written notice informing them they had been monitored.

– compiled by Janet Urquhart


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