25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton
A popular outing in the early 1900s was up Castle Creek to the Williams Ranch. Aspen Historical Society photo.

Copies of The Aspen Times from 1904 until 1909 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. To continue our journalistic history of Aspen, we include excerpts from The Aspen Democrat, the Times’ competitor 100 years ago.”Tagging” took an unusual form 100 years ago. The paper reported, It has been the custom for a number of years among young people of the city to enjoy a climb on Aspen mountain and plant flags on the peak. A number of these flags are still waving notwithstanding the wind. But if you notice today a large flag will be visible on the main peak being put up this a.m. The flag is the gift of E.L. Ogden of the Aspen Dry Goods company and is the one which formerly waved from the bank building. It is 7×12 feet.Boxing was a popular spectator and betting sport nationwide in 1905, but this contest was among amateurs on the streets of Aspen.Did you see it?It was the greatest gladiatorial contest that has been pulled off in Aspen for many moons.

It was a scrap where you get your money’s worth and the admission was free; the arena was all outdoors; the old Grande depot grounds, the scene of the conflict.Honestly, it was a peach.”You are a gentleman,” said one!”You’re another,” said the other.And the big event was on and it was a warm mill until Undersheriff Con O’Neill put a stop to it and landed the belligerents in the county bastile.An enormous crowd of spectators had assembled and all regretted to see the undersheriff coming – except the litigants in the fray. The paper reported a girls’ day out.Mrs. Cora Oberdorfer, accompanied by Mrs. Sadye McKenna, took leave of the city yesterday on horse back bound for the Williams’ ranch on Capitol Creek [see photo] where they enjoyed the day experiencing ranch life. The Williams have an enviable reputation as entertainers and it is needless to add that yesterday’s visitors had a jolly time and enjoyed every minute of the longest day of the year.Good thing the West Nile virus didn’t exist 100 years ago, as it was noted,

Never before in many years did the mosquitos raise so much cain in Aspen as yesterday. The pesky things set everybody to roaring and kicking and scratching. They were as thick as fleas on a dog’s back and last evening several of Aspen’s prominent citizens looked as if they had the toothache.The paper, often scolding Aspen’s mischievous, ne’er-do-well boys, took the occasion of a boat launching to tout the accomplishments of some of the city’s young citizens.Dewey Watson, who has been building a new canvas boat for the past two weeks, using barrel staves to complete the affair, has finished the job and from all appearances has made a boat that will weather any storm and reflects great credit on the lad. Yesterday it was launched on Hallam lake [see photo] and is as graceful as a swan. … A large number of Aspen’s boys have proven equal to all occasions and have won for themselves good positions in the business world. One of the Aspen boys, who worked to pay his way through school, having graduated from the High school four years ago, is now in charge of the Huntington tables at the Camp Bird mine, a very responsible and trustworthy position. This young man is Michael Mack and his host of friends will be pleased to learn of his success. Many others have been as successful as Mr. Mack, and Aspen can well feel proud of her boys.

Today the Aspen Music Festival and School attracts 700 student musicians, renowned conductors, performers and an audience from all over the world. Fifty years ago the paper extolled the six-year-old festival and announced “Music School Hits Enrollment Record.” The school and festival are divisions of Music Associates of Aspen, Inc., a non-profit organization unique in that it is wholly managed and financed by susicians in the community in which it operates. All members of the board of trustees are either musicians or residents of Aspen. The school now has more full-term students than last year’s season, but fewer short-term students. The school term is nine weeks, divided into four and five week sections. Total enrollment so far is 187. …The other half of Music Associated is the Music Festival, which present chamber music and vocal and instrumental ensembles and soloists Wednesdays and Saturdays and orchestral concerts Sunday. All these take place in the Aspen Amphitheatre, on the northwest side of town.Additional activities sponsored by Music Associates include a series of film classics to be shown in the Wheeler Opera House Monday nights and a Fourth of July fireworks display. The first film to be shown will be “The Oxbow Incident,” July 4, a western which shows some of the sociological problems of a small town. A plea for workers was printed in the paper for a festival fixture as old as music in the tent.The Aspen District Kindergarten benefit lemonade stand will open for business next week at the usual site near the Big Tent. There is a great need for more volunteer workers. Any wishing to donate their time to such a good cause, please phone Mrs. Autrey at 2481 or Mrs. Morse at 4941.The word was out that Aspen’s summers were becoming more prosperous. The paper exclaimed,Elli saw a b’ar! She swears she did. And furthermore, she says her neighbor, Joe Hauser, did too.The bear, a cuddly fat brown one (in Elli Hellmund’s own words) was ambling just as purty as can be across Elli’s bean patch, down in the west end of town. The only reason she didn’t stare it in the eye was that she happened to be drinking coffee, rather than weeding her garden as she had been doing one and one-half minutes before.According to these two usually reliable witnesses, the b’ar shambled up Silver Queen. Where two shots were heard a little later.

Aspen reeled when nine citizens died in a freak plane crash over East Maroon Pass. The Friends Hut was built later near the site as a memorial to its victims. The paper reported,Nine Aspen area residents were among the 10 persons killed in two plane crashes near the summit of East Maroon Pass.Authorities are not certain whether the two planes found near the summit of the pass at the head of East Maroon Creek, 13 miles south-southwest of Aspen, collided in mid-air or crashed separately. The two privately owned planes, a six-passenger Cessna 310 and a four-passenger Cessna 182, were found by a search plane sent out from Sardy Field to find the Cessna 182.The six aboard the Cessna 310 were returning from a birthday party in Crested Butte given for one of the plane’s passengers, Brenda Boyd. The party was held at a restaurant belonging to another passenger, Michael Pokress. The Cessna 182 had left Sardy Field at 11:10 am bound for Gunnison and was found 50 feet from the summit of the 11,820 foot pass. …Aboard the Cessna 182 bound for Gunnison were pilot Jeff Kest, Pat Palangi, Tom Spillane and Rudy Csadenyi.Aboard the Cessna 310 bound for Aspen were pilot Bob Pimantell of Crested Butte, Brenda Boyd, Michael Pokress, Ellen Pokress, Betsy Hube and David Freeman.

The International Design Conference convened for several days in mid-June at the Aspen Meadows (see photo), marking the beginning of the summer season. The paper wrote, “For the Aspen Times, the International Design Conference is something of a moveable feast. We move members of our small staff in when we can, between school board meetings, the courts, city council sessions and other stories that constitute our regular fare. It’s hit and miss. Sometimes you get caviar, sometimes fugu fish. This year we’re happy to report that it was mostly caviar.””The use of the mind is by itself the essence of mankind, ” [Buckminster Fuller] said to a full tent at the Design Conference. …In characteristic optimism, he reaffirmed his belief in man’s innate ability to reason and to change the world. … Fuller, 85, is a man who defies labels, though he has been heralded as a philosopher, a humanitarian, and a scientist. …The design that made Fuller famous is the geodesic dome, a principle he explained with the visual aids of wooden tetrahedrons and octahedrons.Tossing them on the floor to demonstrate the stability of triangles, “it’s all tension and compression,” he summed up.In a race to expand skiing terrain, Burnt Mountain was moving ahead of Little Annie. The paper reported, The Forest service indicated the Burnt Mountain ski area expansion proposal has priority over the Little Annie proposal because Burnt Mountain was approved as an expansion site in 1962. …According to Snowmass Mayor Bob Kevan, “As near as I could figure, the Forest Service had been advised by its superiors that previously permitted areas do not have to go through the same detailed process as Little Annie’s as long as it meets the conditions of the permit and requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act.” …County Commissioner Michael Kingsley said, “The Forest Service seemed to be saying Burnt Mountain has the advantage and that Little Annie will be considered in the context of development of Burnt Mountain. Little Annie is getting the shaft in the whole process.”

To date, Little Annie proponents have invested more than $2 million in development costs and land for the proposed ski area.


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