25-50-100 years ago
Aspen Times Weekly
An unorthodox fishing method landed two locals in trouble a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:
Saturday afternoon about 1 o’clock, Ed Wheeler and young son were in the vicinity of Red Butte when they heard heavy shots down by Maroon Creek. They went down to the ice house on the bank of the creek and almost went up against a shot. Two people were seen down the stream as if they were waiting to gather in the dead fish as they floated by.
Mr. Wheeler went to the Paxton ranch and informed Mr. Paxton of what was going on and a telephone message was sent in to Sheriff Everett who, accompanied by Undersheriff Somerville, went out to Maroon Creek at once. In the meantime, Mr. Paxton went to where Maroon Creek empties in the Roaring Fork to head off the dynamiters.
On the arrival of the officers, the sheriff and Wheeler scouted the east bank and Somerville and the Paxton boy the west bank of Maroon Creek. When near the site of the proposed bridge, the boy discovered two men going up over the Butte – the dynamiters had evidently become alarmed by seeing so many men scouting along the banks. A warning shout was given and Sheriff Everett jumped into his rig and drove around to the north side of the Butte while Somerville and Wheeler followed the trail of the men. On reaching the top of the Butte, the undersheriff saw that the men had forded the Roaring Fork. He called to them to stop but no attention was paid to the warning and he dropped a bullet from his revolver into the river close to where the men were passing. They immediately threw up their hands …
Here were recognized as James and Timothy Stapleton, who were supposed to be in quarantine on account of smallpox in their home.
Sheriff Everett permitted the two men to return home on their own recognizance till such time as the quarantine shall be raised.
Plans for a four-story hotel in Aspen caused a stir 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:
Aspen’s City Council touched off a controversy which swept the town this week when it voted unanimously Tuesday evening, March 22, to approve plans for a four-story hotel on Main Street with a height of 38 feet.
The aldermens’ decision came on the second evening of a continued session after the proposed builder, Tony Roncialio, had met with the City Planning and Zoning Board at the council’s request and after the commission had recommended that the building’s height be limited to three stories.
At the first session Monday evening, it was pointed out that there is nothing in the existing zoning or building laws limiting the height of buildings within the city. A limit of 25 feet is imposed in the county zoning code.
However, a previous council had adopted a resolution requesting that the Building Inspector bring the plans of all structures above 25 feet to the council for review.
• • • •
Colorado was courting Porsche owners 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:
A photographic mural invitation, more than 3 feet high and 8 feet long, glorifying Colorado’s Rockies, was sent last week to Europe to urge Porsche Owner Club members to attend the fifth annual Porsche parade at Aspen, July 7-11.
The huge poster carries an official, signed invitation from Governor Steve McNichols, and has a large photograph of the Maroon Bells and Lake in the White River National Forest near Aspen. …
The Rocky Mountain Region Porsche Club of America, host for the parade at Aspen, will send scroll replicas of the oversize invitation to clubs throughout the world.
Aspen would wind up making national headlines for a ballot measure that proposed a ban on the sale of furs in town. Twenty-five years ago, the controversy was just gaining steam. The Aspen Times reported:
Should fur sales be banned in Aspen? At least one Aspen resident thinks so and Monday she persuaded three city council members to have a ballot question prepared to see if other residents may agree.
Saying that fur stores “represent a non-caring attitude, disdain and contempt for humane issues not compatible with ideas promoted by Aspen,” Aspenite Georgie Leighton asked the council to place elimination of fur sales on the May 7 ballot.
Mayor Bill Stirling said he would be worried that such action would be construed as restraint of trade and that “we cannot outlaw things because of personal preference.”
• • • •
The city golf course didn’t have a problem with geese 25 years ago. It apparently had a problem with dogs that had a problem with geese. The Aspen Times reported:
There was discouragement in Rich Coulombe’s voice as he told the story of seven geese mangled and killed – presumably by dogs in an early morning attack Tuesday at the Aspen Golf Course.
Coulombe has worked at the Aspen Parks Department for 10 years, and for 10 years he and other parks workers have hand-fed the steadily diminishing number of snow geese that grace the ponds.
The golf course started out with 20 geese a decade ago. This year, they’ve been feeding a dozen geese. Now, only five are left – and one of them is pretty badly wounded.
Few clues have been found as to who or what killed the geese. Coulombe and Animal Control officers are guessing that it was dogs allowed to run free.
• • • •
The base of Smuggler Mountain had been identified for a possible Superfund cleanup effort back in the mid-1980s. The Aspen Times reported:
Drilling began yesterday on seven monitoring wells in and around the proposed Smuggler Mountain Superfund site.
The Environmental Protection Agency authorized the drilling Monday to get a better fix on whether heavy metals in the soil surrounding Smuggler Mountain are leaching into the local ground water.
The mountain has been the site of mineral mining and smelting for more than a century, and above-normal levels of lead and cadmium found there have been traced to those activities.
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Officials are investigating the source of a loud explosion at Smuggler Mine on Saturday morning.