25-50-100 years ago
An April 13 sleet storm that downed lines and some 200 utility poles cut off Aspen from the outside world a century ago. The Aspen-Democrat Times reported:Yesterday afternoon what proved to be the most disastrous storm in the history of Aspen set in. It began by a rain which turned shortly to sleet and at times, the watery flakes were as large as silver dollars.As the sleet fell it packed and with the rapid fall of the barometer, the sleet turned to ice and it was not long until all the wires had an icy coat of about three inches in diameter.Shortly before 6 o’clock, calls came in thick and fast to the electric office – poles were beginning to go down all over town. Soon, the telephone exchange became the scene of unusual activity. The service was put out of commission in short order.The storm continued without abatement until about 9 o’clock last night and by that time, the city was in darkness and cut off from communication within and without.• •••Spending the winter in Coal Basin, outside of Redstone, proved something of an ordeal a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:D.D. McCarthy, a character well known about Redstone for ten years, was found at Coal Basin Saturday night in famished condition by Superintendent Ruby of the Redstone school.Last fall, the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. left some supplies at Coal Basin and McCarthy conceived the idea that the place would be a good one to winter in.When discovered, he was subsisting on grain which had been scattered about the stable. He was unable to walk. A party went up Sunday and took him supplies. The snow is still so deep that he cannot be moved.••••An Aspen teen nabbed for an unorthodox fishing method 100 years ago went before the judge for his misdeeds. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:James Stapleton, a 14-year-old boy who, with an elder brother, was arrested a short time ago for dynamiting fish in Maroon Creek, was yesterday brought before the juvenile court and found guilty as charged.Judge Rogers imposed the minimum fine of $500, which was held in suspension on good behavior. The boy was paroled in custody of his mother.
The visionary credited with leading Aspen’s transformation from sleepy mining town to skiing and cultural mecca died 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:Wednesday afternoon, April 13, Walter P. Paepcke, the man who created modern Aspen, died in his hospital bed in Chicago at the age of 63.First reported ill last fall, Paepcke was admitted to the hospital several weeks ago to be treated for cancer. His condition worsened progressively until his death at approximately 2:30 p.m.It is reported, however, by persons in his employ that he worked from his hospital bed on both his Aspen and commercial affairs until the week before his death.In addition to his activities in Aspen, Paepcke was the builder and for the past 13 years Chairman of the Board of Container Corporation of America, largest firm of its kind in the world.With him at the time of his death was his wife, Elizabeth H. Nitze.Although a date for the interment has not been set, Paepcke, at his own request, will be cremated and buried in Aspen. •••• Basalt High School students were headed to Carbondale 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:Basalt students in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades will attend high school in Carbondale next year.The move was passed by a unanimous vote of the Roaring Fork District RE-1 School Board at their regular monthly meeting Monday, April 11.The decision came after the board’s study and consideration of a nine-page report on attendance centers and expansion needs of the district by the educational consultant Dr. Harold Moore. State Department of Education officials were in agreement with Dr. Moore’s recommendations.The board felt the shift of Basalt students would aid in providing a better education for the students remaining in Basalt by relieving the crowded situation and it was felt that Basalt High School students will enjoy more facilities and a more favorable size classroom situation in Carbondale.
A popular Aspen nightspot, still remembered fondly by longtime locals, closed its doors 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:It was a turnaway crowd from 8 p.m. until closing during the last night of business at Paddy Bugatti’s in the Continental Inn, Saturday, April 13.”Two hundred were served dinner, about 300 passed through the bar during the course of the evening, and a few passed out altogether,” said proprietor Casey Cummins Monday. …The restaurant bar opened in December of 1978 with a format of live local music and Irish-Italian cuisine. “The Irish side got drunk and disappeared,” Cummins said. Under chef Jack Coffey, the restaurant more recently had been known for its Italian-style homemade pasta and fresh seafood.The club, said Cummins, simply wasn’t big enough to make the music end of the business lucrative. The club has been supported by the restaurant side for the past three years. …During its early years of operation, Bugatti’s stock in trade was the local bands. Bobby Mason, Haden Gregg, Jim Dykann, Jim Ibbotson and Jeff Hanna were among the regulars who played to the 75 to 100 in the audience.On a more widely known scale, Jerry Jeff Walker, John Denver, Tim Weisberg and Al Stewart dropped in to play from time to time.
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The city of Aspen and Pitkin County are partnering to buy a 274-acre tract of land off McLain Flats for $10 million on property owned by longtime residents Carolyn and Tom Moore.