25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

Hallam Lake, home to the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies these days, was a resort a century ago, and the target of vandals. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

The board of control of the Hallam Lake grounds has done all it was able to do to make the resort such a place as families could go for a little picnic. The grounds were cleared of undergrowth so that the sun might dry the grass, that people could walk about dry-footed or sit down in comfort. The pavilion was cleaned and repaired so that dancing might be enjoyed or be a place of refuge in case of a sudden squall. A large boat was constructed and placed on the lake, that those that cared to might take a boat ride.

That was well and good, in fact, too good for some people.

Recently some vandals have visited the place at different times, tore out a portion of the pavilion and written all manner of obscene stuff upon the walls, daubed paint over everything that would hold it, and have made several ineffectual attempts to wreck the boat. …

These vandals will be severely dealt with if apprehended.

• • • •

Lightning sparked a barn fire on a Hunter Creek farm a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

Yesterday was another hoodoo day for Aspen, Friday, May 13. Late in the afternoon a drizzle set in which was shortly followed by an electric storm such as has been seldom experienced in this locality. As the evening advanced, thunder and lightning prevailed, accompanied by a downpour of rain and hail. …

Last evening, Robert Bulloch came to town and reported that the big barn and dairy at his ranch home on Hunter Creek had been destroyed by fire caused by lightning.

About 5:30, Mrs. Trainor, who was alone at the ranch, the men having come to town early in the day, went to the barn to gather the eggs and discovered the hay loft on fire. She immediately set to work getting the horses, cows, pigs and chickens out of the barn. She was successful in this, but the flames spread so rapidly that none of the farming equipment could be saved.

A new theatrical endeavor was in the offing 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

A summer stock theater will be added to Aspen’s cultural offerings this year.

Called Aspen Playhouse, productions will begin July 1 and continue through Labor Day. The formal announcement of the new venture was made this week by Kit and Rick Riker, husband and wife team lately of Harrisburg, Pa., who recently moved here to direct and act in the theater.

For the coming season, plays will be staged in a tent at the Ski School Meeting Place at the Aspen Highlands. It is hoped that a permanent theater can be constructed at the Highlands at a later date, the Rikers said.

Also planned is a series of old-time melodramas during the winter. These will be presented in the new building or in one of the existing parts of the Highlands ski area complex.

• • • •

As it is this year, a census was under way 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Population growth in the Aspen area is mainly in the county, not the city, preliminary census figures indicate.

According to the District Supervisor of the Bureau of the Census, 1,861 more people were counted in Pitkin County this year than in 1950. The 1960 total is 3,507 against 1,646 in 1950.

The current statistics were released by District Supervisor Donald G. Huytton, whose office is in Grand Junction, Tuesday, May 10.

On the other hand, only 178 more residents were counted within the corporate limits of the city of Aspen than were reported in 1950. There are 1,094 residents now, compared to 916 in 1950.

A couple of local men authored a guide to trout fishing 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

The snow is melted, the streams are flowing. Fishermen are donning their waders, eager to stalk the rivers and seek out that prized rainbow trout.

“The Colorado Angling Guide” will be a welcome book for novices and experts alike. Written by Chuck Fothergill and Bob Sterling of Aspen, the guide will be on the shelves by June.

The book is a detailed guide of gold medal (premium) and wild trout waters of Colorado, designations the Colorado Department of Wildlife has assigned rivers in the last few years.

With 50 detailed fold-out maps of both rivers and towns, and 238 pages of text, the spiral-bound softcover guide allows a family sitting in a Minnesota living room to plan their Colorado fishing vacation from start to finish, says Sterling.

• • • •

Substitute teachers in local schools were under scrutiny a quarter-century ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Aspen school district records indicate that since the opening of school last fall, substitute teachers have worked a total of 568 1/2 days.

And the school board will be studying policies this summer to make sure those days are well spent.

At Monday’s board meeting, Chuck Brandt told the board he was concerned the district was not putting enough emphasis on hiring skilled substitutes.

Brandt said he was told by one substitute teacher during a parent-teacher conference that one thing classroom time taught him was that teaching wasn’t for him.

“I suggest you take a look at the substitute program to make sure you’re happy with it,” Brandt told the board. “A substitute teacher should actually be the best all-around athlete, so to speak, someone who can step into a variety of situations and be effective.”

Brandt said the list of substitute teachers should not be compromised by the inclusion of teachers determined inadequate to work for the district on a permanent basis.