25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

A century ago, Aspenites were treated to a celestial event. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

Last night, or more properly speaking, this morning between 12 and 1 o’clock, a beautiful lunar rainbow appeared in the eastern sky reaching from Smuggler to Aspen Mountain. It was in evidence for at least twenty minutes and was a most dazzling white.

Those who had the pleasure of seeing it are congratulating themselves today, as it is but once in a lifetime one may see a lunar rainbow.

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Mining was alive and well in the Castle Creek Valley, south of Aspen, a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

It is Ashcroft that contributes a piece of good news today in a mining way, which would tend to show that while the district may be thought to be asleep, it is not dead.

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On Saturday, Messrs. C. A. Lewis and L. F. Weidman returned to the city from a three days’ inspection of the Trainor mine at Ashcroft. The gentlemen expressed themselves as well pleased with the outlook for the property as there is a large body of ore in sight carrying 37 ounces silver and 31 percent copper. They stated positively that shipment of ore would begin in two weeks.

The Trainor is the best known property in the Ashcroft district and has been worked on and off the past twenty years. It is owned by a stock company in which a number of Aspen people are interested.

Fifty years ago, an explosion destroyed a local building of some renown. The Aspen Times reported:

An Aspen building of national interest was destroyed Saturday, June 11, at 9:10 p.m. by an extraordinarily violent gas explosion.

Known as the Marquand Studio, the building was constructed by Mrs. Adelaide Marquand for her former husband, novelist John P. Marquand.

Saturday’s blast blew out all walls and windows except the heavy stone northwest wall, which was cut into the hillside. Window glass, clothing, furniture and pieces of wall were scattered around the house for hundreds of feet.

According to Fire Chief Clyde Clymer, the explosion was caused by leaking bottled gas, but was made more violent by lingering fire.

The fire is believed to have started in the floor early Saturday morning and caused the air to become superheated, changing the air-gas mixture. This was responsible for the inordinate violence of the blast, Clymer stated.

Located on the Marquand property on Lake Avenue, the studio was cut into the steep hillside above Hallam Lake. Before his separation and divorce, Marquand used it as a workshop for writing during his frequent visits to Aspen.

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An explosion also rocked Glenwood Springs a half-century ago. The Aspen Times reported:

A tremendous oil explosion rocked downtown Glenwood Springs Wednesday afternoon at 2:50 p.m. when a city storage tank blew up in the railroad district west of the County Court House.

The explosion took place as city workmen were using a propane surface heater on a pipe leading from an oil-filled railcar to the storage tank.

Kenneth Arnold, the city’s Street Superintendent, was standing on the railcar and was blown some 50 feet by the blast, but escaped uninjured. Another city workerman, Dewey Hobbs, received burns on the neck.

As a towering column of dense black smoke rolled some 200 feet into the sky, Glenwood Springs Volunteer Firemen, responding to the blast with all available apparatus, battled desperately to control the blaze.

Aspen Highlands wasn’t owned by the Aspen Skiing Co. 25 years ago. The ski area prevailed in court against the Skico, The Aspen Times reported:

Ruling that the Aspen Ski Company acted unlawfully in discontinuing the four area lift ticket in 1978, the United States Supreme Court affirmed district and appellate court decisions awarding the Aspen Highlands $7.5 million in damages under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Denver lawyer Tucker Trautman, counsel for the Highlands, said Wednesday’s ruling marked the first U.S. Supreme Court monopolization ruling involving private parties since 1927.

“The ruling doesn’t set new legal principles,” Trautman said, “but it does clarify and reaffirm the long-standing principle that while a business has no absolute duty to cooperate with the competition, it must have a legitimate business justification for not cooperating. The Aspen Skiing Co. had not shown that justification.”

At the heart of the 8-0 ruling with one justice abstaining was a decision by the Ski Co. Board of Directors to make the Highlands an offer it could not accept, a decision that effectively abolished the four-area, six-day ski pass.

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In other ski-related news, the cost to ski, and park, at Snowmass was going up. The Aspen Times reported:

Lift tickets aren’t the only things that will touch skiers’ billfolds this winter as day skiers will be charged more for parking near Snowmass slopes.

The Aspen Skiing Co. has announced that lift tickets will cost $26 during peak season at Snowmass this winter. The town of Snowmass Village has announced that tentative plans call for a ballot question this fall asking to approve a 50 cents per person tax on lift tickets on top of the $26 charge.

And, on Monday, the town council gave tentative approval to a parking plan that calls for a $2 increase to $7 for day skiers to park in lots near the mountain.

• • • •

Plans for a dam on the Colorado River riled rafting enthusiasts 25 years ago. Ultimately, the plan was apparently scrapped. The Aspen Times reported:

Members of the Western Slope River Guides Association hosted a rafting trip Sunday on the Colorado River for local media, to explain why they’re concerned about a proposed hydroelectric dam west of Glenwood.

Hellsgate Dam would be built eight miles west of Glenwood, and would create a 1.5-mile long reservoir behind the 30-foot-tall structure.

Rafters say the lake would eliminate full-day trips for customers, and make the industry infeasible. Rocky Moos of Wet, Inc., said, “We don’t paddle for propulsion, only for steering.”

The lake created by the dam would necessitate 1 1/2 to two hours of strenuous work, Moos said. “It’s unfair to expect paying customers to go to that physical exertion.”