25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times

A visitor to an area ranch narrowly escaped with his life a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

Yesterday, as is usual on Sundays, quite a number of Aspen people went to the Williams ranch on Snow Mass for an outing and general good time, one of the principal features of which is target practice and exhibitions of crack marksmanship.

At about 2:30 o’clock in the afternoon, while the festivities were at its height and a general and somewhat promiscuous shooting was in progress, Jonce Cookman rode up to the ranch on horseback on a business errand.

While sitting on his horse, Cookman hears the whizz of a bullet passing his ear and at the same time felt a sting on his right cheek just below the corner of the mouth. Putting his hand to his face, he found he was bleeding profusely and at once new that the sting he felt had been the bullet entering his cheek.

He was immediately brought to the city and Dr. Guthrie examined and dressed the wound. …

While it was an unfortunate occurence, Mr. Cookman is to be congratulated upon his narrow escape from almost instant death.

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Pollution apparently led to a fish hill on the upper Fryingpan River a century ago. The Aspen-Democrat Times reported:

Reports have been received in the city the past few days that dead and blind fish by the hundreds were floating in the Frying Pan from Norrie to a distance of 12 miles below.

It was said this wholesale destruction of trout was due to creosote from the experimental station at Norrie established by the government two years ago for the treatment of telegraph and telephone poles and fence posts. The government disposed of this plant to a Mr. Carmondy this spring.

Fish and Game Warden Gilman was notified and going to the locality found a large number of dead fish while the pools were full of flish blind and in a comatose condition floating about. He was unable to ascribe the disaster to anything but to the presence of creosote in the water and placed Mr. Carmondy under arrest, pending an investigation which is now underway at Thomasville.

Aspen is no stranger to the construction of hotel projects. In fact, one to be called the Aspen Lodge was in the offing 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

If plans unveiled to county commissioners Monday, July 18, materialize, construction on a $2.3 million motel-hotel complex, largest in the Aspen area, will begin at the site of the Aspen Dairy early in August.

According to Glenn O. Cook, Denver, head of a syndicate which intends to build the structure, ground will be broken for the 143-unit lodge, located on a 400-foot frontage south of Dean Avenue, on Aug. 1, and the building will be completed in the latter part of December.

Containing 81,000 square feet of floor space, it is scheduled to be in operation on Jan. 1.

Cook now has an option on the property, which belongs to Marvin Hoagland. The land is east of the Little Nell ski slope and is entirely in the county.

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An offensive smell apparently permeated county government 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Pitkin County commissioners object to the odor of horses, at least to two kept in the vicinity of the courthouse, it was learned this week by Dedrick Brittenum, owner of the land to the east of the courthouse property.

In a notice signed by County Attorney Robert Delaney and dated July 18, he was informed that keeping two horses on his property was considered a nuisance by the county commissioners.

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A local purveyor of chairlifts was keeping busy 50 years ago, according to The Aspen Times. The newspaper reported:

Arthur Kuen of Aspen, regional representative of the Austrian ski lift designing and erecting firm of Dopplemayr and Son, has obtained the lift contract for two major ski areas.

One consists of lift facilities for a $1 million layout at the Medicine Bow National Forest west of Laramie, Wyo., and the other is for a new ski area near Fairbanks, Alaska.

George Wilkinson is perhaps most remembered for his land-use battles over property he owned on Smuggler Mountain near Aspen, but development on Smuggler wasn’t his only endeavor. Apparently ahead of his time on the renewable energy front, “Wilk” was pursuing a different sort of undertaking 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

According to the U.S. Forest Service, George Wilkinson is a little further than he thinks from being able to conduct drilling exploration on his Castle Creek claims.

Wilkinson has received conditional Forest Service permission to explore on Castle Creek for minerals through hardrock drilling. Those conditions include a list of 15 mitigating measures including surveying information, vehicular access restrictions and others Wilkinson will have to meet before his short-term operating plan is approved.

But he is really after geothermal. And this is where the complexities of government permits cloud the issue.

Wilkinson, the same proponent for a major geothermal development on Avalanche Creek, who still holds claims there, wants to carry out a similar plan on Castle Creek.

He has permission from the Forest Service for hardrock drilling. He received approval from the county and Monday’s regular meeting fo the county commissioners. The only thing he lacks is a special permit for geothermal drilling.

The BLM is charged with all geothermal project reviews, even if, as in this case, they fall on Forest Service land.

• • • •

The cause of a mudslide at Snowmass continued to get scrutiny 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

An employee of the Pitkin County Road and Bridge crew says he notified a person at the Wildcat Ranch that a ditch was overflowing after a small mudslide about a week prior to a larger mudslide on July 14.

Engineers, hydrologists, lawyers and insurance people still are studying the slide, which took out a number of Campground Lift towers. An absolute cause has not been determined.