25-50-100 years ago
Copies of The Aspen Times from 1904 until 1909 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. To continue our journalistic history of Aspen, we include excerpts from The Aspen Democrat, the Times’ competitor 100 years ago.The Fourth of July was Aspen’s biggest celebration of the year. The town pulled out all the stops 100 years ago – so much so that the mayor published this notice.As there has been so many lives lost and serious accidents in the past, for the protection of our children and the community, the use of giant firecrackers, or of any firecrackers of explosives of a similar character, exceeding five and one-half inches in length, the use of dynamite caps, explosive canes of any kind, glycerine cap pistols, toy pistols or other guns with blank cartridges or any other dangerous and annoying explosive mechanism, is hereby prohibited within the limits of the City of Aspen.The editor proclaimed,When you hear the roaring of the guns this morning get ready, for it means the dawn of another glorious Fourth of July and ushers in the celebration of the nation’s birthday as has never been witnessed before. …Special trains will run from Glenwood and other points while from near-by places and ranches will come scores of ranchers, miners and others. It is expected that there will be between 2,000 and 3,000 strangers in the city during the day and many of them will remain over until Wednesday or Thursday.Old Probabilities promises bright, sunshiny weather and as stated the day will be ushered in by the firing of a salute of 45 guns, the battery being located on Aspen mountain.
The next day the paper reported an hour-by-hour account of Aspen’s celebration,It was hip, hip, hurrah! from early morning until daylight the next day …the first salvos of artillery broke the early morning and then the small boy with his bunches of big and little firecrackers got busy … Following this came the athletic events such as putting the shot, a 50-yard dash, sack potato race and standing jump contest. …Thousands lined the streets and sidewalks and Marshall Irving and his deputies and Sheriff Grant’s deputies had much difficulty in keeping the middle of the road clear for the contestants, but the best of order was maintained and there was not the slightest disturbance.While the crowd waited for the running and other events, a large wagon containing half dozen vaudeville artists went through the streets [performing] their varied stunts much to the pleasure of the spectators. There was a Dutch comedian, burnt cork artists and other specialists, and their acts, some of them in duo, elicited much applause from the spectators. Following the street sports came the single handed miners drilling contest in front of the Union depot, an d thousands of men and women witnessed it. … The record for single handed drilling in Gunnison granite is said to be 26 inches, but the rock used in the contest in Aspen on the Fourth was much harder and taken from the nearby hills.The contest ended shortly after noon and then the crowds flocked to the restaurants for luncheon. Rose McMahon’s, Veza’s, the Delmonico and Hotel Jerome working over time to serve the guests.Shortly after 1:00 o’clock the gates at Hallam lake were thrown open and several thousand people passed through … distributed themselves about the park, picnicking and otherwise enjoying themselves in the pavillion; dancing was indulged in until the wee small hours of the morning and everybody had a splendid time. …Shortly after 8:00 o’clock there was a lull in the festivities at the lake and the crowds flocked to the Rio Grande railroad depot and witnessed one of the finest displays of fireworks ever fired in this section of the state. There were set pieces, rockets, roman candles, pin wheels, nigger chasers, colored lights, crackers and everything that goes to make up a pyrotechnic display.
A Fourth of July display by the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department thrilled citizens and visitors 50 years ago, a tradition that continues today.The firemen really put on a show … $300 cold cash went up in smoke and the fire laddies stood by with the Fire Department’s new FWD pumper and gleefully watched it burn. … Cars were lined up solid on the three sides of Wagner Park and people were standing two and three rows deep to see the sets which were fired first. …Aspen over the long weekend was filled to capacity with every lodge and motel filled. Lodge owners called upon friends to provide rooms in private homes. The paper observed,Another of Aspen’s old landmarks goes down in the name of “Progress.” The old assay office at the corner of Main and Galena streets has been torn down by Mike and Vic Caparrella during the past week for owner William R. Shaw to make way for the new super Conoco service station to be built this summer. … Jesse Maddalone, present leasee of the Conoco station, will be in charge of the new station upon completion.Equestrian activities went beyond trail and rodeo riding with a new facility (see photo) for the Aspen Riding Club.Ring riding started last Monday with about 12 participants taking part in the Aspen Riding Club horsemanship instruction. The new riding ring, which is located where the former Alvey Pierce Stables were, was given to the club by Mrs. Walter Paepcke. The lay-out includes the working ring, with an area for spectators, well shaded by numerous trees, a jumping area and a few stables, all of which are conveniently situated and ideal in every way for the purpose of the riding club. …Last Thursday about 25 people went on a 3 hour trail ride up Hunter Creek with Mike Magnifico as their leader, assisted by John Voorhees. This Thursday, Mike will lead a 5 hour trail ride over Red Mountain, using the Sunset Trail, which was engineered and built by Jack Ray of the Aspen Stables.
This Aspen Times gave the lowdown on a very special Fourth of July celebration for the town in 1980.From dawn until long after twilight’s last gleaming, Aspen residents and visitors will have more than enough to celebrate July 4.The 204th commemoration of the nation’s declaration of independence and Aspen’s centennial starts with a blast from the Smuggler Mine steam whistle by Stefan Albouy and his crew.At 8 am, hot air balloons are scheduled to take off from Wagner Park … followed by the second running of the Aspenglo Five, a five-mile race for all abilities and ages. At 11:30, children under 8 are to assemble at Mill and Main for a flag parade to Wagner Park. Each child will be given a small flag to carry, and the kids parade will be led by a marching band.At noon, the “Aspen 1880” parade get under way from Paepcke park down Main Street. This year’s parade will feature a stagecoach and a troop of 100 mounted riders, each rider commemorating a year since Aspen’s founding. …At 9 pm, the biggest fireworks display yet seen in Aspen commences with displays in Wagner Park and aerials launched from Aspen Mountain. The Aspen Fire Department has more than $5,000 in munitions set to go up in smoke and fire as part of the Independence-Centennial celebration.Following the fireworks, a street dance will be held on Mill Street until midnight, with tunes provided by the Music Associates of Aspen jazz-rock group.However, this cautionary article threatened to put a damper on the town’s birthday cake.
All open fires, including smoking, have been banned, and the forest service is requiring all campers to carry at least one gallon of water, a shovel and a hatchet when venturing off the highways into Colorado’s forest lands.The restrictions came in the wake of three major fires that have consumed 11,000 acres of Colorado timber in the past week, and have cost the state nearly $500,000 to contain.The tinder-dry conditions of area forests may force the city to cancel its fireworks display.Reporter Mick Ireland wrote about a Sunday of motorcycle racing in Woody Creek (see photo).Motorcycle road racing: it conjures up the image of the unkempt one percent on snarling choppers, daredevils who made a sport out of chasing each other and outrunning cops on country roads. …More mechanics than racers, this new breed [of motorcyclists] seeks to minimize rather than to court danger, and looks to technology rather than bravado to win races.As one veteran racer explained, “We’re not cutthroats and outlaws, we’re trying to run this thing right.”Running this thing right meant a tightly organized day of races at the Woody Creek raceway Sunday, with 11 classes of competition, strict proficiency requirements for prospective racers and ambulances on hand at all times should a racer take a serious fall. …Winning a race means collecting a five or 10 dollar check and a gift certificate good for (what else?) more parts.A good racer having a good day may collect enough prize money to pay for the $5-a-gallon fuel the racing bike uses. …According to the club’s starter and chief steward, the 10-lap race on Woody Creek’s 1.1 mile track is equivalent to 1,000 miles of street driving.