25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

Aspen Times fileTwenty-five years ago, one of Mick Ireland's last jabs as a reporter at The Aspen Times was pointed at the artificial streams in the downtown malls. Ireland said he preferred streams that couldn't be turned on and off, but grabbed a fishing pole and gave the streams a chance to prove themselves. Now Aspen's mayor, Ireland, above, left to pursue a law degree. His replacement on the Times staff was a journalist with tenure at various newspapers in the valley, John Colson, below, now a reporter at the Post Independent in Glenwood Springs.

Things were quiet, at least on the surface, up Difficult Creek east of Aspen, a century ago, according to The Aspen Democrat Times:

A trip in the hills over the new forestry trail over Aspen Mountain through Tourtelotte Park to Difficult represents a melancholy sight in the almost unlimited number of deserted shaft houses, cabins and dismantled tramways.

The reason for this desolate appearance is that since the construction of the Durant tunnel, surface work on a large majority of the mines has been discontinued, connections having been made with the tunnel.

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The discovery of a body presented a “gruesome spectacle,” according a headline in The Aspen Democrat-Times on July 27, 1910. The deceased, Joseph Delhomica, had apparently been dead for eight to 10 days, succumbing to heart trouble. The newspaper reported:

For the past few days the people in the vicinity of the Ute smelter had been concerned at the non-appearance of the rather eccentric proprietor of the smelter. Long acquainted with his habits, they could not believe he had gone on a journey from the fact that no padlock was fastened on the outside of the door.

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This aroused the curiosity of some of the younger boys and while prowling about the cabin this morning, a horrible stench assailed their nostrils, seemingly coming from the window. They removed a wooden shutter from the window and, peering through, discovered what appeared to be a black skull resting in the hollow of a pillow.

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A rainstorm destroyed local gardens and washed out roads a century ago. The July 29, 1910 Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

Yesterday afternoon the biggest rainstorm known in this locality occurred. The streets were flooded as the ditches and drains could not hold a tithe of water let loose in the deluge. Sidewalks on a number of the streets were covered to a depth of from four to six inches.

On the hillside, the water rushed across all ordinary barriers, flooding lawns and gardens, leaving them covered with a layer of silt. In many places, cellars were half filled.

While no extensive damage to property in the city was done, the county will be called upon to pay a heavy toll in the repair of our mountain roads.

Aspen’s social calendar boasted the Midsummer Night Ball 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Plans have almost been completed for the season’s most gala social event, the annual benefit Midsummer Night Ball, on the activities calendar for Saturday, August 6, it was announced this week by the Ball Committee.

The festivities will be held in the Hotel Jerome beginning at 9 p.m. and will include a midnight supper as well as the town’s liveliest floor show, the committee reported.

Music for dancing will be provided by an MAA student band, as well as by visiting combos from Aspen nightspots.

Highlight of the evening is a floor show, slated to begin at 11 and continue intermittently all evening. Although the acts have not been announced, George Gaber, show manager, promised that they would be “entrancingly entertaining.”

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The Aspen Times regularly reported on the exploits of local anglers 50 years ago. There was this, for example, from Carbondale:

An area angler, fishing waters in this region, had one of his catches place high in a Denver fishing contest last week for the second time this season.

A 7-pound, 7 1/2-ounce German Brown taken by David H. Long of Carbondale copped third place in the Denver Post Dave Cook Big Trout contest.

Long caught the prize fish on Long’s Lake at Carbondale with a black and gold daredevil. For his efforts, he was awarded a Comfy sleeping bag.

Twenty-five years ago, the Aspen Skiing Co. announced plans for a new hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain. The Aspen Times reported:

Plans for a 96-room luxury hotel with 16,000 square feet of commercial space at the base of Little Nell were announced today by the Aspen Skiing Company.

The application, which also includes 10,000 square feet of ski area facilities and 77 underground parking spaces, was the first presented to the city under its new SPA (specially planned area) regulations.

To be built on an 88,862-square-foot site at the base of the ski slope, the hotel is to have 77,718 square feet, with four stories above and two below grade, the plans show. …

“Construction of the facilities proposed by this conceptual plan will provide significant improvements for ski operations at Aspen Mountain to the benefit of local and visitor alike, and will greatly enhance the tourist accommodations available at the base of Aspen Mountain,” the application stated.

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Aspen still doesn’t have a ski museum, though plans for a museum devoted to the history of modern Aspen are in the making. Twenty-five years ago, two former locals were pushing for a ski museum. The Aspen Times reported:

Aspen should have a ski museum, and two former Aspenites who helped with its rebirth after World War II have launched a drive to secure it.

They are Steve Knowlton and John Litchfield, both well-known skiers and members of the famed 10th Mountain Division during World War II who settled here after the war.

They returned to Aspen last Friday, July 26, to meet with Mayor Bill Stirling and old ski troop friends still living here in an effort to arouse interest in their project.

Aspen was among the first international ski resorts in the West and should have a museum for skiing in addition to its fine museum devoted to Aspen’s early history, Knowlton explained.

“After all, it was the favorite ski area for many of the troopers at Camp Hale. Vail didn’t even exist then, but it has a museum and Colorado Ski Hall of Fame,” he added.