25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Bob Ward
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado
Aspen Times fileDebbie Main hits into a Katie Johnson block as Shaun Hoover stands by, in the 1985 Motherlode volleyball tournament. Main and Hoover won the Ladies' Open title that year.

A century ago, Aspenites debated how to reduce the cost of local government. Some issues just never go away. The newspaper reported:

The people of Aspen these days are devoting much of their time to casting up figures. Almost every person in the city has views and plans as to the best means of reducing the expenses of the city.

Those who have given the subject most thought are figuring on how to make the greatest reduction and retain the team to the fire department. The most feasible plan so far proposed is to combine the fire and police departments, consolidating the office of city marshal and fire chief in one person – as suggested last evening in this paper.

Such a plan would cut off the fire chief’s salary of $100.00 per month, or a saving of $1,200.00 per year.

Mining activity was always in the news, whether it was to laud any new mining investment or, in this case, to quash rumors of bad news. The newspaper reported:

Some few days ago a considerable flurry was occasioned by the report that the Montezuma had shut down. This report gained currency from the fact that a number of men came down the hill.

As we understand it a change in management of the mine and mill took place, and this seemed to occasion a rearrangement of affairs.

Within the past two days a large number of men have been sent to the mine and mill and today ten others went up.

The outlook for the Montezuma has never been brighter than at this time. This mill is in first-class shape and the mine improves by development.

If school enrollment was any indication, Aspen appeared to be in a growth trend in 1960. The Aspen Times reported:

Steadily increasing the last few years, enrollment at the Aspen school is expected to be a record 425 pupils when school opens next Tuesday, September 6, Superintendent Earl Kelly said this week.

He added that he “wouldn’t be a bit surprised” if the number of students jumped to 440 during the winter when the temporary population of the town increases …

This year’s estimated enrollment is 48 per cent greater than in 1955-56 when 288 students were registered.

Despite the rising number of students, however, Aspen and other Western Slope schools were having trouble fielding football teams. The newspaper reported:

Aspen school plans to field an 11-man football team this fall are not progressing as smoothly as optimistic reports made last spring indicated they would.

Coach Jerry Noss said this week that only four games have been booked and one of them is doubtful. A fifth game, against Silt, was canceled as that school will be unable to play 11-man ball. However, this contest may be scheduled as an 8-man contest.

Noss stated that he wants an eight-game season and admitted that Aspen may have to have both an eight-man and an 11-man team in order to plan this schedule.

In an echo of 1910, Aspenites were discussing how to shrink the size of local government, this time through a consolidation of city and county departments. Voters had directed Pitkin County and the city of Aspen to combine functions, wherever possible. The Aspen Times reported:

Proponents for consolidation of the city and county finance departments say it will reduce the size of government.

Opponents are tight-lipped. They don’t want to take a position until a study is done.

Oh no, not another study …

But that’s what’s coming down the pike. Without analytical data from an unbiased source, the consolidation of the finance departments will remain unresolved.

One of today’s landmark hotel properties, and a major redevelopment at the base of Aspen Mountain, was also coming before city officials, the newspaper reported.

Conceptual plans for a hotel and commercial development proposed by the Aspen Skiing Company for the base of Little Nell should now be considered by the city council, the planning and zoning commission agreed Tuesday.

After being discussed by the commission at three previous meetings, the conceptual SPA (specially planned area) plans were sent on to the council by formal adoption of a resolution recommending approval subject to 25 conditions …

The four page resolution … noted that the extension of the SPA zoned area by the applicant “provides public benefit by integrating the planning for the lifts with the remainder of the base area redevelopment plan.”

Meanwhile, volleyball players and spectators gathered at Wagner Park, Rio Grande Park and other local fields for the annual Motherlode tournament. The Times reported:

The powerhouse team of Shaun Hoover and Debbie Main won their third straight Motherlode Classic Volleyball Tournament Ladies’ Open title over Labor Day weekend, beating back a surprise challenge from a pair of relative unknowns to win a special prize created just for their third win.

In the Men’s Open, the title went to a Laguna Beach duo, Marty Gregory and Scott Steele, in a bout that turned out to be a classic face-off between the experience of age and the staying power of youth.

The tournament drew 183 teams to what organizer Leon Fell described as “the most enjoyable (Motherlode) I’ve ever worked on.”