25-50-100 Years Ago

Compiled by Bob Ward
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

A grisly tragedy struck an Aspen-area mine worker 100 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Word was received from the Montezuma mill at 1:30 o’clock this afternoon that George Morgan had been killed at the sawmill about 100 yards up the creek from the concentrating mill.

From all that could be learned Morgan’s death was due to accident. The men were getting out timbers for the tramway when Morgan in some manner slipped and fell upon the three-foot circular saw which cut him through the body.

Mr. Coberly, of the Montezuma, who is in the city, and Coroner Blakemore were notified of the accident. The coroner having satisfied himself that Morgan’s death was the result of accident notified the people at the mill to bring the body to the city, which will no doubt be done this evening.

Mr. Morgan was a young man well known and highly esteemed by all who knew him. He had been working at the mill but two weeks.

The following item appeared under the headline “Pitkin County deserves better treatment.” The newspaper opined:

After much persuasion and honeyed words from several of our prominent citizens and politicians, State Fish Commissioner Holland has promised to send 300,000 trout fry to Aspen for distribution in our streams. This promise, as we understand it, was given some time ago to Senator Twining and Assessor O’Kane and Boiler Inspector Cosseboom. The other day Benjamin R. Kobey dropped into the fish commissioner’s office to remind Holland of his promise, and yesterday about 20,000 of the 300,000 arrived here and are now being distributed.

As a matter of fact up to date this county has been treated rather shabbily in the fish line. In all fairness we are entitled to at least a half million fry and certainly the fish commissioner should get a wiggle on himself and see that we get that 300,000 forthwith. And then he should do some more wiggling and get 200,000 more into this county in the immediate future.

Nowadays, people can be found on the trails around Aspen on mountain bikes and motorcycles. Fifty years ago, the two-wheeled rage was the Tote Gote, a slow-moving, fat-tired scooter. The Aspen Times reported:

Billed as the world championship Tote Gote soccer match, a battle between teams from Aspen and Glenwood Springs ended in a 0 to 0 tie Friday evening, Sept. 2, at the Garfield County Fair in Rifle.

An enthusiastic crowd of fair visitors watched the two five-man squads kick at the ball from their scooters during two 30-minute periods. This was the first official Tote Gote soccer game in this part of the country.

When no scores were made after the regular sessions of play, a 15-minute overtime was called. But again neither team could kick the rubber ball across the opponent’s goal.

As you consider how much you’re going to spend on your 2010-11 season ski pass, read this 1960 advertisement from The Aspen Times and weep:

The Aspen Highlands announces the following lift rates to be effective for the 1960-61 winter season. Opening dates to be announced later.

Daily rate:

All lifts $5.00

T-bar 3.50

Half-day (all lifts) 3.50

Three days (all lifts) 13.50

Three days (T-bar) 9.00

One week (T-bar) 27.50

Monthly (T-bar) 75.00

Annual (T-bar) 150.00

Twenty-five years ago, the owners of Aspen Highlands were seeking county approval – and not getting it – for a major redevelopment of the ski area’s base. The Times reported:

It wasn’t an antagonistic denial. In fact, the Pitkin County commissioners want to see the Highlands’ base area improved. So do a few hundred other residents.

What the unanimous vote to deny the project at the general submission phase means is that the initial, overall plan is “out of step” with the scale of development the people of Pitkin County support.

Meanwhile, up the Fryingpan River, the switch was flipped on a new hydroelectric generator. The newspaper reported:

Mark Fuller stuck his finger in the socket and flipped the switch. His hair stood up on end, his finger began to smoke, his eyes went around in circles and everyone knew it was a success.

Ruedi Dam is now generating 40 percent of the electric power for the City of Aspen’s utility service …

Construction of the hydroelectric plant began in July 1984. The total cost of the project reached $4.5 million. But its success will eventually save Aspen money.

The five megawatt plant is expected to generate 20-22 million kilowatt hours per year of electricity.


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