25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton

Day-to-day life in Aspen was fraught with danger 100 years ago, be it runaway horses, mining explosions or rail-yard accidents. Aspen Historical Society photos.

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 festivities of the Glorious Fourth were over, and the town returned to normalcy … except for an abnormal presence on the flanks of Aspen Mountain. The paper reported, A reign of terror has succeeded the former peaceful quietude of the residents of the foothills in the southern portion of the city, all owing to the presence of a number of Wandering Willies who have made camp in the hills above the Union depot. For several days residents in that end of the city have been intimidated by a number of hoboes who upon being refused food or money become abusive. …[Three 10-year-olds] were driving some cow in from the hills last evening when a short, heavy set man emerged from the brush and ordered them to disgorge what money they had. The youngsters ran to safety and then the boys turned and began throwing stones at the vagrant who slunk away into the bushes. …Sheriff Grant spent a good part of yesterday reconnoitering on the hill in an endeavor to locate their camp.In this he was unsuccessful, but will make further search. The sheriff states that the brush is so thick that it is almost impossible to find any one on the hill if the party desires to hide himself.Newspaper accounts of deadly accidents with horses (see photos) were nearly as frequent as deadly accidents in the mines 100 years ago.

Death came suddenly and without warning to Timothy Rowman, employed on Sam Watson’s ranch on Capital creek yesterday morning. It was the result of a runaway accident, but no one witnessed it. …Mr. Watson [had] told [Rowman] to take the team and a partial load of hay and go to the farm house which is quite a distance away, one part of the road being a steep grade. It was at this point that the accident occurred. Upon reaching the top of the hill, Rowman, it appears, neglected to lock the hind wheel of the rick and relied upon the horses being able to hold the vehicle.The wagon gained considerable momentum and crowded the animals so closely that they ran away. Rowman was thrown from the vehicle, and it is thought struck head first on the double-trees, thence falling to the ground. The team continued a mad run until they reached the creek where they turned sharply and the overturning of the vehicle brought them to a standstill.Rowman was found on the roadside in an unconscious condition. He was removed to the ranch house and died within a short time.A local rider at the Aspen race track (and downtown pedestrians) fortunately survived this adventure. The paper reported, Christopher Grant, a well-known horseman of this city, had a thrilling and painful experience yesterday morning on the mesa. Grant, who is training a promising colt, was exercising the animal. As he reached the vicinity of Steven Findlay’s residence, two ladies in a nearby residence threw a carpet rug over the front fence. The colt shied and then reared over backward. Grant was thrown to the ground under the cart, but did not relinquish his hold on the reins. The spirited animal was quickly on its feet and began a mad run towards the city, the cart being left in sections along the route. The plucky driver was dragged about two blocks when he lost hold of the reins. The colt kicked itself loose from the wreckage of the vehicle and ran wildly through the business portion of the city, being finally caught on Cooper avenue by Al Hopely.The Cooper Book & Stationery Co. advertised: New Music – 25c per sheet. Here are the titles of the 1905 ditties,

We’ll Wander in the Bright MoonlightI’ll Be Your Sweetheart, If You’ll Be My BeauMy Babe of the BungalowSioux Song (New song by the writers of “Navajo”)Neath the Pines of MaineOn a Summer NightRomaine, march and two-step (This will no doubt be one of the biggest sellers of the season).

Gathering around a campfire for fresh trout and good conversation is a Western tradition that endures, no matter what decade. The “Aspen Society” column reported,The reception, in the form of 400 delectable trout honoring personnel of the Summer Festival and members of the church choir, with the men of the Community Church their hosts, was pronounced a huge success in every way. …The talk given by Ranger Gay Weidenhaft on “The Wealth of Our Forest” was most interesting and enthusiastically received by his large audience.The good ranger was also featured on the front page concerning a different campfire.Gay Weidenhaft, ranger for the Aspen District, White River National Forest, reports his first fire on his district last Friday morning when a careless camper drove off and left a campfire that spread in the duff on the ground and finally caught in the pines where it was discovered before it could do much damage. The site of the fire was near Coleman creek about 2 miles on the Aspen side of Lost Man campground.A passing motorist noticed the blaze and immediately started for Aspen to notify the proper authorities. …The fire burned only an acre, about 100 feet in diameter, BUT it was only through the very prompt action by Paul Frost and his crew that it was kept from spreading to a much denser stand of timber and possibly serious consequences. …Ranger Weidenhaft reports that as of last Saturday this was the 7th reported fire in the White River Forest in a week.More and more of Aspen was getting wired, as the paper noted,

C.C. McGonegal, manager of the Glenwood Springs district of the Mountain States Tel. and Tel. Co., reports that a line crew is now in Aspen to run a cable to Red Mountain where several new homes have been built recently. An additional cable will be run a little later to Riverside addition to take care of many requests there for private, 2 and 4 party service instead of a party line.

The headline read, “July 4 turns out to be dog day; Ivan’s bangs become whimpers.”Ivan, a young golden retriever, declared his independence this Fourth of July.But all the bang had gone out of it after he spent 15 hours trapped between a steep rock cliff and the snarling rapids of the Roaring Fork River.When the first fireworks exploded near his home at about 9 pm, Ivan dug for dear life, burrowing under a wooden backyard fence to escape. …[Dog owner] Robert; his parents, Charlie and Helga Marqusee, and a friend began an exhaustive search immediately. … But there was no word of Ivan until the next morning. …[The police] received a call from an unidentified photographer who had spotted Ivan on the riverbank through the lens of his camera.The frightened dog had apparently gone down Meadows Road behind the trustees’ houses at the Aspen Institute to the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and Castle Creek.At that point, the police speculated, Ivan was swept into the raging current and carried to a point a mile west of the Slaughterhouse Bridge where he was able to scramble to a precarious perch on the south side of the river at the base of a steep cliff. …A rescue by climbers from above was ruled out because of the danger that the frightened animal might jump into the freezing water again.[Jill] Gordon [of Animal Rescue], using a walkie-talkie, called Rufus Crockett for help. Crockett came to the scene in a jeep, then went back for a raft and some friends. Two passing kayakers also volunteered to join the rescue attempt. …Gordon told Ivan to “stay” and to “sit,” and the dog obeyed most of the time.For the next several hours, members of the group tried to get to Ivan. The kayaks made repeated passes, but were always swept away from the spot where the dog waited by the powerful current. A waterfall roared just downstream. …Repeatedly, the raft made passes, unable to get to shore. Ivan would stand up and start up the steep slope behind him, only to slide down again.At last, Crockett dove into the water and swam to the rocky shore.”It was a wonderful moment,” Charlie Marqusee said. “Ivan smothered Crockett with kisses.”The rescue was far from over. Again and again the raft was pulled upstream for more passes but couldn’t get close to shore.Crockett, taking matters into his frustrated hands once more, tossed Ivan, who weighs 65 pounds, into the air and the waiting arms of the men in the raft. On a subsequent pass, he once again dove into the water and swam to the raft himself. … Ivan, when he got home again, slept for 24 hours.The paper reported on another outdoor adventure, this one by two local mountaineers,Aspen area residents Neal Beidleman and Granger Banks have climbed a new variation of the popular West Buttress route up Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, a route they think will become well traveled in the future. Banks and Beidleman scaled the 20,320 foot McKinley in seven days … Beidleman said the new route is a rock climb of 40 to 60 degrees of moderate difficulty that he and his partner ascended in one day.

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“It was the best weather of the trip,” Beidleman said of that 4,000 foot rock climb. …The two climbers have set their sites on Mt. Everest for their next climb.Beidleman said a friend of his has asked the People’s Republic of China for permission to ascend Everest from the Chinese side, a feat that Beidleman said only one other team has accomplished. …The two received virtually no financial support for [the McKinley ascent], except cheese and salami provided by the Figi Cheese company.Both the men are 1977 graduates of Aspen High School, out of college for the summer and looking for work.From 17 applications, the Aspen Skiing Corporation announced its selection for the management of Aspen Mountain’s popular restaurant.Aspenites Bonnie Brucker, Peter and Mary Ann Greene, [who will] succeed Gretl Uhl in the Tourtelotte Park restaurant, this week announced some expansion plans. They include expansion of the deck, an outdoor charbroiler, improvements to the decor and facilities, expanded hours, and a ski-up bar where fresh fruit smoothies and other beverages will be sold. …”I’m delighted with the choice,” said Jack Brendlinger, public relations direction for the corporation. “Not only do we get Peter Greene’s superb restaurant expertise, but just like their predecessor, Gretl, Mary Ann and Bonnie have the reputation of being a couple of ‘best’ in a town of renowned cooks.”

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