25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

The Aspen Democrat Times called it “The most stupendous undertaking ever attempted in the history of mining,” in its coverage of the goings-on in a Smuggler Mountain mine shaft. The newspaper reported:

The dewatering of the Free Silver shaft is almost an accomplished fact, which is a matter for congratulation to the Smuggler company, its efficient staff, Manager Elias Cohn, Superintendent Wilcox and Foreman Rogers, and to the people of Aspen and Pitkin County.

The dewatering of the Free Silver shaft was the largest proposition of the kind ever undertaken in the United States, or in the world for that matter, all things considered, and a short resume of events in connection therewith will not be out of place.

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The holiday window display at Tomkins Hardware in Aspen was apparently cause for anticipation. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

Keep your eye on the show window of the Tomkins Hardware company for the next couple of days, as there will be something doing there when the curtains are taken down and the display is ready for public inspection.

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Ollie Travers, the all-around man of the Tomkins Hardware company, has the window in charge and he keeps his assistants going these days helping with the decorations. Ollie has few equals as a window trimmer and he is going to pull off a little stunt in the window this time that will make you stop and take notice.

We would like to tell you what it is, but you will have to look out for yourselves.

Aspen’s arts/social calendar boasted a Parisian ball, replete with a costume contest, 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

The Roaring Fork River will become the Seine and Aspen will be transformed into Paris Sunday evening, Dec. 4 – at least for those attending the first annual Beaux Arts Ball in the Brand Building.

Sponsored by the Aspen School of Fine Arts, the event has as its theme “An Evening in Paris.” Dancers are encouraged to wear Parisian-type costumes, portraying a favorite character, in keeping with the revelry planned for the occasion.

A host of local musicians will perform Le Jazz Hot. They are Freddie Fisher, Joe and Adele Marsala, Walt Smith, Deane Billings, Eric Lawrence, Ken Williams, Jim McCabe and probably several others. In addition, Mead Metcalf and Joan Higbie will sing.

The Aspen Playhouse group has scheduled a 20-minute original skit. Adding to the gala entertainment will be a couple called Vali and Lymbon D. Johnsen, who will perform an authentic Parisian apache dance.

An auction of art work which has been donated by local artists is also planned.

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“Natural gas found in NW part of Pitkin,” read a Dec. 2, 1960 Aspen Times headline. The newspaper reported:

Reminiscent of the early mining days in the area, prospectors made a strike – in natural gas, not silver – in Pitkin County this week.

Location of the find, made Thursday, Dec. 1, is 10 miles northwest of the Coal Basin area, which is northwest of Redstone, on the western border of the county.

It was called “a respectable gas well” by the Grand Junction Sentinel and is said to test at 3 1/2 million cubic feet of gas per day.

The Sentinel added that a well of this capacity “is no world beater as production goes on the Western Slope, but it is a good commercial well.”

However, the well’s main significance is that it may indicate there are other possibilities in the same region. Twice before, drilling operations in the region have been unsuccessful.

Aspen’s new fireplace regulations faced a challenge 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Despite questions about [the] timing, referendum petitions asking for repeal of Aspen’s new fireplace control ordinance, or an election, were certified as sufficient to the city council Tuesday by City Clerk Kathryn Koch.

The petitions, with 396 signatures, were submitted to the clerk on Wednesday, Nov. 27, and Koch certified over 300, well over the 271 (10 percent of registered voters) required by the charter.

However, the charter also provides that the petitions “must be filed within 30 days after adoption by the council of the ordinance sought to be reconsidered.”

Although the ordinance, Number 47, was finally adopted by the council on September 28, final publication did not take place until October 24. …

The ordinance limits construction of new solid fuel burning devices to one certified clean-burning [device] per building, but permits replacement of existing devices with new ones that are certified, and requires a permit to repair, alter, move or replace an existing one.

There is no limit in the ordinance to installation of natural gas fireplaces, and hotels may have additional fireplaces if emissions are below a certain level.

• • • •

Aspen Mountain recently hosted World Cup racing, but 25 years ago, pro ski racers were headed to the slopes of Buttermilk for slalom and giant slalom events. The Aspen Times reported:

Over $40,000 in prize money is up for grabs next weekend at Buttermilk, when the Peugeot Grand Prix tour kicks off the first in a series of 11 races to be held at ski areas across the nation.

Sixty pro racers from the U.S. and abroad will compete this season at resorts from Maine to California. …

Three local racers: Dave Stapleton, Mark Tache and Jan Stenstadvold are expected to finish high in the standings, especially since the race is on their home turf.

Last year’s overall tour winner, Jarle Halsnes, will return to defend his crown, and will be accompanied by brothers Edvin and Stein.

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