25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton

Aspen Historical Society photoThis group could be models for French impressionist painter Claude Monet. Instead these Roaring Fork Valley citizens pose for a photographer while enjoying a picnic in the early 1900s.

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.An outbreak of the West’s summer scourge (or natural healer – depending on one’s point of view) was noted in the paper.It was reported yesterday that another forest fire had broken out near Lenado and was destroying much good timber in that section. At times the smoke from the burning trees was quite noticeable in the city.Neither fire nor water deterred these Aspen citizens on an outing (see photo).The road to Woody Creek, just below Red Butte near the Wurtz sausage factory, was in bad condition Sunday, much trouble being experienced by the picnickers going that way being compelled to drive through the swamp at that point of the road. The mud was about six feet deep and one team was stuck and had to be pulled out. The swamp was caused by a break in one of the irrigating ditches on T.O. Clark’s ranch. Road overseer Callahan will fix this nuisance at once.

What’s summer without a circus? The paper proclaimed,Gentry Bros. famous shows will exhibit in Aspen this afternoon and evening. This is Gentry Bros. sixteenth successful season, and the show is larger than ever before. The show consists of about 350 aristocratic animal actors, dogs, ponies, monkeys, camels, and five baby elephants. The Gentry show is praised by both the press and the pulpit to be the greatest trained animal show now exhibiting under canvas. Gentry Bros. have engaged as special features this season the juggling Normans, five in number, Indian club swingers, jugglers and acrobats; also Yoshamite Japanese troupe, eight in number, hip and head balancers. There will be a grand free street parade the day of the exhibition through the principal streets of the city at 10:30 a.m. The price of admission is 25c and 50c. The tents are water-proof and have a seating capacity of about 4,000 people.Always with an ear to the ground for the next big thing, the paper reported “Aspen To Be Invalid Haven,”Nestling in a canon near Maroon creek and about two and a half miles from the city, Mr. S.C. Nestle while going through the country Tuesday discovered a vapor cave. The entrance of the cavern is moss covered and from in pours dense volumes of steam. Mr. Nestle was unable to ascertain the dimensions of the cave but seen enough to convince him that it is of vast extent. He stated that the cave is as hot as a furnace and the surroundings are in many respects similar to those at Glenwood Springs. Back of the cave and nearby Mr. Nestle states there are a number of hot springs.By driving a tunnel about 100 feet Mr. Nestle says that the cave can be opened up and be available for invalids and others. It is probable that the discoverer of the cavern will form a stock company and open up the property as a resort, building a large hotel and a number of cottages. … In this event Aspen will become famous not only as a great mining camp but also as a health resort.

Fifty years ago our U.S. senators sent out telegrams to their state newspapers to keep constituents up to date on their maneuvers in the Capitol. This wire message, published in full by The Aspen Times, refers to a concern as topical today as it was in 1955.Senators Eugene D. Millikin and Gordon Allot, accompanied by Mr. Boyd Guthrie, director of the Bureau of Mines shale to oil plant at Rifle, appeared before the Appropriations Committee today seeking the restoration of funds for continuing the operations at Rifle. …The senators for the second time this year made a strong appeal for the continuation of this plant. It is necessary, they said, in order that the shale oil industry might be fully developed, and in the interest of national security be ready for any emergency calling for increased energy sources. …We are hopeful that the Senate will restore this drastic cut and replace the money as requested by President Eisenhower and ourselves. Regards,Eugene D. Millikin, U.S.S.Gordon Allot, U.S.S.A big boost to our famous fishing streams (see photos) was in the works. The paper reported,Sunday the Roaring Fork Chapter of the Isaak Walton League of America together with officials and members of the Game and Fish Department began work on a project of great interest to all sportsmen as well as all persons who are dependent on our natural resources indirectly for their livelihood – natural resources, which make this area so attractive to tourists. …

The present beaver ponds on the Maxwell Ranch on Maroon Creek were selected by members of the league and the game and fish department for enlargement so as to be employed as trout rearing ponds. These ponds will provide an additional fifty to sixty thousand trout for the area from Snowmass to Independence Pass. If this suggestion had been taken seriously, we would not be enjoying classical music in our airy, light-filled tent. On the other hand, a stunning compromise was realized in 2000 with Harry Teague’s design and the building of the permanent Benedict Music Tent.Of special interest to Aspenites was the proposal of councilman Fred Glidden that the city promote the building of a public hall of such design that would accommodate the Music School, concerts of the Music Festival, Design Conference, city offices, etc.The building of such a building would eliminate the need for very expensive replacement and upkeep of the amphitheater canvas top, and furnish suitable accommodations for the meetings of larger groups that want to come to Aspen but cannot for the want of space.

The Aspen Yacht Club held its 13th annual regatta at “Lake Ruedi Reservoir,” and reporter Mick Ireland explained,According to Don Sheeley, commodore for the city recreation department program, “Anyone can make a boat go back and forth in the water.”But, to really sail a boat means learning how to race it, for racing forces the sailor to deal with all of the elements of sailing, its rules, mechanics and equipment at one time.Sheeley, along with adozen other Aspen sailors, participated in the yacht club’s regatta along with 69 other competitors, most of whom came from the front range cities to race at Ruedi.The two days of races featured six single class divisions … .The mountain-ringed lake has a reputation for tricky and changeable winds, as sailors found on Saturday after starting the second race in an almost dead calm and finishing in high winds that blew several of the boats over.”If you can sail here, you can sail anywhere in the world,” Sheeley said.And, according to Sheeley, people come to Aspen’s regatta because it is “the most fun and best organized.” The regatta was followed, as always, by a free picnic dinner for all the participants, the food having been prepared by Barbara Guy.Here’s a planning tool: limiting water service. An editorial opined,Last week Aspen’s city council was presented with a complex water management plan covering all facets of its water service for the next 10 years. … Estimated cost of the multitude of improvements calculated for the plan is about $30 million, and financing is envisioned by a series of bond issues to be repaid through increases in water rates and tap fees. … We seriously question the wisdom of including service to area seven, west of the airport, in the water plan. In one place the plan says there are 45 homes here and 62 lots. In another it claims there are 127 equivalent units with another 127 expected in the future.

In any case there is an insignificant number of customers when compared with the other service areas. Yet roughly 45 percent of the total anticipated cost is to make possible this extension to 2.78 percent of the residents. Not only is this not cost efficient, it is contrary to good planning, which should discourage further strip development. There was more news from City Hall. Following a recommendation from the historic preservation committee, Aspen’s city council voted unanimously to adopt a six-month moratorium on construction in the Main Street historic district.HPC member Jon Seigle told the council members that the committee has been criticized for allowing such massive structures in the Main Street historic district.However, he explained, since the structures conform to existing floor area ratio regulations, the committee did not feel it could legally restrict them. … [The HPC] asked the council to impose a moratorium while new regulations could be devised.[The HPC] also explained that if the council did not want to reduce the FAR for the entire district it could consider a variable reduction, allowing more mass closer to the central core and less mass as the distance from the core increased.Seigle told the council that it was not fair to the community to let Main Street become wall to wall massive new Victorians and lose the heritage of 100 years.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.