25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

Any number of maladies could prove fatal a century ago, and Aspenites were warned to take precautions. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

Judging from the advices received from different localities throughout the state, there seems to be an epidemic of contagious diseases raging in these places from which, we are highly pleased to note, Aspen is so far immune.

Over in the Cripple Creek district, a strict quarantine has been declared owing to the prevalence of smallpox, scarlet fever and pneumonia. So alarming has the spread of these dread diseases become that the authorities have ordered the schools closed down and no public gatherings or meetings of any sort are allowed at this time. The residents of that district are certainly deserving of much sympathy in their deplorable condition.

Aspen has been very fortunate in the past, but we cannot be too careful in the future and every precaution should now be taken to prevent even the starting of any of the above diseases in this community. This is the time of the year when fevers are very easily contracted, especially among the young people.

Parents should see to it that their children’s blood and stomachs are in the best possible condition now and warn them against sudden changes.

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Money in the county’s coffers should go to road improvements, the Democrat-Times suggested a century ago, reporting:

Pitkin County will in a short time receive its dividend from the Sopris National Forest, which will be nearly $2,500.00. This money, under the law, may be used for school or road purposes, in the discretion of the county commissioners.

As we understand, the school districts are in good shape financially and especially the Aspen district, which has, it is said, $1,500.00 to the good, and as there is no likelihood of the establishment of a manual training school or the addition of a business or a domestic science course to our High School, it would seem that our county commissioners could do no better than plan a campaign for good roads in Pitkin County. The condition of the roads cut a big figure in this as in all other locations.

The safety of youngsters crossing Aspen’s Main Street was a matter of much debate 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Local school children will be protected while crossing Main Street by a series of signs, not by a red crossing light, members of the City Council decided Monday, Dec. 12.

The decision, which reversed several made by the aldermen at previous meetings, followed a report and recommendation by State Highway Department officials Ralph McCoy and Earnest Green.

Both men advocated the use of “School Crossing, Stop for pedestrians” signs instead of the proposed crossing light. They cited instances where accidents occurred at lights because children learned to rely on them and were hit when drivers did not obey the signal.

The highway officials also pointed out that the state would bear the expense of signs and painting crossings, but that the city would have to pay for a light.

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A dog sled operation in Redstone was in the offing 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Another Husky dog kennel is making preparations for sled trips in Pitkin County this winter.

Called Snow Plume Kennels, the new arctic-type enterprise is located at the Redstone Lodge at Redstone and is owned by Al Kirsch, who moved to the new ski area last May.

A resident of the interior of Alaska for 23 years, Kirsch is a dog musher with many years of experience. He will start sledding operations with a nine-dog team as soon as there is sufficient snow.

The other Husky kennel, probably the most famous in the country, is located at Toklat Lodge, Ashcroft, and is owned by Stuart and Isabel Mace.

Last winter, a team also operated at the Highlands ski area and later at Buttermilk Mountain and Aspen Mountain.

An explosion in Glenwood Springs made the front page of The Aspen Times 25 years ago. The newspaper reported:

A memorial service will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Glenwood Springs High School for 12 people killed Monday when a propane tank exploded as a crew worked on the tank’s gauge.

The 9 a.m. blast leveled the Rocky Mountain Natural Gas Company’s Glenwood office and warehouse building, located west of the city on the south side of the Colorado River, burying victims and 15 survivors alike in a smoldering rubble that hindered rescue workers’ efforts throughout a two-day search for bodies.

The last body was pulled from the pile of tortured concrete and steel at around 1:20 p.m. Tuesday, according to Police Chief Bob Halbert.

The 15 injured, 10 of them seriously, were pulled from the burning mass of debris by rescue workers from five area communities in what Halbert called “a massive outpouring of support from everyone in the area.”

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The aftermath of another blast, this one a “gangland-style” hit on an Aspen man, was also in the news:

Federal agents in Denver have uncovered no new leads, they say, in the investigation into the Dec. 8 killing of Stephen Hunt Grabow, reputed leader of a cocaine supply network that stretched from Florida to Alaska.

And, locally, approximately 150 people attended a somber memorial service held Tuesday for the dead man, whose story and persona have figured prominently in the local headlines and the local consciousness for more than a year.

The service, conducted at the Prince of Peace chapel with a mingling of Jewish and Christian symbols, featured short talks by friends and acquaintances who knew Grabow during his decade and a half in Aspen.

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