25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen Times fileA competitor soars above the crowd at Aspen Highlands during the Dearborn Freestyle Cup in January 1986. Participants skied down the bumps on Scarlett's and performed an aerial maneuver off a 7-foot jump at the bottom of the run. Freestyle Fridays were a weekly fixture at Highlands for years.

A mill in the Hunter Creek Valley was returning to operation a century ago. The Aspen-Democrat Times reported:

The Hunter Creek mill, which has lain idle for some time, will be reopened and ready for business February first. For the past two days, the work of clearing the snow from the tracks leading to the mill has been steadily going on.

The mill has been rented from D.R.C. Brown by the following well-known gentlemen: Axel Johnson, Al Peterson and John Anderson. The mill will be put in good running order within the next few days and be ready to receive shipments by the above date.

Arrangements are now under way with the numerous leasers throughout the camp which will result in this mill handling a goodly share of the ore now being taken out. The gentlemen in charge of the mill are making the price of treatment as nominal as possible so as to enable the leaser to market his product at a considerable saving on the previous cost of treatment.

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Today, Pearl Pass south of Aspen is popular with four-wheelers during the summer months. A century ago, the route was apparently contemplated as a legitimate way to travel through this part of the state. The Aspen-Democrat Times reported:

The people of Aspen and Pitkin County are becoming more and more interested in the matter of good roads. The portion of the state highway in which we are more particularly interested is that which runs from Denver south to Colorado Springs; thence west across the South Park following the line of the Colorado Midland to Buena Vista; thence northwest to Leadville and from there north and west to Glenwood Springs.

The state highway commission has mapped out a proposed road from Glenwood Springs through Aspen to Ashcroft and from the latter place over Pearl Pass to Crested Butte and Gunnison City.

The proposed route is satisfactory as far as Ashcroft, but our county commissioners cannot figure out that the road from Ashcroft to Gunnison would be of any practical benefit to Aspen or Pitkin County. This would be a long, roundabout way to Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Denver, with a high pass to cross that would be impossible to keep open during the winter months.

The rebuilt Limelight Lodge inaugurated its apres-ski live music scene recently with appearances by The Limeliters, a folk group (now with a different line-up) that got its start at a long-gone iteration of the Limelite in Aspen. Fifty years ago, the trio had was back for a local engagement. The Aspen Times reported:

Another act will be played next week in a success drama which started two years ago at a local nightclub when the Limeliters return to Aspen.

Named after the Limelite, an Aspen bistro, the trio was formed here, but went from its first, haphazard co-operation to become one of the two most famous folk-singing trios in the country.

After their first Aspen appearances, the three singers went to the national club circuit, began appearing on TV, and made a popular long-play record.

During the last few months, they have appeared twice on the Ed Sullivan TV Show and once on the Dinah Shore Chevy Show.

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New fishing restrictions were going into effect near Aspen 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

The recently announced fly-fishing restrictions on part of the Roaring Fork River west of Aspen was “in response to public demand,” the Colorado Fish and Game Department said this week.

No further details on who asked for the action or when it was requested was given. The order will take effect when the 1961 season opens May 20.

According to the edict, only fly-fishing will be permitted from Hallam Lake northwest of town to the Upper Woody Creek bridge. The bridge is thought to be the one popularly called the True Smith bridge.

Both the announcement of the restriction and the latest information were contained in the news bulletin distributed weekly by the state agency.

The holidays left merchants smiling, according to a report in The Aspen Times 25 years ago: The newspaper said:

A communal sigh of relief could be heard in Aspen this week, as we recovered from a good to excellent holiday season.

In a spot check with local merchants, we heard lots of comments like, “I know we were very busy – I was running ragged, and “You have to grit your teeth and do your best.”

The extra effort seemed worth it. As receipts are counted up, entrepreneurs are reporting few disappointments, and even a few broken records.

Aspen Airways had its heaviest day ever last Saturday, Jan. 4, with 3,900 round trips recorded, according to spokesperson Pat Lee. The second busiest day of the holiday season was Dec. 28, with 3,500 round trips between Denver and Aspen.

The number of flights at Aspen Airport on the weekend increased from 26 to 35 during the holidays. “I don’t know how we can get any more flights in there,” said Lee.

• • • • 

Twenty-five years ago, a California resident and former Aspenite was pitching one of Aspen’s historic figures as movie material. The Aspen Times reported:

“It’s a great story.

“It’s an American story. From rags to riches and back to rags again,” enthuses Bill Lindsey, an engineer who is interested in history.

Lindsey is talking about Jerome B. Wheeler’s story.

JB Wheeler is the man who built the Jerome Hotel, the Wheeler Opera House, and the Stallard House…and then lost it all in the silver crash of 1893.

Lindsey wants to make a movie of JB’s life.

He’s already done a lot of the research at the Aspen Historical Society.

He tracked down Wheeler’s living descendants and interviewed Wheeler’s 80-year-old grandson, Horace Wheeler Rupp, who lives in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Wheeler’s grandson gave him a brief autobiography written by JB himself.

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