25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

An oil magnate/philanthropist was in Aspen and the town was on a roll a century ago, according to the Aspen Democrat-Times. The newspaper reported:

Aspen has taken her old place on the map and to say that things are humming in this old berg is putting it mildly. It’s simply a scream!

The Jerome hotel is full of tourists. John D. Rockefeller and a large party of friends arrives this morning, occupying the entire second floor of that popular resort.

The Smuggler Mining Company is working one thousand men; the Deep Shaft has 500 men on the roll and D. R. C. Brown is arranging to start all his mining properties by the first of July, after which date at least two thousand men will be delving in the mineral belt of Aspen.

Dunbar Wright is going right ahead in the Mineral Farm and this morning, superintendent Jeff Hetherly put 100 men on the payroll.

At this writing, tents are being pitched on all the vacant lots in the city and being rented at fabulous sums to those tourists unable to secure rooms in the hotel or any of the numerous rooming houses.

• • • •

A trade school in Aspen was on the mind of a state legislator a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

Senator Twining left last evening for Denver to be in attendance on the state Senate when it convened this morning.

The senator stated while here that when he left Denver the chances for the passage of his bill for the establishment of a Colorado State Trades School in or near Aspen were very good and that he would use his best endeavors to put the bill through the legislature at the earliest possible date. Should the bill pass, no doubt the institution will be located in our city as there are several available sites for the purpose that could be secured for a reasonable sum, leaving enough of the $50,000 appropriation for such buildings and equipment as will perhaps be sufficient for the purposes of the school for the next few years.

Fifty years ago, local residents had a hand in the development of a new ski area in New Mexico. The Aspen Times reported:

When New Mexico’s newest major ski development opens next winter on Sierra Blanca Mountain, it will owe its existence to one full-time and three part-time Aspenites.

The group, incorporated as the Sierra Blanca Corporation, recently received a conditional permit to put in a $1,246,000 ski area on the slopes of the 12,100-foot high mountain in southern New Mexico.

President of the corporation is Kingsbury Pitcher, an Aspen resident and former Aspen Ski School supervisor. The firm is controlled by three part-time Aspenites, Robert O. Anderson, Donald Anderson and Joe Lackey.

Robert O. Anderson is president of the Aspen Institute and a director of the Aspen Company. His brother Donald is a major stockholder and Lackey is a director of the Aspen Company.

The group has been studying the projected area and making plans since 1957.

• • • •

Fifty years ago, an Austrian claimed victory in what was dubbed the world’s first pro ski race. The Aspen Times reported:

Two tenths of a second off the pace after the first run in the world’s first professional ski race at Buttermilk Mt., Sunday, Jan. 29, former Austrian ace Christian Pravda whizzed down the 16-gate slalom course to take the second run, the race and $1,500 in prize money.

Total time for the former international champion, who now teaches at the Sun Valley, Idaho ski school, was 2 minutes, 2.8 seconds.

Anderl Molterer was second in 2:03.0 and Toni Spiss was third in 2:03.4. Both were teammates with Pravda on Austrian national teams and were international champions in their own right. They now instruct at the Aspen Ski School.

“Aspen resort combats rumor mill” read the headline on the front page of The Aspen Times. Much like this winter, when Aspen had its warmest December in a couple of decades, 25 years ago, the resort worked to spread the word about good snow conditions despite just 9 1/4 inches of snowfall in January. The newspaper reported:

The rumors of closures at Rocky Mountain ski resorts began to taint phone calls and conversation about two weeks ago. Of course, it wasn’t true, but as one local tour operator asked: “How do you communicate to 210 million Americans that skiing is good?”

Colorado Ski Country USA Public Relations Manager Stephanie Nora said, “The rumors were definitely out there. We were getting calls from all over, mostly from our members.” CSCUSA is the trade association which represents 32 Colorado ski resorts.

“Had the snow situation lasted two to three weeks longer, we would have had a serious problem,” she observed this week. But before the rumors could get out of hand, CSCUSA sent out 8,000 press releases to travel agents across the country.

And on the heels of about eight inches of snowfall the first week in February, this weekend The New York Times will carry a “lighthearted” advertisement with the message, “Skiers – news flash – fresh power in Colorado – book now!”

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