25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen, CO Colorado

A “mining revival” was under way in Aspen a century ago, according to an optimistic report in The Aspen Democrat-Times. The newspaper reported:

Practically all the old force is back again on the Smuggler and the breaking of ore goes merrily on. The resumption of work on the mine is already having a stimulating effect upon the nerves of our people and that the payroll of the camp will be larger next month than for some time past is most gratifying to our merchants.

With the water out of the Free Silver shaft and the relief pump ready for an emergency, there is no longer any fear that water will again get the best of them and men will at once be put to work cutting out stations for the mammoth electric pumps.

The work at the Smuggler and Free Silver has but just begun and it is safe to say that before the expiration of ninety days, there will be more men employed in the camp than at any one time in recent years.

• • • •

Trout were to be stocked in local waters a century ago, according to The Aspen Democrat-Times. The newspaper reported:

Supervisor McLaren informs us that during the past year, the forest rangers, acting under instructions, have penetrated into all the remote places within the national forest in search of lakes and streams without fish, as it is the intention of the service to stock all such waters with fry if the conditions are suitable for fish culture.

This portion of the work has been completed and now the local office is in communication with federal hatcheries and as soon as weather conditions will permit, an abundance of trout fry will be sent here for distribution.

Fifty years ago, a new bridge was in the works on the outskirts of Aspen. The Aspen Times reported:

A new bridge will be built over Castle Creek west of Aspen this spring, but it will be a structural steel span, not the unique, prestressed concrete model previously considered.

Cost of the bridge will be almost $29,000 under original estimates. In January, the state highway department said a structural steel bridge would be $233,992. Low bid made Tuesday, Feb. 7 was $205,191.

In comparison, a prestressed concrete bridge was estimated at $246,249. What consideration the concrete bridge was given was not explained.

• • • •

Pro ski racing took a step forward in Aspen 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Professional ski racing, inaugurated three weeks ago at Aspen, received an endorsement this week from the president of the International Ski Federation (FIS), governing body for amateur skiing throughout the world.

Dr. Marc Hodler of Switzerland, the FIS official, told Friedl Pfeifer, pro race promoter, that top skiers should have a chance to earn money for their skills. He added that pro racing should stimulate amateur skiing by giving young racers something to work for, and that he wanted pro races organized to prevent abuses.

At a meeting held in Aspen Saturday, Feb. 11, Pfeifer was elected president of the newly formed International Professional Ski Racers Association.

Twenty-five years ago, Aspen ski patrollers were close to deciding whether or not they would unionize. The Aspen Times reported:

Ski patrollers from Aspen Mountain, Snowmass and Buttermilk will vote in separate elections on Monday, March 24, to decide whether to establish the Aspen Professional Ski Patrol Association as a labor bargaining unit.

An election will also be held that same day in Breckenridge to determine the fate of the Breckenridge Professional Ski Patrol Association. The Breckenridge ski area in Summit County is owned and operated by the Aspen Skiing Company.

A simple majority vote will determine the outcome of the elections.

• • • •

An attack on a celebrity’s dog made news 25 years ago in Aspen. The Aspen Times reported:

A local dentist faces prosecution over allegations that his two German shepherds attacked and severely mauled a Lhasa Apso belonging to his neighbor, movie star Jack Nicholson.

The attack, which occurred on Feb. 13 along Castle Creek Road, was cut short by three witnesses who said if they had not intervened, the small victim probably would have been killed.

The Pitkin County animal control office is investigating the incident and declined to make any comments except to acknowledge that the attack occurred.

• • • •

Rescuers were summoned to aid an out-of-bounds skier on Aspen Mountain 25 years ago. Patrollers got a pair of skis for the man and picked a route down the side of the mountain despite high avalanche danger, leading him to safety. The Aspen Times reported:

Members of the Aspen Ski Patrol and Mountain Rescue worked through Thursday night and into Friday morning rescuing a 21-year-old New York man who had skied out of bounds and was stranded below Walsh’s Gulch on Aspen Mountain.

Alan Merzon was reported missing by a friend, Stephen Levinson, at about 5 p.m., Thursday, according to Aspen Skiing Co. spokeswoman Marie Hux. He was said to have left the Sundeck Restaurant at about 3 p.m. Members of the Ski Patrol were called out and swept the mountain. At about 11 p.m., a member of the patrol heard someone shouting.

It took patrol members about five hours to weave their way in the dark, through trees and brush, about one mile down the mountain, where Merzon was found uninjured, cold and without skis.


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