25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

“Carbondale converts take the plunge in chilly water,” read the headline in The Aspen Democrat-Times a century ago. The newspaper reported:

While a blizzard raged with the temperature hovering around the zero mark yesterday afternoon, Rev. T. M. Vogue, pastor of the Christian Church of Carbondale, baptized men, women and children to the number of twelve in the icy cold waters of the Crystal River. Each of the converts including the pastor braved the possibilities of taking pneumonia by their plunge in the chilly water, but up to this afternoon, none apparently feel any bad effects from the baptism.

The baptism is the result of revival services which have been held in the Christian Church during the past week. A large crowd lined the banks of the river to witness the twelve shivering people take the dip.

• • • •

The illegal sale of booze in Aspen made the news a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

The city authorities have been busy a long time in endeavoring to ascertain how so much beer and liquor was so easily obtainable on Sundays in certain residence sections of the city.

The matter has been traced down until now it is known that certain people had been in the habit of laying in wholesale lots of beer and whisky and after bottling it, retailed it at their homes to their friends and acquaintances at any and all times.

The authorities, satisfied that the people engaged in the traffic were doing so not knowing they were violating the city, state and federal law, warned them to desist. This warning had the desired effect for a time, but it was soon learned that the sale of liquor from these places had been resumed, but more secretly than formerly.

The city authorities are determined to break up this unlawful business and have issued a final warning.

A mischievous pig in Redstone was the source of complaints 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Redstone, where more construction on year-round vacation facilities is planned, is no place for a 200-pound pig to run loose, Pitkin County commissioners were told Monday.

George White, a resident of the Crystal River community, said the pig was cute when he was won in a greased pig contest by another Redstonite. Now, however, it weighs about 200 pounds and is adept at upsetting garbage cans.

Something should be done about the situation, White said.

• • • •

It’s now known as the Wienerstube building and is slated for demolition, but 50 years ago, Aspenites were getting to know the structure on East Hyman Avenue as their new post office. The Aspen Times published a photograph and this caption:

Aspen’s new stone and glass, chalet-shaped Post Office opened for business last Monday, Feb. 27. In addition to clean, well-lighted spaciousness, the building offered customers 822 boxes, 362 more than in the rooms just vacated. When completed, the building cost about $89,000, $20,000 more than the original estimate made by the owner-builder. … The biggest problem resulting from the move, according to Postmaster George Ware, is putting the correct numbers on mail so that it will be distributed to the right boxes. During the first three days of operation, 270 hours of extra clerk time was spent re-addressing letters.

Today, Little Annie Basin is a place of Aspen Skiing Co. powder tours, but 25 years ago, there was talk of making the terrain on the back of Aspen Mountain part of the ski area. The Aspen Times reported:

The Aspen Skiing Company’s announcement last week about building a six-person gondola on Aspen Mountain has rekindled hope that maybe some day the terrain on the backside of Ajax will be open to the public.

But the dream may just be that, for Ski Co President Jerry Blann has not appeared enthused about the prospect any time he has been questioned about it, using the limited amount of bed space in Aspen as a primary defense.

Aspen Ski Co’s Fred Smith was asked this week at a planning and zoning meeting if the ASC would consider acquiring the property. Said Smith: “I can’t comment on our plans but we’re certainly keeping our options open.”

• • • •

His most recent local post was as town manager in Basalt, but 25 years ago, Bill Efting was about to take his first job in Aspen city government (he would later serve as assistant city manager). The Aspen Times reported:

Aspen will have a new recreation director next week when Bill Efting assumes his duties after having been selected with the help of a special committee.

He will fill a vacancy created in the fall of 1984 with the resignation of Ted Armstrong, who retired after serving for many years as Aspen’s first and only recreation director.

According to a release from Assistant City Manager Ron Mitchell, who made the final selection from among 50 applicants, Patsy Malone, Susan Michael, Don Sheeley and Chuck Torinus helped with the selection process.

Efting left a position as executive director of the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District in Meeker, Colo., to assume the Aspen position, which has a starting salary of $30,000.


See more