25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com
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25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

Aspen’s social scene was front-page news a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported on a host of gatherings:

The social whirl in society circles of Aspen the past ten days has been a most strenuous one, owing to the many entertainments and various festivities in honor of Mrs. A.B. Shilling of Denver, and Mrs. Harry Fiske of Leadville, two delightful out-of-town visitors who have been the guests of Mr. and Mrs. L.H. Tomkins and Mr. and Mrs. Elias Cohn the past two weeks.

Both these ladies are former well-known and popular Aspen residents and it was on the occasion of Mrs. Shilling visiting at the home of her sister, Mrs. Fiske, in Leadville, that the visit with Aspen friends was included.

• • • •

Entertainment at the Wheeler Opera House was the stuff of almost daily updates in the local newspaper a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times let local residents know what was going on each evening at the venue. An example:

Magnificent pictures at the Wheeler tonight – and lots of them – four large reels of superb pictures. “His New Family,” by Edison: fine and dandy is the verdict. “Human Hearts” by Selig, the most beautiful drama that has ever been exhibited in any show, introducing Mr. Hal Reid as Tom Logan. “Human Hearts” is a drama that will live. “Liz’s Career,” one of Lubin’s finest and that means something when Lubin says so. The great Vitagraph company gives us one of their best productions, “A Woman’s Love.” This is a famous picture and has been sought by exhibitors all over the country. This picture alone has filled more than one theater. And lastly, the music will be fine. So don’t miss the big show. Everybody come.

Colorado may be short on highway funds these days, but 50 years ago, it was asking a motorist to foot the bill for bridge repairs in Aspen. The Aspen Times reported:

Considered fortunate not to have lost her life when the car she was driving almost plunged off the Maroon Creek bridge Feb. 12, Mrs. Jesse Maddalone had a change in luck this week.

In a notice dated March 13, she was asked to pay the Colorado Department of Highways $236.10 for damage to the bridge resulting from the accident.

The bill included three days of labor by a senior highway maintenance man, $56.73; the same amount of work by two highway maintenance men, $97.86; 372 feet of standard fir, $9.28; 12 carriage bolts, $2.10; and one gallon of outside white paint, $3.17.

The material and labor was used to restore approximately 60 feet of the north railing of the bridge, torn out when Mrs. Maddalone’s late-model Plymouth sedan swerved on new snow at mid-bridge.

An inspection by police officers revealed that timbers in the railing were partially rotten.

• • • •

A downvalley school district was in danger of falling apart 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

A citizen’s committee, composed of Basalt and Carbondale residents, hired a Grand Junction attorney this week in an effort to secede from the Roaring Fork School District RE-1.

In announcing their intentions to the school board at its meeting Monday night, Phil Sterker, Basalt, president of the committee said:

“Our ultimate objective is withdrawing from the school district. Our motives are not to forestall construction of schools in Glenwood. All we want is out – as quickly as possible.”

The action came a few days after a bond election for $950,000 was passed by Glenwood Springs and the School District as a whole although soundly defeated by residents of Carbondale and Basalt.

County superintendent of schools Mrs. Josephine Busby said Tuesday that she didn’t think the two communities could withdraw except by legislative action.

The unionizing of local ski patrollers was headed for a vote 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Four days remain until ski patrollers at Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Snowmass and Breckenridge will vote on whether or not to accept the Aspen and Breckenridge Professional Ski Patrol Associations.

A secret ballot election will be held next Monday, March 24 at each area between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. A simple majority vote will decide the future of the patrol union.

Each election site will be presided over by a member of the National Labor Relations Board. The patrol petitioned the NLRB in January to assist in bargaining efforts with the Ski Co.

With less than a week to go before the election, “most everybody’s mind is made up,” said LJ Erspamer, Aspen Professional Ski Patrol Association president.

“We have the support of well over 50 percent (of the patrol),” said Erspamer.

• • • •

A new entryway to the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies made its debut 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

It always was a magic place, but now it looks like you are entering an enchanted forest.

Gates of stone and wood in a Hansel and Gretl style, built by Keith Keating, define the entrance to the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies at Hallam Lake.

The gates beckon down Puppy Smith Road, into the natural wildlife area and lake. …

The gates are built of light-colored, rounded, native granite river rocks set in concrete. There are six tons of rock in each of the big pillars. Keating says it took him 200 hours to build the gates.

Keating is a master gardener, he has Nordic Gardens, and he did the gates as a donation to ACES.


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