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

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

A river span used for foot traffic in Aspen was made safer a century ago, except for one detail. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

The railroad trestle from the old Rio Grande depot across the Roaring Fork is being put in first-class shape for the miners who use the bridge going to and from work. An excellent footway is being built by the Rio Grande company between the tracks and walking will now be comparatively safe across this trestle.

The one thing lacking, however, for the safety of those walking over the trestle at night, is proper light. The county commissioners have discontinued the large arc light at the town end of the bridge. By all means the county should reinstall this light as over one hundred miners cross the bridge at night.

• • • •

The Aspen High School junior class hosted a social event a century ago that received mention in the local paper. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

The members of the Junior class entertained all students of the Aspen High School last evening at Fraternal Hall, dancing being enjoyed until 1 o’clock.

It is unnecessary to state that all who were entitled to be present were there to enjoy the fun provided by the Juniors, and with Sweeney’s orchestra furnishing the music, nothing was missing to make the evening one of perfect pleasure for the young folks present.

Delicious punch and wafers were served throughout the dance.

Whenever Aspen’s young folks get together a jolly good time is the result and last evening was no exception to this rule.

Independence Pass east of Aspen was not yet paved 50 years ago, but there was talk that it might soon be. The Aspen Times reported:

Though still in the rumor stage, an indication was given this week that the Federal Government may spend $600,000 for improvement of the road over Independence Pass.

Asked by county commissioners Monday, March 20, whether the rumor was true, two members of the Colorado Department of Highways who were present said they could neither confirm nor deny it.

The state highway men were Homer H. Gray, district construction engineer, and Earnest H. Green, maintenance superintendent, both located in Grand Junction. They were in Aspen to check progress being made in construction of the new Castle Creek Bridge.

Gray said that the state must approve plans of the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, the federal agency involved in the Independence Pass road speculation. He added that the aerial survey of the pass area completed by BPR last summer had been looked over by state engineers.

• • • •

The Aspen Music Festival was seeking contributions from the community 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Music Associates of Aspen trustees want $25,000 in contributions for the 1961 season from Aspen businessmen and individuals, it was announced this week by trustee John Doremus, chairman of the local fund drive.

Though no actual goal was set for Aspen contributions in 1960, $22,684 was donated here. Last year’s expenses totaled $267,000, while the estimated 1961 budget is $277,000.

Among the reasons cited by Doremus for the $10,000 increase are higher salaries for orchestra members, 100 percent increase in the cost of practice facilities and improvements in the Roaring Fork Cafeteria.

Though the building is owned by the Aspen Company, the MAA is its principal user and has agreed to assume some of the costs of renovation.

Doremus said that the steep rise in the practice room rents was based principally on the MAA’s unwillingness to accept a “prohibitive” offer from the Aspen School Board for the use of its buildings for the 1961 summer season.

Improvements were coming to the slopes of Snowmass 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

With Vail serving as the target, the Aspen Skiing Co. last Friday pulled the trigger on a $4.6 million Snowmass Mountain improvement plan.

Two high-speed quad chairlifts from the base of Fanny Hill to the area below the Big Burn will be built this summer, capping more than $20 million in uphill improvements on ASC mountains.

Friday’s announcement at the Snowmass Conference Center came on the heels of the ASC decision to install a gondola on Aspen Mountain this summer.

• • • •

Local ski patrollers were poised to unionize 25 years ago, though the results of a vote were not yet official. The Aspen Times reported:

The overwhelming vote by Aspen-area ski patrollers to be represented in collective bargaining efforts by the Aspen Professional Ski Patrol Association will be certified on Monday, provided no objections are filed from either side.

“We won’t be a real union until we’re certified,” said Doug Driskell, vice president of the APSPA.

According to the National Labor Relations Board, a period of five working days following an election is allowed for either side to question election results.

Some 88 percent of patrollers at Aspen, Buttermilk and Snowmass participating in the Monday vote cast ballots to have the Aspen Professional Ski Patrol Association represent them in negotiations with their employer, the Aspen Skiing Company.


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