25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

The pumps in the Smuggler mine were regularly in the news a century ago. There was this, for example, from The Aspen Democrat-Times:

The electric pumps are being lowered in the Free Silver shaft today and being installed in the big pumping room twelve hundred feet below the surface of the earth.

When installed, the Free Silver will have the largest electric pumping plant in the United States, or in the world.

“Smile and pump,” says Manager Elias Cohn of the Smuggler mining company.

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Pitkin County’s mineral output also made headlines a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

The mineral production of Pitkin County for the year 1910 is figured out as follows by T.J. Dalzell, commissioner of mines:






This places us ninth in the list of twenty-seven mineral-producing counties, with Teller County in the lead with a production of $10,994,708.59. The total wealth added to the nation by Colorado’s mineral production in 1910, is $33,000,623.74.

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The ladies of Aspen engaged in some unusual entertainment a century ago. The Aspen-Democrat Times reported:

After the lodging meeting of Aspen Circle last night, a most delightful and novel entertainment was given by the committee in charge.

The first number on the program was a log-sawing contest, the timber being provided by Robert Bulloch. Each and everyone present sawed a log, some of the ladies even cutting their log in two, and the prize was awarded Miss Hulda Bulloch, who finished in the marvelous time of 40 seconds.

Next came a nail-driving contest, and was won by Mrs. Michael Lynch in 5 seconds, which showed clearly she was an old hand at the business and should have been barred on the grounds of being a professional. It took some of the ladies five minutes to do the trick.

The most novel and up-to-date number on the program, in which all participated and which was reserved until the last, was a hobble skirt-hurdle race, from which much merriment resulted, and everyone was hobbled and timed. The prize for the race was captured by Miss Margaret Chambers. Some of the heavyweights came to grief by falling face downward on the carpet, while others attempted to waltz.

Plenty of Aspen telephone numbers still begin with the familiar digits 9 and 2, but the days of referring to the local exchange as “WAlnut” were coming to a close 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported on the changing times:

The telephone exchange WAlnut will be a thing of the past by 1962 when Aspen will convert to “all-number calling,” Aspen Mountain States manager George Walueff said this week.

Intending to simplify telephone dialing procedures, the change will mark the demise of the present two-letter, five numeral system. It’s necessitated by the fact that ultimately, the telephone company would literally run out of numbers because of the limitations of word prefixes.

Another reason for the introduction of All-Number Calling is the rapid extension of Direct Distance Dialing throughout the nation. With DDD, no two numbers in a state or area can be alike.

The evolution from words to numbers will be gradual. As new numbers are connected, all-number designations will be assigned and appear in directories along with remaining exchange names until the entire changeover is completed.

Actually, there will be no change in the way numbers are dialed. For example, WA 5-3471 would become 925-3471, with the 9-2 pulls of the dial the same as W-A.

Aspen Mountain’s manager was hanging up his skis 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Charlie Maddalone, Aspen Mountain manager for the past 16 years, has announced his resignation from the Aspen Skiing Company at the end of this season. Maddalone has been a Ski Co employee for 25 years.

The 53-year-old Aspen native said his immediate future plans don’t include retirement; rather, he will be “spending more time relaxing and playing golf.”

Maddalone decided earlier this year to leave the company, reportedly before he knew of its plans to build the six-person Silver Queen gondola on Little Nell.

He helped develop the Aspen Mountain Master Plan and was the primary instigator of the area’s recent lift and terrain improvements.

The Aspen Mountain manager will be retained as a “special projects consultant,” said the Ski Co.

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Skier numbers slipped in 1985-86, according to a report in The Aspen Times:

Preliminary figures released by the Aspen Skiing Company show a drop in skier days by 4.6 percent from last season on Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Snowmass.

Figures show a drop of 5.23 percent on Ajax, 1.84 percent on Snowmass and a whopping 15 percent decline in skier visits to Buttermilk this season.

Breckenridge in Summit County, which is also owned and operated by the Aspen Skiing Company, reported a drop of 2.3 percent.

Pat O’Connor, spokesman for the Aspen Highlands, was not available to comment on the mountain’s figures to date.