25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

A century ago, the local newspaper was urging Aspen residents to partake in a bit of spring cleaning. Such an effort was in the interest of good health, as well as the appearance of the city, The Aspen Democrat-Times said, reporting:

Now that spring has surely arrived, it should be the pleasure as well as the duty of every resident of the city to assist the officials in improving the sanitary condition of the alleys by a thorough cleaning of the winter’s accumulation of ashes, tin cans and other refuse matter.

This can be done by breaking up the ice-packs so that the sun can get in its work. When the ice and snow from the dark covers has been thawed out the rubbish should be raked into piles on the sides of the alleys so that the city scavenger force may get it into the wagon with the least possible delay and remove it to the dump grounds.

Special attention should be given to back yards, sheds and barns. These should be thoroughly cleaned and the debris piled in the alley, ready to be gathered up and carted away.

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A potentially destructive fire was caught in time 100 years ago, The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

About 10 o’clock last night, the watchman at the Smuggler, in making his rounds, discovered flames issuing from the gable end of the Mollie compressor house.

Warning was quickly given the men on duty and while the mine whistle was sounding the fire alarm, a line of hose was stretched and water turned on and in a short time, the flames were subdued.

As soon as the alarm was sounded, a large number of men from town rushed over to the mine to render assistance if it were needed. They were filled with consternation when they learned it was the compressor house that was on fire, as they appreciated what a calamity it would be to the company and the town if the fire should make headway.

Just as it had been a half-century earlier, cleanup of Aspen’s alleyways was a pressing concern for the town 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Local business men will be asked to clean up the alleys in the downtown area or face prosecution under the city’s trash removal ordinance, the City Council decided Monday, April 10, at its regular meeting.

The decision was triggered by a discussion of a recent fire in the alley behind Trader Ed’s. Mayor Garrish told the Council that the condition of the alley at the time of the fire was deplorable.

During the discussion, it was pointed out that the City had the power to clean up the alleys and to fine the owners of firms not keeping the alleys clean. A case was cited where Mario’s, a former Aspen restaurant, was fined $300 for violating the cleanup ordinance.

• • • •

Hollywood, no stranger to Aspen, found the local scenery to its liking 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

A Texas longhorn steer pulling sleds heaped with local youngsters at Ashcroft this winter will be one of the scenes in a Walt Disney full-length film scheduled for release next fall.

Given a script title of “Sancho,” the movie is taken from J. Frank Dobey’s book, “The Longhorns.” Dobey, a Nobel prize winner, is one of the Southwest’s most famous writers of animal and nature stories.

A huge, lovable and intelligent longhorn, Sancho, is the pet of a Mexican family living near the Rio Grande River. Stolen by a villain and sold to a cattle company driving stock to Wyoming, he escapes and heads back home.

His journey back to the Mexican family takes him across the mountains as winter arrives – and is where the Ashcroft footage takes up the plot.

Twenty-five years ago, the Aspen City Council paved the way for construction of The Little Nell hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain. The Aspen Times reported:

A complex, 36-page SPA (specially planned area) agreement for the Aspen Skiing Company’s 92-room hotel and gondola was approved in concept by the City Council Monday.

However, the action was not taken until after Mayor Bill Stirling again asked the company to consider offering local skiers a true season’s ski pass instead of the current Mountain Passport, which requires daily supplemental payments.

In addition, the council listened once again to self-styled engineer Hans Gramiger’s request that the Skico be required to launch its gondola ride in a tunnel to reduce the height of the terminal building.