25-50-100 years ago
June 16, 2011
With some technological upgrades in place, The Aspen Democrat-Times was predicting the Free Silver shaft in Smuggler Mountain would become a “veritable hive of industry.” A century ago, the newspaper offered this update:
The Smuggler company will by this evening have changed its pumping and hoisting power from steam to electricity. The battery of three electric pumps recently installed is doing good work. Two of the pumps are at present handling the water successfully.
The electric hoist runs as smooth as a watch and is driven by two motors of 65 horsepower each. This morning, the counter weight was adjusted in the Free Silver shaft and this afternoon the cable which will lower and raise the new double-deck cage was wound upon the spool of the hoist. It is stated the hoist will be run at a speed that will bring the cage from the 1,200-foot level in one minute.
The tramway from the shaft to the Smuggler ore bins has been completed. In order to get the proper grade for this tramway, it was necessary to construct a 200-foot trestle from the cage station, which was erected at a point on the gallows frame about 25 feet above the collar of the shaft.
• • • •
Playing baseball on the road proved a bit challenging a century ago, and the Aspen nine were short on opponents as a result. A change of train schedule was expected to help the situation. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:
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Owing to the inability to get an outside team in and out on the same day, the Aspen team has not been able to secure a game, but by the proposed change in the Midland schedule, teams can be brought to Aspen and leave here on the same day.
From now on, games will be played nearly every Sunday, if possible. There will be a meeting of the ball team at Rowland’s barber shop at 7:30 sharp tonight.
The search for a miner made headlines in The Aspen Times 50 years ago. The newspaper reported:
The drama deep below the earth which started Tuesday evening in a mine at Coal Basin above Redstone with the disappearance of a coal miner continued today as the missing man’s co-workers dug through an accumulation of mud and rock to recover his body.
Believed buried in the muck, created by the unexpected flooding of the tunnel in which he was working, is Frank Gilmore Jr., Glenwood Springs.
He was operating a coal mining machine on the night shift at the Mid-Continent Coke and Coal Company above Redstone Tuesday when the machine broke through the wall of the tunnel into another tunnel or cavity filled with water.
Gilmore’s three co-workers managed to retreat to the safety of cross cuts as the water began running through the breach in the wall. At the time, they thought Gilmore had followed them.
• • • •
These days, anonymously produced editions of Aspen Common Sense occasionally circulate around town. Fifty years ago, it was “The Night Writer.” The Aspen Times reported:
Brandishing “a weapon called truth,” a mimeographed sheet called “The Night Writer” made its appearance in Aspen early this week with the vow that it will wipe out evil, but gave only a broad hint of what evil exists here.
Publication will be sporadic and scheduled to “times of need” … “not dailey, not weekley, not monthley,” as the anonymous editor expressed it.
Although The Night Writer informed the public that he intends to clandestinely “collect my facts from conversations in your bars, in your restaurants, and on your streets,” it is reliably reported by several townspeople who say they know the identity of the mysterious editor that more direct communication is possible.
A fatal accident on Aspen Mountain was under investigation 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation of Monday’s fatal accident that claimed an employee of the Aspen Skiing Co. will include information on the process used to remove logs and stumps from the mountain to make way for a gondola.
Keith Beidleman, 23, of Aspen, was dead upon arrival at Aspen Valley Hospital on Monday morning after he was believed struck by a log. Beidleman was a member of a trail crew removing logs and stumps from the line cut for the new gondola. He was discovered lying in the middle of Copper Bowl by crew supervisor Rob Clark.
According to Gordon Perroux, an OSHA supervisor, in determining the cause of the accident, the investigation will address the process being utilized to remove logs and stumps.
• • • •
Twenty-five years ago, a lodge was proposed off the back of Aspen Mountain, a few hundred yards behind the Sundeck restaurant atop the ski area. The lodging was to serve backcountry skiing and hiking in the Little Annie Basin area. The Aspen Times reported:
If a vote had been taken by Pitkin County commissioners strictly on the merits of the proposed Norpine Haus, it would have passed unanimously Tuesday.
But such is not the case in a county where any development, no matter how attractive, must go under the scrutiny of growth control regulations. The Norpine Haus may be popular among commissioners and planners, but it represents growth nonetheless, and that means toeing the line to stringent rules and procedures.
But what if the Norpine Haus is defined as something other than a lodge? Then the favorable development could clear at least one major hurdle: zoning.
According to county zoning regulations, a lodge is a prohibited use on Aspen Mountain, which is where the Norpine Haus, a mountain cabin concept, is planned. …
The commissioners, minus Tom Blake who was absent, agreed with planning director Alan Richman that by redefining the Norpine Haus as, say, a resort cabin, the prohibited use issue could be laid to rest. Unless that happens, the project has about as much chance as a bunny rabbit at a coyote convention.