25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly
Courtesy Aspen Historical SocietyThe observation lounge in a Colorado Midland passenger train was a luxurious way to travel around the turn of the century. One hundred years ago, the Midland was preparing to take a group of Aspen picnickers up the Fryingpan River.

A century ago, local picnickers took a train to their destination. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

The Methodist Sunday school picnic will take place this year on July 18, and the place selected is Norrie, on the picturesque Frying Pan River.

A special train will be run over the Colorado Midland, leaving Aspen at 8 a.m. sharp and returning, will leave Norrie at 5:30 in the evening.

A low round-trip rate of $1.25 for adults and 65 cents for children has been made. Tickets may be procured of any member of the Sunday school committee any time between now and the departure of the train on July 18.

The annual picnics of the Methodist Sunday school are always largely attended and as it is expected the number of picnickers will be greatly increased this year, special efforts for their comfort will be made.

The committee invited the entire population of Aspen and the surrounding county to go on this picnic. Plenty of amusements for old and young will be provided.

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Basalt played host to Aspenites a century ago, and a report on the occasion made the front page in The Aspen Democrat-Times a century ago. The newspaper reported:

A glorious celebration was observed at Basalt yesterday. The members of the G.A.R. post, their wives and daughters of this place attended. Several people from Carbondale were also present. A good time was enjoyed by all.

The ladies had prepared a monstrous big dinner. The long, gorgeously decorated tables groaned under the immense quantities of things tempting to the palate.

Drs. Lof and Middleton, who had been fishing nearby, scented the good things and came in for their share. No doubt they were hungry as the fish bites were reported scarce.

About three hundred people partook of the bounteous dinner and all agreed that the ladies were certainly fine cooks and that the management was to be congratulated on the successful program for the day’s celebration.

Aspen’s hospital was looking at a name change 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

The Pitkin County Public Hospital may have a new name when the building program now in progress is completed this fall.

Pitkin Hospital and Citizen’s Hospital, the name for the institution a number of years ago, may be selected by the hospital board, the group which will decide the matter, or some other name chosen.

According to County Attorney Robert Delaney, a change in name would not effect the granting of federal funds for the enlarged structure.

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The Aspen Chamber of Commerce was contemplating censuring a local lodge 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

An Aspen lodge owner who is reported to have violated Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Law by refusing lodging to a Negro Music Student should be reprimanded, directors of the Chamber of Commerce voted Thursday, July 6, at a postponed regular meeting.

The decision was made by the directors after hearing and discussing a clear-cut case of discrimination reported by director Waddy Catchings and confirmed by Music School Dean Norman Singer.

Singer explained that the violation occurred when a group of students were sent to occupy dormitory space already contracted for in the St. Moritz Lodge. One student was turned away by owner Norman Knetch because he was a Negro.

The oft-discussed return of train service to Aspen was getting attention 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Plans for railroad service between the Denver airport and Aspen are not only alive, but progressing nicely, Randy Parten, president and major backer of the project told the Times this week.

Although he realizes that many people are skeptical about his, or anyone’s ability to re-initiate rail service to Aspen, Parten not only formed a Colorado corporation to do so, he has moved to Aspen with his family and has opened an office.

The corporation is the Roaring Fork Railroad Company, and the office is located at 601 East Hyman at the corner of Hyman and Hunter.

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The current route of Highway 82 in the vicinity of Basalt didn’t always exist. The highway used to go into the heart of town, but plans for a bypass were in the works 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Highway 82 will bypass Basalt, members of the State Highway Commission confirmed last week when they approved $2.8 million to launch construction.

The sum delegated to the bypass was part of $25 million for road work approved by the commissioners during a meeting last Friday in Glenwood Springs.

Money approved for the Basalt bypass will cover the cost of bridges at either end, a CDOH spokesperson said.

Work on the controversial bypass, both praised and damned by residents of Basalt, may begin later this year.