25-50-100 years ago
Copies of The Aspen Times from 1904 until 1909 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. To continue our journalistic history of Aspen, we include excerpts from The Aspen Democrat, the Times’ competitor 100 years ago. Are you cell-phone and computer-phobic? This Cooper Book & Stationery Co. advertisement was targeted at readers who resisted such new-fangled machines. Are you one of those prejudiced against “talking machines”? Did you decide years ago that you never wanted one, and have not heard since an up-to-date Edison Phonograph?Then be fair … call at our store and let us play for you on an improved Edison Phonograph … You will find that the Edison Phonograph is a delightful musical instrument and the great entertainer of the day. The possession of one will add to the pleasure and education of your whole family.Rain couldn’t spoil a summer “lawn fete” in Aspen. The paper reported,
Although it rained and looked cloudy, giving promise of more rain, and the night air was very brisk, the beautiful lawn at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Stallard on West Bleeker street [see photo] was the scene of mirth and pleasure and all dark clouds were driven away by the gay young people and the happy older folks assembled there to spend an evening of pleasure in the open air last night.The lawn was lighted very prettily with Japanese lanterns and electric lights and for several blocks away, presenting a brilliant appearance. Comfortable seats were cozily arranged underneath the trees, while in the center of the grounds a large dancing platform had been arranged and this was the main point of interest to the young people during the evening.The orchestra, composed of Prof. Harrington, Mrs. Mosley and Phil Kerwin, occupied the veranda near the platform and rendered splendid music to the satisfaction of all. A dozen small tables were arranged throughout the grounds and presided over by young ladies daintily dressed in white and blue and wearing sheer caps. The tables were decorated with cut flowers and continually occupied by guests who enjoyed delightful coffee and sandwiches or ice cream and cake, according to their desire.If a lawn fete was not your cup of tea, another amusement was offered,The illustrated lecture to be given by Rev. W.J. Downing in the county court house … consists of over 100 elegant stereopticon views of magnified and illuminated by best light to ten feet, illustrating the life of Christ. Fine sacred music by graphaphone. Interesting and helpful to both children and grown people.Every day in August the paper hawked the upcoming lottery for homesteading the Uintah reservation (a division of the Ute tribe in northeastern Utah). Why this land deal, seemingly backed by railroad and development interests, was happening on Indian land (see photo) was never clear to this reader. Were the Ute being kicked out again?
ARE YOU GOING?The great Uintah reservation will be open for homestead entry August 28, although registration will commence at Grand Junction, on August 1 and continue until August 12.The procedure necessary to secure lands in this greatest of government reservation is outlined by a pamphlet just issued by the passenger department of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad. CHEAP RATES TO GRAND JUNCTIONNext Saturday you can go to Grand Junction and return via the Colorado Midland for $6. …Jump on the train, dear reader, and take a whirl at Teddy’s land lottery. Even if you don’t draw a number, you will enjoy the trip and it will do you good to shake the silver dust out of your clothes for a day. …And now suppose you are lucky and draw a number giving you permission to file on 160 acres of the Uintah land. How will you go about it to select your land? … The fact is, dear reader, you would be at the mercy of the grafters that will be located at Vernal, Utah, during the filing process. …If we organize in Aspen we can have a trust company of our own … chip in $1, $2 or $2.50 each, and send two men to Vernal in advance to represent and assist all lucky Aspenites to file on the sections that are left.
One of the 20th-century-music greats (see photo) was in residence during the summer. The paper reported,Darius Milhaud, French composer, will conduct the Aspen Festival Orchestra next Sunday, playing two of his own compositions, “Cantate Nuptiale” and “Ouverture Mediterranée.”August is monsoon season in Aspen, as the paper noted,The Aspen area has been receiving its full share of violent storms with more than 1.55 inches of rain being registered in the U.S. Weather Bureau rain gauge in Aspen during the first nine days of August.The most damage in the area was suffered along a three-mile stretch on Woody Creek beginning with the Albert Cerise Ranch and extending eastward past the Clifford Vagneur Ranch.
The bulk of the water fell to the north of the Albert Barbier Ranch. An eight foot wall of water came down about 3 o’clock last Friday afternoon and swept clean the field in its path. The Barbiers lost about 200 chickens just approaching the frying pan stage. …Clifford Vagneur lost about one acre of potatoes. Albert Cerise had hay and grain fields littered with debris and rocks and irrigation ditches filled with silt.Apparently this group was the 1955 version of Homeland Security. There will be a meeting at the Court House a 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, for the purpose of organizing a Ground Observer Corps for Pitkin County. An official from the Colorado Springs office of the Civil Defense program will be present to explain the entire program.Orest A. Gerbaz has been appointed chairman for Pitkin County and will conduct the organization meeting.An increasingly affluent Aspen had a problem with its effluence.The board of the Aspen Sanitation District met last Monday evening with B.V. Howe of the firm Ripple and Howe, Consulting Engineers, to discuss the making of a feasibility report by that company on the construction of a sewage system and primary disposal plant. …Sewage disposal is one of the major problems in Aspen today. The city has been warned repeatedly about the dumping of raw sewage into the Roaring Fork from the two lines now serving the business district section. Some day, in the not too distant future, the State Health Department will get tough enough to plug these two lines and then those businesses and homes will be in real trouble.
The Woody Creek raceway was a busy place 25 years ago between motorcycle rallies, stock car races and go karts (see photo). The paper reported,If, as EF Scumacher insists, small is beautiful, then go kart racing is the most aesthetic mechanized sport using the Woody Creek raceway on a regular basis. …Karts are light (about 120-135 pounds), efficient (a gallon of gas gets one through a day of mile a minute racing), and small enough to put in the back of a van at the end of the day.Appropriately enough, the kart club shares the Woody Creek raceway with the high powered, high overhead stock car racers, utilizing the track during breaks in the action by the big cars.Though only nine have joined the club during its first two months of existence, the evangelistic enthusiasm of founders Rob Frazier and Roger Shook appears to be shared by most of the members.
Throughout the decades Aspen’s cultural calendar is jampacked, and the cultural greats enjoy visiting, teaching and performing in Aspen. The paper noted,The legendary James Brown will perform in concert Aug. 8-9 at the Paradise Theater in Aspen. …Brown, billed as the Original Disco Man, is known for his early interpretation and leadership in funk music. His 1979 album, The Original Disco Man, held the hit It’s Too Funky in Here, dubbed by the Village Voice as the “single of the year.”American composer William Schuman celebrated his 70th birthday last Monday [at the music tent], with a special musical tribute that ended with an enormous cake and an orchestral version of Happy Birthday.Photographer Ernst Haas is teaching workshops at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, beginning Aug. 11, and will give a public slide show about his work Aug. 16 in the Opticon Theatre in Snowmass Village. …
Mass-transit proponents heard some bad news at a meeting for Western Slope politicos.Passenger train service, including ski trains, to the western slope of Colorado is an unlikely proposition representatives to the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments heard recently.The negative information was supplied by Moffatt Tunnel Commissioner James M. Pughe to NWCCOG representatives meeting in Steamboat Springs. … [W]hen he was asked about chances of forcing the railroad to reinstate [local] passenger service, Pughe replied they were slim. “It’s a tougher problem now than in 1967 because there are a hell of a lot more freight trains going through that tunnel, and you jeopardize a prior contract,” he noted. After a train passes through the 6.2-mile tunnel, Pughe said, there is a 20-minute period during which the smoke is cleared by fans. …A representative of Colorado Association of Ski Towns asked about the possibility of a second tunnel bore to alleviate the present bottleneck.The problem with this idea is that there are other tunnels and stretches of single track which also would have to be upgraded, Pughe said. A second bore could cost as much as half a billion dollars, he estimated. …He also mentioned that Union Pacific Railroad has a siding near Stapleton Airport in Denver which would be a convenient terminal for a ski train.
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FREAK POWER AT 50: Stories from the Aspen Times archives on Hunter S. Thompson’s campaign for sheriff
Join us as we are revisit original Aspen Times stories and a selection of the Times’ contemporaneous coverage of the Hunter Thompson campaign for sheriff from 1970 on the occasion of the release of local filmmakers Ajax Phillips and Daniel Joseph Watkins’ new film.