25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly
Courtesy Aspen Historical Society The Aspen City Band planned a lawn party fundraiser in 1911. The town's newspaper encouraged locals to attend.

Unusual entertainment hit the Wheeler Opera House stage in Aspen a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

Did you see the Schaller Brothers at the Wheeler opera house last night? If not, you certainly missed one of the greatest exhibitions of strength and muscular development ever seen in this part of the state or anywhere for that matter.

It was certainly great.

The first part of their work, the Schallers gave a wonderful exhibition of muscular development and only goes to show what a man may make of himself when desired. They are splendid types of perfect manhood.

The manner in which the Schallers handled heavy weights and each other was a marvelous exhibition of strength and proved their muscles were muscles, all right.

Tonight, the Schaller brothers will repeat their exhibition of last night with many additions. They will conclude their performance with an exhibition wrestling match and this latter will certainly be a great exhibition as both are very evenly matched.

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Speaking of entertainment, there was this bit on an upcoming event:

On Saturday evening, the Aspen City Band will give a party on the lawn at the Catholic parsonage. The band will render an excellent musical program and there will be on sale ice cream, coffee, sandwiches, lemonade and everything to tickle the palate.

The party will be given to raise funds to improve the band, purchasing new instruments, etc. All our people should attend and accord the management a most liberal patronage and by doing so add to their own pleasure. The boys have worked hard to build up a band that would be a credit to Aspen and they have succeeded beyond the expectations of outsiders, and they are deserving of and should receive encouragement.

Aspen’s experiment with a downtown mall was under way 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Culminating four days of extensive work and several weeks of planning, Aspen’s temporary city center-mall opened today on East Cooper Avenue between Mill and Galena.

Visitors to the street will find two sidewalk cafes by the Red Onion and Guido’s, many trees standing in gravel park area, rustic benches, a band stand, art and sculpture exhibits and other attractions.

During the project, the street will be closed to vehicular traffic. Concerts, dramatic skits, dance exhibits and fashion shows have been scheduled to attract pedestrians.

The project was first proposed by architect Richard Lai at the Institute-sponsored Seminar on the Future of Aspen, held last spring.

Two proposals for a four-lane entrance to Aspen failed at the polls 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

“There will never be a four-lane highway in this valley.”

The prediction came from Planning Office Director Alan Richman as he watched the results tallied at the clerk’s office on election night, Tuesday, Aug. 12, following the primary.

Richman’s reaction came from witnessing the defeat of both entrance proposals for State Highway 82, known notoriously as “Killer 82” by those who drive it frequently. The fact that voters turned down plans to run a proposed four-lane version of the killer into Aspen came as a relief to some and as a rueful disappointment to others.

According to Aspen Mayor Bill Stirling, the vote indicates a lack of willingness for Aspen residents to bring a four-lane highway down Main Street.

• • • •

Construction of a gondola on Aspen Mountain was progressing in 1986. The Aspen Times reported:

Construction of the Aspen Skiing Company’s base to summit, multi-million dollar “Silver Queen” gondola is progressing right on schedule, and barring any complications, the lift should be ready for operation by Dec. 20.

The gondola installation and other improvements are part of the SkiCo’s master plan to spruce up its four mountains. This year alone, the SkiCo is spending $16.5 million on Aspen Mountain and its three other areas, Snowmass, Buttermilk and Breckenridge, in order to remain competitive in the market for skier dollars.

• • • •

Speaking of gondolas, a connection between Aspen and Snowmass crops up from time to time. Such was the case 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

A gondola between Aspen and Snowmass is a definite possibility in the future, but an aerobus is not, according to findings of a Transportation Development Plan to be released by the Roaring Fork Transit Agency.

RFTA, city and county planners and a volunteer Transportation Advisory Committee of about 26 local citizens have been working with professional consultants on the TDP, which is expected to be released in full sometime next month.

The TDP analyzes the technologies and costs for buses, light rail, heavy rail, a railbus, supported and suspending small vehicle systems and the aerobus.

Figures used in analysis were for 2,500 people her hour moving in each direction (between Aspen and Snowmass). The present bus system is able to move between one-fourth and one-third that capacity.

The gondola appears favorable because it requires the least amount of operating costs and labor. The aerobus is labor intensive and costs the most.

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