25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

“A nice warm day” read the headline in the Aug. 17, 1911 Aspen Times-Democrat. The newspaper reported:

Aspen today simmers on the hottest day of the summer. At 2 o’clock this afternoon the mercury had reached the 84 degree mark and Mr. Fahrenheit evidently was satisfied with that as the local record for the day.

The heat was at times oppressive, was not too much for comfort and its dollars to doughnuts that were it only 84 in some eastern cities that the citizens would don their winter underwear. It’s fine for haymakers, but who in the h— wants to be a haymaker?

• • • •

The Hotel Jerome was unveiling its newly renovated interior a century ago. The Aspen-Democrat Times reported:

The Hotel Jerome will be opened to the general public tomorrow evening. For some time past, the house had been undergoing a complete renovation from basement to roof, and the improvements made that will place the hotel in the first-class list.

Each and every room has been thoroughly fumigated and refurnished and much attention has been given to secure perfect satisfaction.

The kitchen has been remodeled and equipped with all the modern appliances used in the art of cookery, and will be presided over by a well known chef from Denver who will have an able corps of assistants.

The dining room has been redecorated and presents a very pleasing appearance. It has been provided with all the up-to-date appliances for expeditious and satisfactory service and will be in charge of thoroughly competent persons.

Violence in Aspen put a suspect o the FBI’s most-wanted list 50 years ago. The Aspen Times, reporting on the incident, inserted a bulletin into its story with the latest in the case. The newspaper reported:

Charged with attempted murder after slashing his wife at Trader Ed’s on April 12, fugitive Chester A. McGonigal was placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “10 Most Wanted Men” list Monday, Aug. 14.

BULLETIN: McGonigal was captured by the FBI yesterday on his way to Denver from Wyoming where he had been working. Sheriff Lorain Herwick will return him to Aspen early next week.

Mrs. McGonigal survived the knifing, after more than 80 stitches closed her extensive wounds.

The FBI said that McGonigal, 45, an ex-convict with a record of violence, “should be considered armed and extremely dangerous.”

• • • •

The local flying club outfitted itself with an airplane 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Formed recently to help promote flying in the area, Roaring Fork Aviation, Inc., a flying club, purchased a used Cessna 172 airplane last week for use by its members.

The plane was purchased by the group from Monarch Aviation in Grand Junction through Aero Tec of Aspen, which has announced that it will have an instructor available to give flying lessons.

At present the club has five members. They are Mead Metcalf, Waddy Catchings, Dieter Bibbig, Bill Goodnough and Mrs. Robert Sommers.

If possible, five other members will be recruited to help defray the cost of the plane and its maintenance. Members purchase $250 in stock and pay a monthly charge in addition to their hourly operating expense while flying the club plane.

Aspen Mountain had a new man in charge 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

The Aspen Skiing Company has chosen former ASC Director of Guest Services Curt Stewart as the new manager of Aspen Mountain.

Effective, Oct. 1, Stewart, 37, will assume the duties of Charlie Maddalone, a 25-year veteran who resigned last spring. Buttermilk Mountain Manager Don Rayburn has been acting manager in charge of area improvements during the interim.

Stewart’s people handling skills and management experience give him the nod over the many other qualified candidates who were in the running for the position, said SkiCo executives.

“Curt has the ability to meld together those skills and talents so that the whole is more than a sum of the parts,” said SkiCo General manager Brian Rapp.

• • • •

A no vote in Aspen 25 years ago wasn’t going to stop the four-laning of Highway 82 outside the city. The Aspen Times reported:

The city of Aspen vote last week that said “no-no” to proposed highway entrances is not going to squelch plans for a four-lane highway in the Roaring Fork Valley.

State highway engineers met with the Pitkin County Commissioners Monday and explained that the entrance issue is only a minor facet of a much bigger plan, a plan that could cost as much as $100 million to complete a four-lane highway from Carbondale to Aspen.

The “no-no” vote told highway engineers that Aspen lacks consensus on how the highway enters the city. And even though the entrance issue may be excluded from the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), there is little doubt in the minds of the engineers that four lanes will some day move traffic to and from Aspen.

• • • •

Aspen eventually gave its trolley cars away, but 25 years ago, there was talk of putting them to use. It wouldn’t be the last time the idea was squelched. The Aspen Times reported:

A plan to put Aspen back on trolley tracks stands a good chance of being derailed by limited funding and skeptical signals from city staff.

Aspen owns six trolleys, currently sitting under a tarpaulin at a local ranch, and has for years been flirting with the idea of reinstituting trolley service in town.

A current proposal is to run a trolley line in a loop from the planned Rio Grande parking garage facility up Galena Street to the mall area, then loop back around on Mill and return to the Rio Grande garage.

Some proponents maintain the trolley could be installed and running for $1 million, but skeptics believe it could cost $2.8 million or more and might jeopardize other needed city projects.

Local officials recently traveled to Detroit, Mich. to study a trolley system installed in that city.

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