25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

A century ago, The Aspen Democrat-Times was once again lobbying for the return of a telegraph office:

Here is an opportunity for the Aspen Boosters association to get busy.

For several years, Aspen has had no Western Union office, and therefore had to depend upon the courtesy of the railroad telegraph operator for wire service. While the railroads have been exceedingly kind, there is no satisfaction in such an arrangement.

Now here is where the Boosters can do things:

Mansor Elisha, the jolly proprietor of the Jerome Hotel, offers the large room on the west side free of charge to the Western Union company if it will install a downtown office in Aspen.

Now what more could one ask for a “pull” than free rental. So, get busy Ye Boosters, and boost a bit.

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Talk of a highway over Independence Pass, southeast of Aspen, was frequently in the news a century ago. What would become a highway over McClure Pass, south of Redstone, was also envisioned. The Aspen Democrat-Times offered this update:

Attorney Harold W. Clark, who has just returned from a trip to Hotchkiss and the Muddy country, states that the people in that section are almost unanimous in favor of the state highway route from Twin Lakes to Aspen.

Some of the people over there still hope that the route over the Black Mesa will be decided upon, but they are gradually beginning to understand that this hope will not be realized, and it will only be a short time until they are all pulling for the Granite to Aspen route. In fact, petitions favoring the selection of this route are already in circulation in that section and when filled with signatures will be sent in to the state highway commission.

As there is now a boulevard from Carbondale to Redstone, the people of the western fruit belt will endeavor to have the road leave the Roaring Fork Valley at the first named place, thence up the Crystal River Valley to and above Redstone, going over a low divide into the Muddy and follow the water level down to Grand Junction.

Early snow hit Aspen 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

The snowstorm over the Labor Day weekend, in addition to breaking records, produced changes in summertime routines as well as some oddities.

It was the earliest storm in recent years and the heaviest that even old-time residents can remember.

By Saturday evening, seven inches of snow had fallen in town and there was as much as a foot on cars Sunday morning, with more coming later in the day and on Monday.

An intrepid jeepster estimated 18 inches on the Pearl Pass road. Others said there were two feet in other parts of the high country.

Over twenty cars were stalled on the Twin Lakes side of Independence Pass Saturday, but occupants were soon rescued. The “closed” sign for the pass was not taken down until Wednesday evening.

• • • •

The snow another impact, as reported in the Times:

Two men were hospitalized in Aspen this week from snow blindness as a result of surprise snow storms over the Labor Day weekend.

The two, Joseph Vigil and Joseph Chacon, both sheep herders for Dave and Perry Christensen, Snowmass, suffered eye damage while attempting to bring out the Christensen flocks in the bright sunshine early this week.

The flocks were stranded in over a foot of new snow Monday on Gold Hill above Taylor Pass. Wednesday, the two mounted men found their way down to Ashcroft and were driven to Aspen.

They were admitted to the hospital Wednesday afternoon and are expected to be released today, Sept. 8.

At Toklat lodge, the two credited their horses with finding their way down the snow-covered trail to civilization with almost no help from their blinded riders.

Twenty-five years ago, new plans for a train in the vacated Rio Grande corridor faced opposition. The Aspen Times reported:

Just as the first rail line into Aspen 100 years ago literally split the community in a physical sense, plans for the return of a railroad have split the community in a political sense.

A proposal by the Roaring Fork Railroad Company to build seven miles of track from Woody Creek to Aspen and to run passenger trains on that line has become a divisive element in Aspen.

The focus of the controversy appears to be the strip of asphalt used frequently by joggers, walkers and cyclists that follows the old Rio Grande alignment along the wooded and scenic Roaring Fork River and beneath the flank of Red Mountain, where sit some of the most exclusive homes in the valley.

• • • •

Aspen’s airport had a new manager 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

It has taken almost half a year to fill the position of airport manager, but it seems like Edwin Thurmond is the right man for the job.

Thurmond, 57, comes to Aspen from the Los Angeles County airport system, where he has just resigned as the assistant chief of aviation. Thurmond will start working on Aspen’s problems beginning Nov. 1.

Former airport manager Dick Arnold left the position in April. Since that time, three county officials, Jim Adamski, John Eldert and Ann Bowman, have divided the manager’s duties.

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