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.The paper crowed about the luck of the draw for home lots on the Unitah reservation.Aspen’s luck will compare with any town in the United States when it comes to children and drawing land. Stop and think what it means to have twelve Aspenites draw out of the first 2,000.First, there were nearly 38,000 envelopes in the big box. Aspen had about 200 mixed up with 38,000 and she got twelve out of the day’s drawing. Talk about luck.The Democrat’s only regret is that Aspen will lose twelve good citizens, as, of course, the Lucky Twelve will move to Utah and raise strawberries, and pears, and peaches.
Perhaps one of the 12 local winners couldn’t contain himself, as the paper reported,The residents on the mesa received two terrible shocks about 9 and 11 o’clock Tuesday evening. The first heard was an explosion which shook the houses, showing that giant powder was being set off on the surface. Upon investigation it was found a party desirous of celebrating good luck was setting off the powder for amusement, and it was fortunate no one was going that way just then or they would have been injured, as giant powder is not to be fooled with. There was more good news reported from Ashcroft (see photo). Mining men from distant camps viewing the Ashcroft district are not only pleased with the natural advantages pertaining to it, but they are surprised at the mineral showing. This camp, as an eminent geologist says, who came here the past week, abounds in fissures and blanket formation. … “I have picked up in the center of Castle creek not only burnished leaf copper, but scales of gold. I will say,” said the geologist, “that Ashcroft is the gold portion of Pitkin county.” …Your correspondent has persistently reiterated that the Montezuma would start up. Now Mr. Chapin, of Leadville, has commenced and the work is in full blast. Contracts have been let and men are at work. Roads are building.The spunky woman who ran a sawmill (see photo) and has a park named after her was in trouble with the law 100 years ago.Richard Pierce swore out a warrant in Judge Saunders court yesterday against Jennie Adair for the willful and malicious obstruction of a road known as McFarlan road up Hunter creek. She was arrested, plead not guilty and the case set for Wednesday, August 23 at 10 o’clock. This is another round in the prize fight chronicled yesterday.
These busy bees had better prepare for a move because young students would soon take over their hive. The school house located on the Stapleton ranch is now a thing of sweetness as well as beauty, a bunch of honey bees having taken possession. This school house is near the Glendale farm and the Democrat has it that Mr. Copeland is making arrangements to catch the bees and get them accustomed to living at Glendale. Mr. Copeland has sent east for a bunch of lightning bugs and it is his intention to have the bees associate with the bugs that he may make the bees work double shift and thus get double results for single cost.But really now, how fortunate the Stapleton school house is: Sweet teacher in the winter, sweet pupils in the meantime and sweet honey in the summertime.
Late summertime is state fair time. The paper reported about two local winners.Calvin Vagneur and Cherie Gerbaz were selected as State Fair award winners to attend Camp Tobin in Pueblo during the State Fair August 23 to August 28. …The purpose of the Camp Tobin program is to make every delegate more valuable to his county program upon returning home. …Cherie has raised bum lambs the last two years as her livestock projects, and made a cotton dress in the clothing project. She was recreation leader in 1954, president of the Livestock Club and vice president of the 4-H Council in 1955. She was livestock showmanship champion in 1954 and showed the first place lamb. She participated in the talent program at State 4-H Conference in June and has attended club meetings regularly.Calvin has had a beef-breeding project the past three years. He started with a registered heifer and now has a cow and a calf. He has fed a steer for the past two years. His steer won the blue ribbon in 1954. He has attended the club meetings regularly and has participated in livestock judging demonstrations.The chamber of commerce opted for outside professionals to spread the word about Aspen,The advertising and promotion committee of the Aspen Chamber of Commerce has made the decision to employ the firm of White & White of Denver for the purpose of publicity and press notice services.Bill and Connie White have during the past months been under contract with the Music Associates of Aspen and have produced results in press releases that have been successful indeed. …The Chamber of Commerce in reviewing the paid space advertising … determined that the “Community Ads,” which last season appeared in Ski magazine and National Ski Newspaper [and] keyed to Chamber of Commerce offices rather than to the individual business firms, were most effective in drawing power in comparison to individual ads placed in these mediums. The newly formed Music Associates of Aspen held a meeting and took some steps to secure its future – and a spot to erect its tent (see photo).
The first regular meeting of the Music Associates of Aspen, Incorporated, was held in the Opera House at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 8. …Mr. Courtland D. Barnes, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Music Associates and its principal executive officer, presided. The present Board of Trustees was unanimously re-elected to serve for the forthcoming year. One member each from the various departments of the Music School and two members at large were elected to serve on the Administrative Board which administers the annual Music School and Festival. …[T]he meeting was address by Mr. N.P. Feinsinger who reported on the progress of negotiations with Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies and the Aspen Company for a possible long-term arrangement replacing the present one-year arrangement. …In the course of the meeting Mr. Mack Harrell, Chairman of the Administrative Board, was presented with a coffee set, inscribed with the names of all the members of the Board as well as the members of the Board of Trustees, in grateful recognition of he important and selfless part he had played in making the current season successful.
The Pitkin County Fair was something for everybody. The paper announced,A bake-off contest, a 4-H market livestock sale, a two-day rodeo, all kinds of cooking and sewing and garden exhibits, pickin’ and fiddlin’ contests, games on horseback, a catch-it lamb contest, and even a cow pie throwing contest, are just some of the events planned for the Fifth Annual Pitkin County Fair Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15, 16 and 17, at the Snowmass Rodeo grounds in Snowmass Village. …4-H members are grooming their sheep [see photo] and fattening their steers; they are baking pies and cakes and making pickles, and some are picking out their best potatoes and heads of lettuce. … Judges will be Herman Edel, mayor of Aspen; Bob Kevan, mayor of Snowmass Village; and Dick Ducic, mayor of Basalt. …[Sunday] noon in the livestock tent will be the Pitkin County Fair Livestock Sale, which is the climax for the 4-H members who have been raising animals for several months.Individuals, service clubs, businesses, and restaurants have the opportunity to purchase a hog, lamb or steer.Newspapers are crucial guardians of a free society. Aspen Times editor in chief Bil Dunaway was recognized as a constant custodian in reporting City Council and Pitkin County meetings. His editorial warned,Public officials know that it is against the law to make decisions at secret meetings. They know that state laws and city and county charters require them to meet in public, so not only can the public know what decisions are made, but why, and what thought processes lead to them.This is such a fundamental principle of democracy that it should never need repeating. Yet, the longer they serve, the more inclined elected officials are to ignore it. Our county commissioners and some city council members have done so flagrantly in recent days. …Negotiating the purchase price for the Silverking [now Hunter Creek] complex in executive session may be legitimate. But the policy decision to purchase the apartments in the first place should have been made in public. Residents have a right to know about such an important decision when it is made, and they have a right to know the reason why.Equally as important, a recent meeting attended by Aspen’s mayor and one council member, two county commissioners and two members of the Snowmass Village Town Council to discuss a joint planning effort for the proposed Burnt Mountain Ski Area should have been public. …Government should not function in secret. Secrecy often results in costly mistakes, even corruption. Nor should elected officials try to govern without input from their peers. All are elected to serve and all must have an equal right to participate.Officials participating in these or any secret meetings deserve censure.
A “Part-time Aspenite” authored a book about a canyon now underwater. Aspen writer Bruce Berger [see page 35 of this edition] and wilderness photographer Philip Hyde have collaborated on a portfolio documenting the last days of Glen Canyon before it was dammed in 1963 to become part of Lake Powell.Berger’s text, There was a River, derives from a journal he kept on an October 1963 float trip down the Glen Canyon. …He and traveling companions singer Katie Lee, taxi magnate Natalie Gignoux and “River Rat Leo” were one of the last parties to navigate down the canyon.”It was a beautiful trip,” recalled Berger, “but heartbreaking, too. The canyon was the heart of all that country.” The stretch of the Colorado River in southeastern Utah was dammed by the government Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Storage Act to provide water to Arizona, California and Mexico.Berger believes to this day, however, that the entire project could have been solved on paper without sounding the death knell for a canyon. …Berger has been a part-time resident of Aspen since 1953 when he came to ski during college vacations.He is a free-lance writer for magazines, including aspen the magazine, The New York Times, Sierra, Outside, Westways.
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