25-50-100 years ago

Compiled by Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Weekly

Halloween was observed in a more “riotous” manner than usual a century ago, according to The Aspen Democrat-Times. The newspaper reported:

Halloween has come and gone and the town is more than half destroyed, for which good fortune our people are indebted to the courteous consideration of the gentlemen who had so kindly kept their face fierce impulses to destroy in check since last Halloween.

To them, Halloween is a period of liberty – nay, license – during which life may be endangered and property destroyed that their native instincts may have full and free expression.

The observance of Halloween began night before last when the Washington school building may have burned from a box to which a lighted fuse was attached, being thrown in a doorway by a party of young gentlemen. The act was observed and a possible fire averted.

Last night, wires were strung across sidewalks and two ladies are already reported to have been thrown violently to the ground by this means of devilment.

Such innocent amusement as removing gates, signs, taking wagons to pieces soon palled upon the rioters.

Outbuildings were thrown down and demolished, whole sections of fence were torn out and carefully placed upon the sidewalks so that pedestrians would have a fair chance to break their necks; planks torn from the sidewalks and made into barricades in dark places.

The Midland “Y” across Castle Creek was put out of commission and it was a fortunate circumstance that the train due here at 10:10 from Basalt was not ditched and may persons killed.

Aspen’s Hotel Jerome is bringing back a familiar face in Tony DeLucia, who will re-assume the general manager’s post there. Fifty years ago, the Jerome’s new manager was also no stranger. The Aspen Times reported:

The Hotel Jerome’s new manager, expected to arrive here next week, is no stranger to Aspen or to the historic Main Street hospice.

He is Don Elisha, Aspen native, whose father, Mansor, owned and managed the Hotel Jerome during the past half-century.

A graduate of Aspen High School and of Denver University’s Hotel and Restaurant School, Elisha is living in Indianapolis where he directed the management of two hotels.

Before moving to the Indiana city last Christmas, the new Jerome manager was manager of the Lafayette Hotel in Rockford, Ill.

Mansor Elisha acquired the historic Hotel Jerome in 1911. He managed it until his death in 1935, when his son, Laurence, took over the reins.

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The railroad held the honor of paying Pitkin County’s largest tax bill 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad paid taxes of $35,868 this year in Pitkin County, an advertisement by the company in the October issue of Colorado Municipalities showed.

Of the total, $641 went for state purposes; $11,497 for county purposes; $2,099 for road purposes; and $21,631 for school purposes. Taxes “for city and town purposes” was listed as zero.

Railroad property has the highest assessed valuation in the county, records in the Pitkin Assessor’s office show.

Valuation in 1960 was about $698,000; in 1961 it was $666,210. It is figured on the basis of miles of main track.

Local restaurateurs were pro-train 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

This week, the Roaring Fork Valley Chapter of the Colorado-Wyoming Restaurant Association board voted to concur with the Aspen Resort Association endorsement of a yes, yes vote for the proposed railroad into Aspen.

According to John Walla, chapter chairman, it agreed with the ARA board statement “that a thorough study of the proposed railroad subsequent to a positive vote will ultimately result in providing Aspen residents and businesses with the best possible transportation solution.

“A no vote at this time will not allow the community an opportunity to adequately evaluate the potential benefits that could be derived,” the ARA resolution added.

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The installation of a gondola on Aspen Mountain was moving along 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Construction of Aspen’s first gondola is on schedule and the aerial lift should be completed by its Dec. 20 deadline, said the Aspen Skiing Co. this week.

Gondola Project Manager Don Smith stated that despite some inclement fall weather, “we’re right on target.” Maintenance Supervisor Joe Morovitz said, in fact, that working with the frozen ground is easier than working with the mud.”

Yesterday, Morovits showed members of the local media how the gondola is progressing. Cement for the towers has been poured and set and the construction of the towers should be completed within the next week.