25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton

Aspen Historical Society photoThe newspaper heralded in 1905 that the once prosperous mining community of Ashcroft would prosper again.

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.After a regional drawing for homesteads on Uintah land in northeastern Utah, 54 Aspenites were winners. However, a report from Special Agent Chas. W. Ellis, hired by the contestants to watch over their interests, did not make the prize very appealing.Summing the whole thing up, I cannot conscientiously advise anyone to go to Vernal to file on land …he must have from $1000 to $2,200 to make any kind of home. … It will cost $50 to locate and survey your quarter section. The corner stones are nearly all gone and it takes a surveyor familiar with the country to locate any quarter section. The whole thing in my opinion is a hard proposition.Timber is scarce until you get in the mountains. Lumber is expensive. Fuel is expensive and taking everything into consideration, I must repeat my advice to keep away from Uintah unless you have plenty of money to waste and desire to see the country. You can get better homes at less expense in the valley contiguous to Aspen.All the Uintah is good for is to raise sheep, cattle and Indians.The paper enthusiastically reported a “Fabulously Rich Strike” at Taylor Park above Ashcroft and demanded that the long-promised railroad be built.

GOLD – 6.46 ouncesSILVER – 357 ouncesLEAD – 8.4 per centCOPPER – 1 per centVEIN – 24 inches wideHow do you like it?Wouldn’t you like to be in on it ?Well, I guess.The above returns represent the value of the recent strike made in the Enterprise mine at Taylor park and which is owned and worked by the Taylor Park Mining company.This strike was made in the lower tunnel. The bore is now in 5,300 feet at which point the ore was found. The point where the rich vein was tapped is 800 feet below the surface which means 800 feet of stoping ground. This means untold wealth for the company and that a large force of men will be added to those now at work. This means that Taylor park will soon become a city and -THIS MEANS THE PARK SHOULD HAVE A RAILROAD! SHOULD HAVE IT AT ONCE.

The dateline, DEMOCRAT BUREAU, Ashcroft, Colo., was at the head of daily reports in summer 1905.The good things predicted for Ashcroft [see photo] have really commenced. Road Overseer Callahan is prosecuting his contract on the road to the Montezuma mine. It is thought some three weeks will finish it, but Mr. Callahan hopes to have it completed before that time. The road is about six miles long.There are many capitalists entering the camp and quietly examining properties. They deny their identity whenever possible and depart quietly in a few days. Sometimes a telegram and mail give them away.M. Burnside, the mail carrier and stage man, is meeting with all his patronage. Everyone has a good word for him and his careful driving. He makes the trip Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and special trips for tourists.Regarding railroads, another train fatality, a freak one, was reported, Yesterday morning about 6 o’clock, Frank Fox discovered the body of a dead man lying on the Midland track near the Aspen sampler. …Upon inquiry it was learned that the name of the dead man was John Kausek, that he had been intoxicated, that he had probably gone to sleep on the Midland track and that the Midland engine had run over him about 12 o’clock on its way from the depot to the round house. …Deceased was about 44 years of age, a native of Siboh, Austria. He formerly worked for Lessee Con Sullivan on the A.J. mine. Two brothers survive him in the old country; no relatives here.

Aspen was getting national airtime. The paper reported,Aspen, Colo., will be in the national limelight Sunday, Sept. 4, when the more than 300 affiliates of the American Broadcasting Company will broadcast the American Town Meeting of the Air from Aspen. The program will be sponsored by The Great Books Foundation and will be a part of the Foundation’s annual week-long Institute at Aspen. … The public is invited to attend the broadcast [at the Wheeler Opera House] and take part in the question and answer period. …Then subject for the broadcast will be “Great Issues in Education.” Panelists will be Mortimer Adler [see photo], Meyer Kestnbaum, David Dolnick and Homer C. Wadsworth. Moderator will be Gordon G. Dupee, President of the Great Book Foundation. This will be the first nation-wide broadcast from Aspen.Our own Homeland Security group was formed in 1955 to watch the skies above Aspen.Sgt. H.H. Hudson, stationed with the Air Defense Filter Center, Colorado Springs, met with a group of interested citizens last Friday evening at the Court House and organized Pitkin County as a part of the network of 25,000 observation posts located every 8 miles in the United states. There are 73 air defense filter centers located in the continental United States of which Colorado Springs center is headquarters for this area.Warren (Buck) Parsons, pharmacist with the Aspen Drug Co., has been named Director of the Pitkin County GOC, and he will arrange for an observation post and observers to meet the needs of this area. One of the finest observations in the Rocky Mountain area will be the Sundeck [see photo].

The paper’s report of the Pitkin County Fair (see photo) was a mixed bag. This year’s Pitkin County Fair had the good and the bad.The good things were that 12,000 people attended the three-day fair.And though storm clouds hung low, the fair wasn’t rained out.The bad thing was that the gate receipts, $6,000 in all, were lost.The story is that after the money was counted, someone put it on the top of a pickup while unlocking the door, then spaced out and drove away. …The 4-H young people, who had been raising hogs, steers and sheep all year, made a total of $40,000 in the Livestock Sale, always one of the favorite events of the fair. …

Nine steers were sold for a total of $14,078, and the average price per pound was $1.45.Todd Gressett’s steer was named Grand Champion and was bought by Clark’s Market for $2.50 a pound, bringing Gressett $2,739.50.A world-famous journalist and author was visiting his in-laws in Aspen as long as 20 years ago. Mary Eshbaugh Hayes noted in “Around Aspen,”Ann Bucksbaun Friedman and her husband, Tom Friedman, of Beirut, Lebanon, sre visiting Ann’s parents, Kay and Matt Bucksbaum, in their Victorian home on South Aspen Street. In Beirut, Tom is foreign correspondent for United Press International while Ann translates French for a firm that does research for Arab countries.Another favorite son made the news, again for his generosity to the community.John Denver bridged classical and contemporary pop music last Tuesday in a benefit concert that netted more than $50,000 for the Aspen Music Festival and School.Backed by the Aspen Festival Orchestra and members of his regular band, he performed orchestral arrangements of “Annie’s Song,” “The Eagle and the Hawk,” and a dozen other songs.Benefit chairman Carol Ann Kopf commented that “if music is the universal language, then John Denver is one of the most articulate people we know. His very special music has become part of our lives and makes our very complex world a happier one.” …Although the concert was billed as a benefit for the music festival, it was also filmed by Marty Stouffer Productions for an ABC television special to be aired this coming spring.

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Entitled “Aspen: The Classics,” the film will include footage of the concert, whose setting was made more natural by the addition of live aspen and spruce trees on the stage of the music tent.Also filmed was an early Wednesday mock performance of the Festival Orchestra on Independence Pass, complete with prop instruments (real ones might be damaged by the altitude).An antique Aspen jewel was about to be reset, after much ensuing discussion. The paper reported,Architectural plans that are sure to be controversial for the restoration of the Wheeler Opera House are being presented to the city council … The architectural plans are a mixture of the original design with contemporary. They call for an exterior museum-quality restoration of the Wheeler with a contemporary addition.On the inside of the building, the museum-quality restoration work will be limited to the original entry and its grand stairway, and the third floor and sweep of the balcony.In areas where evidence of the original architectural detail is missing, the plans call for contemporary solutions. …William Kessler of William Kessler and Associates of Detroit, the firm doing the plans, … said that restoration philosophy is not to imitate a style such as Victorian, but to restore where the fabric of the past is evident, and where the fabric is not evident, to blend with contemporary.He said this keeps a restoration from becoming a Disneyland type of building.