25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Col. John Bowman, left, owner of the Bowman Saloon and Musée on East Cooper Avenue, was a frequent and zealous subject for John Jr. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

January 1906Microfilms of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1905 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.There was a new face behind the bar at Bowman’s Musée (see photo above), as the paper announced,Yesterday afternoon the old Bowman sample rooms changed hands and Gus Anderson, better known as the Mexican Swede, is now in charge, and tonight Gus will give a grand opening. Everything to eat and drink will be on hand in large quantities, and all that attend will be treated to a royal feast as well as a royal time. Music will also lend its charm to the affair.Everybody is invited to have a good time with the Mexican Swede at the Bowman Saloon tonight. “Spangler’s Predictions” for the new year were published. Several were uncannily perceptive:The dissolution of Russia.The assassination of the czar of Russia.The overthrow of Turkey.The prevention of three wars by President Roosevelt.A protracted race war in the South.Volcanic eruptions in all parts of the world.Destructive earthquakes in California and the Philippines. [The Great San Francisco Earthquake occurred April 16, 1906.]Wandering Aspen citizens realize there’s no place like home. The paper noted,C.E. Doolittle, now superintending the erection of electric light and power plants in Chile, writes that the country has many fleas, poor food and that he wants to return to Aspen as soon as possible.January 1956The Jan. 5, 1956, edition of The Aspen Times reported,With this issue, The Aspen Times starts on the 75th year of publication with the paper marked as Volume 75, No. 1. … The Aspen Times has weathered the vicissitudes of a mining camp fortune, but the road was rough and rocky during the decline of Aspen from one of the foremost cities in the 1880s and ’90s to near ghost town status in the 1930s and early ’40s. We presume that many of its early day editors despaired of ever celebrating the 75th year considering the rapid and sure decline of mining and the high death of the early day newspapers. …A short history of the changes taking place in the Times would be as follows: First issue as weekly, April 23. 1881; First issue as daily, Feb. 19, 1885 [see photo]; Democrat issued as daily, Aug. 6, 1900; Democrat and Times merged as Daily Democrat-Times, June 6, 1909; cut down to weekly with the issue of Jan. 14, 1926, and renamed The Aspen Times. Has continued as a weekly to the present time.

Aspen innkeepers have a long tradition of generously opening their doors to guests of the city. The paper acknowledged, Aspen hospitality, extended to members of the Ski Association Alpine Training Squad during their twenty-one days as guests in our community, was wholeheartedly bountiful. Ralph Melville, owner and operator of the Mountain Chalet [see photo], not only gave rooms (except for a very small remuneration during Xmas week) but cooked up a fine Christmas dinner for his guests and again provided a festive board on New Year’s. Bill and Betty Mason opened their doors at Norway Lodge each morning at seven to serve the young people a hearty breakfast. Howard and Jean Awrey at their Chairlift Chalet took over at noon and provided fine lunches. The restaurants in town one free evening meal each to the group, and individual families filled in for the other dinners. Wandering Aspen citizens realize there’s no place like home. The paper noted,C.E. Doolittle, now superintending the erection of electric light and power plants in Chile, writes that the country has many fleas, poor food and that he wants to return to Aspen as soon as possible.January 1956

The Jan. 5, 1956, edition of The Aspen Times reported,With this issue, The Aspen Times starts on the 75th year of publication with the paper marked as Volume 75, No. 1. … The Aspen Times has weathered the vicissitudes of a mining camp fortune, but the road was rough and rocky during the decline of Aspen from one of the foremost cities in the 1880s and ’90s to near ghost town status in the 1930s and early ’40s. We presume that many of its early day editors despaired of ever celebrating the 75th year considering the rapid and sure decline of mining and the high death of the early day newspapers. …A short history of the changes taking place in the Times would be as follows: First issue as weekly, April 23. 1881; First issue as daily, Feb. 19, 1885 [see photo]; Democrat issued as daily, Aug. 6, 1900; Democrat and Times merged as Daily Democrat-Times, June 6, 1909; cut down to weekly with the issue of Jan. 14, 1926, and renamed The Aspen Times. Has continued as a weekly to the present time.Aspen innkeepers have a long tradition of generously opening their doors to guests of the city. The paper acknowledged, Aspen hospitality, extended to members of the Ski Association Alpine Training Squad during their twenty-one days as guests in our community, was wholeheartedly bountiful. Ralph Melville, owner and operator of the Mountain Chalet [see photo], not only gave rooms (except for a very small remuneration during Xmas week) but cooked up a fine Christmas dinner for his guests and again provided a festive board on New Year’s. Bill and Betty Mason opened their doors at Norway Lodge each morning at seven to serve the young people a hearty breakfast. Howard and Jean Awrey at their Chairlift Chalet took over at noon and provided fine lunches. The restaurants in town one free evening meal each to the group, and individual families filled in for the other dinners.

January 1981The new year is a time for reflection, taking stock and publishing statistics.1980 was the driest year experienced by Aspen since before the advent of regular records in the mid 1950s. a report from Water Department Director Jim Markalunas states.The preliminary report listed total precipitation for the year at 17.2 inches, 5.4 inches below the 10-year average of 22.6 inches.Total snowfall noted in the report for the year was 144.05 inches, 22 inches below the 10-year average of 166 inches. …According to Markalunas, “1980 turned out to be a year of extremes.” Not only was June the driest month on record, but January was the wettest with 3.5 inches of precipitation. “From May 17 to July 1 not a drop of rain fell – a period of 46 days without a drip,” Markalunas continues, pointing out that the weather resulted in one of the area’s largest forest fires above Weller Lake.

The Jan. 1 editorial was part and parcel to the Water Department report.Like a leaking roof, snowmaking appears to be something to be thought about only in an emergency situation. It received a lot of thought locally after the 1976-77 drought year. The ski corp did manage to achieve a snowmaking system for Buttermilk, but was not successful on Aspen Mountain, Snowmass or Breckenridge.Aspenites can be thankful that artificial snow is available on the lower slopes of Buttermilk, but this does not help Breckenridge residents, whose area was closed for lack of snow this week, nor for those who want to ski Aspen Mountain, or depend on it for their livelihood, when conditions are as marginal as they are now. The dry year has again induced ski corp officials to think about snowmaking for Aspen Mountain. They have secured another water purchase agreement from the city and have even brought the matter before their board of directors again. For this we are again grateful. We have recognized the necessity of snowmaking on the slopes of Aspen Mountain since the 1976-77 drought. And we thought ski officials had as well. …We hope the current spate of activity is more than cosmetic, that the corporation does not put it on the back burner again until another dry year renews current concerns.- compiled by Sara Garton