25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton
Aspen had two railroads in the early 1900s: The Colorado Midland Railroad depot (above) was at the bottom of Little Nell on Aspen Mountain, and the narrow-gauge Denver & Rio Grande Railroad ran along today's Rio Grande Trail and terminated in Rio Grande Park. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

Microfilms of The Aspen Times 19041909 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1906 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.The paper never gave up on Aspen as it struggled in the years after the silver-mining boom. SMILE AND PUSH ASPENYes, smile and push our little camp;She’s doing well – then let ‘er -Don’t kick, but try to help her onTo do a little better.Get up and work and tell the truth;Our hills are full of wealth,The finest climate on God’s earth, ‘Tis full of life and health.And peopled by the very kindTo give you joy and mirth;To prove the truth of what I say:They are the best on earth.Though some will say Aspen’s no good,There’s something here we lack,And take the train for Cripple Creek -But soon they’re walking back.So push the town – this is no josh -Get up with might and vim;If you’ll but work and save your dust,You’ll soon be in the swim!Yes, we’ have had some cold nights this winter 2005-6, but read on …Sunday night was probably the coldest night Aspen has had for many years. The mercury went down to the 23 below mark and some say that it reached 30 below. Let that be as it may – it was cold enough to satisfy an old-time Klondiker.Mr. Handshaw, janitor of the opera house upon going to work Sunday morning, found the office of Mr. Stallard flooded with water. A window in the office had been left open, and it being very cold in the room, the pipes burst.In spite of the severe winter, Aspen maintained its lifeline (see photos) to the outside world. The paper reported,This is a fact – both trains were on time yesterday – and it is still winter too.The Midland train was heavily loaded yesterday as it pulled into the city. The large number of freight cars made it necessary to have two engines to bring them to the city.

And Aspenites still entertained themselves in the great – if cold – outdoors, as this article exuded,A jolly crowd of young people certainly enjoyed the time of their lives last evening when they took their departure from the city in Wm. Tagert’s big tally-ho sleigh bound for the valley home of Mr. and Mrs. True Smith near Watson, where a royal good time was in store for them. The party left the city about 7 o’clock and started out with four horses hitched to the big sleigh, which was filled to overflowing, there being eighteen in the party. John Williams handled the ribbons most artistically on this festive occasion.On arriving, the crowd of young people received a most hospitable welcome from their host and hostess. A delicious luncheon had been prepared consisting of sandwiches, pickles, assorted cake and coffee to which all did ample justice after the long ride.Music, numerous other forms of amusement and merriment and fun galore were among the pleasant features of the evening’s entertainment. In fact, all had such a fine time they did not arrive home until an early hour this morning.

The paper gave a roundup of Wintersköl weekend.On Friday night the fireworks and torchlight descent were in the capable hands of Earl Eaton [later a co-founder with Pete Seibert of Vail] and Red Soderstrom [see photo]. This phase of the program was beautifully worked out with a large number of participants. To Earl and Red as well as to the Ski Patrol and the Ski School go Committee thanks, both for the display and for the hard-fought broom hockey game which was not without some bloodshed.The parade on Saturday was led by Jack Ray and Dave Gallagher on horseback carrying the American flag and the Colorado State flag respectively. Next in procession was the school band, which in looks, spirit and music was in every way a credit to the community. The floats and individual members of the parade deserve the highest praise, and the judges had a most difficult decision to make. Awards were made to the Hospital, the Prospector Lodge, and Jimmy Anderson, who rode a donkey-reindeer for Silver Bell Studios.The 1950s was an era of homegrown entrepreneurship, as small businesses and lodges sprouted all over the landscape. The paper noted on the front page,Another new business has been added to Aspen’s growing ski services with the building of the Big Lift Ski Shack by two local young men, John Strong Jr. and Byron Shipp. Located quite near to the lower terminal of the chairlift, Strong and Shipp have built their storage and repair hut on Midland [railroad] right-of-way, leased from Mrs. Dorothy Shaw.Big Lift Ski Shack will be a convenient place for skiers to store their skis at the end of a perfect day on Aspen mountain and get a complete base and wax job during the night, and/or repairs for another day’s fine skiing.The “Around Aspen” column brought the community up to date on two popular young soldiers (who served under a sympathetic Defense Department). These soldiers would return home to become, eventually, Aspen innkeepers.P.F.C. Tony Deane, son of Mr. and Mrs. Deane of the T-Lazy 7 ranch, stationed at Herzogenaurach, near Munich, Germany, was granted a two weeks’ leave to attend the Olympics. He drove to Cortina, Italy, with Major and Mrs. Jack Harbour of Frankfort, Germany … Besides witnessing the top events, Tony will greatly enjoy visiting with his many [Aspen] ski friends who are Olympic contestants. …This week marked the end of a two-year tour of duty in the United States Army for Charlie Paterson, son of Mr. Steve Shanzer. Charlie was discharged from the Mountain and Cold Weather Training Command at Camp Carson, Colorado, and has returned to his home in Aspen.

The pictures of Wintersköl may be worth a 1000 words, but The Aspen Times editor had some words to impart.Despite the snow drought, or perhaps because of it, Wintersköl public events had enthusiastic participation. …This year there was an atmosphere of friendliness among participants and spectators more reminiscent of the early events than of those held in recent years. Weather and business conditions seemed to create an intangible bond, which enhanced the festive spirit. As in other years, criticism was voiced about the poor taste demonstrated by some parade entrants and the juvenile vulgarity of the parade announcers. It is unfortunate that the inelegance of a few has to rub off on the efforts of all. But by most standards the parade, if not the announcing, must be judged a success.It is also unfortunate that Wintersköl must leave residue. The carnival atmosphere seems to tempt people to forget their manners and dispose of their trash – cigarette butts, candy wrappers, beer cans, paper sacks – on the ground.As a result city streets were dirty Monday, and there was no new snow to hide the debris.

Our cover story is about Richmond Ridge on the backside of Aspen Mountain. Read about what was proposed for Richmond Ridge and Little Annie Basin 25 years ago.The Little Annie’s Ski Area took a big leap forward this week when the U.S. Forest service released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which contained the service’s decision to issue a special use permit for full development of the proposed ski area. … In evaluating the 4,500-skier area, the study found some slight problems with the gondola that will provide the only access to the ski area, which is entirely on the upper slopes of the mountain, and traffic congestion in downtown Aspen. …The area will still need approval from both the city and county governments. The proposal will have hearings before the city and county planning and zoning commissions within the next few weeks, with consideration by the City Council and county commissioners scheduled later this year.The proposed ski area will be located on 706 acres on Aspen Mountain with skiing on slopes both east and west of the ridge running directly back from the Sundeck. …The Little Annies’s area will have seven lifts, plus a gondola, which will be the only access to the area, but will not serve any actual ski runs.Restaurants, ski shops and other similar facilities will be all located at the top of the mountain with the bottom of the gondola, transportation terminals and employee housing being the only development within the city.

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