25-50-100 Years Ago
Copies of The Aspen Times from October 1903 until 1911 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.Last week we ran a 1980 photo caption, which described the North Mill Street bridge as the Maroon Creek bridge. Why we ever would believe what we read in the newspaper beats us – but we did! This week’s 1905 photo really is the Maroon Creek bridge, built in 1888 to bring the Colorado Midland railroad across the Maroon Creek gorge into Aspen. The paper recalled the great blizzard of 1899, which isolated Aspen from the rest of the valley.Six years ago last Sunday 400 men shoveled out the Colorado Midland between here and Basalt. The snow at that time was much deeper than now.The residents of the mining camp at Tourtelotte Park on Aspen Mountain had been snowbound for more than a week. The paper now warned about the danger of avalanche (see photo).
The trail to Tourtelotte park which had been entirely closed since the severe storm of a week ago today was opened yesterday morning by Peter Zaugg who braved the deep snow and came to town for supplies. He said the snow on the trail was three feet deep and he had a hard trip to town. Joe Brown, who with the other was snowed in, expects to come to town today to learn the news. Pat Riley who has been in town for the past ten days and who was recently forced to return home after starting to his claims expects to return to the park this morning. Great care will have to be exercised to keep from being caught in a snowslide which are so current at present going towards the park.This enraged young man would certainly agree with Lyle Lovett: “You can have my girl / But don’t touch me hat.”At the recent masquerade ball a young man’s hat was taken by mistake. The hat that was left was as good as his but he confiscated the proceeds of the hat stand, which was in charge of a couple of boys whom he easily bulldozed. The money is the property of the Degree of Honor lodge and the boys’ parents are responsible for it. All gentlemen who attended the ball are requested by the lodge to inspect their hats and the one who has the hat that doesn’t belong to him is urged to bring it to this office and get his own in exchange. In order that the young man may be prevailed upon to give up the money that belongs to the lodge.Just in time for a president’s birthday celebration, the paper noted a gift from Redstone’s patroness and resident of Cleveholm Manor to the little school across the road.The school at Coal Basin, one of the finest in the valley district is now priding itself on a new flag, a much needed article for some time past. This flag, which is a most beautiful one, is ten feet in length and is the gift of Mrs. Osgood, to the school as a Lincoln memorial. The scholars are not only very proud of the fine gift, but are also enthusiastic in their praise of the donor.
This project may qualify as one of the first trans-mountain water diversions in Colorado.A plat of the Hagerman Pass ditch, pipe line and reservoir system was filed in the county clerk’s office yesterday. This is an extensive and very prominent ditch proposition, it being determined to carry water from the upper Frying Pan river through the Hagerman tunnel to Lake county.
The Aspen Valley Hospital, operating under different names for 114 years (see photo), has a proud history of providing up-to-date care for its relatively small population. The paper reported,Two valuable and major items of equipment will shortly be available at the Pitkin County Public Hospital through the generosity of Walter P. Paepcke, the Aspen Company, and the Lamb Memorial Hospital of Denver. These items are an electrocardiogram machine and a Watson delivery room table. Mr. Paepcke had offered to buy an electrocardiogram machine for the hospital when by coincidence it was learned that one was available as a gift at the Lamb Memorial Hospital. As an alternative, the need of a new delivery table was pointed out, and Mr. Paepcke readily agreed that he personally, together with the Aspen Company, would provide for its purchase.The Around Aspen column reported more news of the Paepckes,Mr. and Mrs. Walter Paepcke returned to Chicago Sunday by plane. Mrs. Paepcke spent the better part of her stay in Aspen working at their Hallam Lake (former D.R.C. Brown’s) house, where extensive remodeling is under way. The Paepckes expect to move into their newly renovated house sometime this spring.February was Roch Cup Race month (see photo) in Aspen 50 years ago. The paper announced,The Andre Roch Trophy Race and the Southern Rocky Mountain Ski Association Downhill and Slalom Championships will be held in Aspen next week. …The Aspen Ski Club, sponsoring this event, expects to make this race one of the best in the history of Roch Cup. The Roch Trophy Race will be a 3-way combined meet and the Slalom will be the same as the SRMSA Downhill and Slalom events, but will be scored along with the Giant Slalom. …The banquet will be on Sunday evening at the Blue Lounge in the Hotel Jerome to which all competitors are invited free of charge. Presentations awards will be made at that time.In more ski-racing news was an appeal for funds.
The Aspen Ski Club is faced with a problem. It has developed that costs for racers turning out for the Olympic team will be far in excess of what had been expected. The Aspen Ski Club is sending what will probably be the strongest single team in the United States. It now seems that some $600 is needed to help the Aspen racers make the trip. Aspen, it should be remembered, will be represented by 9 of the 15 racers going from the Southern Rocky Mountain Ski Association. Quite possibly (if we may be so bold) 5 of these racers will make the Olympic team. The Ski Club feels, therefore, that the publicity value alone should make people willing to contribute to the Fund for Aspen Racers, and if community pride means anything (and we think it does) Aspen’s name should be on the tongues of everyone in the ski world after the tryouts.The following racers for the Aspen Ski team [are]: Andrea Lawrence, Skeeter Werner, Nancy Banks, Beverly Paulich, Max Marolt, Melvin Hoaglund, Buddy Werner and Dave Lawrence.
Under the headline “Build a better slalom pole, and you go to Lake Placid,” the paper reported,Two former racers who now live in Aspen have revolutionized the slalom pole [see photo].The two, Peter Laehy and Stefan A. Dag, invented a pole in 1968 that will bend on contact and spring back into place. It’s called Rapidgate. Last year 10,000 of them were made and sold at $25 apiece, and they’re just hitting the European market.Laehy and Dag left last week for Lake Placid, where 700 of their poles were donated for use in the Winter Olympics.The Rapidgate can withstand impact at temperatures to 60 below zero.Its advantages are that there is less gate re-setting, fewer gatekeepers are required for a race, it is less punishing to the racer, and is cost-efficient.Dag said that Bill Marolt, coach of the U.S. Men’s Ski Team, told him that since the team began using the Rapidgate he has much more time for training. …Then big breakthrough for Rapidgate was its selection by Bob Beattie of Aspen as the official pole of World Pro Ski Tour and NASTAR.FIS approval and selection for the Olympic games have spurred on the success.The paper asked, “Are Aspen judges playing musical chairs?”
Robert Grueter, former county judge was named municipal judge by the city council this week. Grueter was named to replace Pitkin County Judge John Wendt in August 1978 and served until his resignation became effective this year.His position as county judge was filled by municipal judge Tam Scott, who resigned the city judgeship to take the county position. Grueter explained that the [county post] took too much of his time, of which more was needed for his private practice.However, he indicated after applying for the municipal post that this was less demanding on his time and he would like to continue as a judge in some capacity. …Scott served as municipal judge for five years before his January resignation. He said he sought the new position “as a chance to graduate to bigger and better things,” calling it a promotion.Battle lines were drawn in the 1980 “taxi war.” The paper reported,High Mountain Taxi Company says it wants no part of a rumored “taxi war” with Mellow Yellow.
Mellow Yellow was the Aspen area’s only cab company until Wednesday when High Mountain Taxi officially began service. …According to David Hyman, operations manager for High Commutation, his drivers reportedly have been threatened by Mellow Yellow drivers.One High Mountain driver claimed a Mellow Yellow cabbie kicked at the door of a High Mountain cab and spat on its windshield.[A] High Mountain driver told police he was driving his cab when an unidentified Mellow Yellow cab pulled in front of him and forced him to stop.[He] alleged that the Mellow Yellow driver got into the cab and told him, “If I see you at the airport it will be your ass.”Hyman said his company wants no part of any taxi wars. “We’re appalled at the thought of it,” he said.That sentiment was expressed to [Mellow Yellow president Phil] Sullivan in a letter from High Mountain board member John Bennett: “We have been informed by acquaintances and employes of yours that you plan an ‘all out battle’ with our company.”If such a ‘battle’ is conducted through the methods of free and fair competition, then we welcome it.”However, Bennett wrote, “We don’t wish to see – and refuse to be a party to – tire slashings, physical harassment of drivers, etc.”
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Friends of Colorado Avalanche Information Center has contributed to the state’s avalanche center for several years to help with forecasting for backcountry visitors. It cannot hold in-person fundraisers this year so its asking supporters to sign up for an annual membership.