25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com
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25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton
The ornate altar of St. Mary Catholic Church on Main Street in the late 1800s is decorated for Palm Sunday. In 1906 the newspaper reported on a standing-room-only performance of a Passion Play at the church. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)
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Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1906 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.There were complete travel packages for guided hunting parties 100 years ago, as the paper reported,President Roosevelt’s guide, Jake Borah, is now arranging for a great lion, bob-cat, bear, wolf and coyote hunt in the Gypsum-Glenwoood Springs district, to take place February 7, 8, 9 and 10. A start will be made on the morning of each of those days from the town of Gypsum, on the Denver & Rio Grande. There will be one hundred dogs on the ground. Saddle horses will be furnished at $2 per day, and a team and driver at $5 per day. Those who desire to do so can secure good accommodations at Gypsum, Glenwood Springs or Eagle. Arrangement can be made with Mr. Borah in advance or on arrival at Gypsum.For this occasion the Denver & Rio Grande will make a rate of one fare for the round trip from Denver, Grand Junction, Aspen and intermediate points to Gypsum and to Glenwood Springs. …Mr. Borah states that this will be the biggest hunt ever held in the state, and in his competent hands there is no reason why the prediction should not be fulfilled.An Aspen hunter, as the paper reported, used neither a guide nor a rifle to fell his quarry.Monday morning while the Newman was gently slumbering in the moonlight, and just before the arrival of the human bees that would turn that famous mine into a hive of industry, two bold hunters could be seen skulking around the workings in search of big game. These hunters were the well known and ever popular Jack Kendrick and John Blewett. The day before these gentlemen heard that a wildcat was in the habit of utilizing the stable for a Pullman, and about 5 o’clock they were at the Newman to capture Mr. Cat.John Blewett had dismounted from his trusty steed, as also had Mr. Kendrick, and John was leading his animal into his compartment when a rustling was heard; the horse gave a snort and John and Jack’s hats went straight up. Hearts were going bumpyty bump-bump, and Mr. Blewett said in a stage whisper, “Jack, ain’t you got a gun?”Jack replied, “Ye-ye-yes.””Well, for God’s sake go and get it. There’s something awful in here.”

Jack flew down the trail to the power-house to get his trusty rifle and flew back to John. John lit a candle, cautiously opened the door and Jack peeked in to see what the deuce the thing was. There it was – a big bob-cat standing in the manger and spittin’ fire. Jack pulled the trigger but missed the cat. He repeated this operation until he had sent at least four pounds of lead flying in the direction of the cat, but nary a bullet grazed the yellow-eyed thing. This made Jack cuss, and grabbing up a shovel and backed by John and the candle he walked boldly into the cat’s berth and delt it one blow – that was enough, as the animal was mashed as flat as a flapjack.The skin of the animal is now hanging in the blacksmith shop of the Newman and is much admired by the employes.St. Mary Catholic Church (see photo) was the setting for a well-attended performance with the arrival of the Lenten season. The paper noted.The Passion play at the Catholic Church last night was an immense success. The church building was crowded to the doors, standing room being at a premium.The life-motion pictures representing the various scenes and most important incidents of the Life of Christ were very vivid in expression and the large crowd in attendance was greatly pleased with the representation.Another full house is expected tonight when the Passion play will be given for the last time.

An influx of college students slopes hit the slopes of Aspen Mountain during semester break, and the Around Aspen column noted,College students descended en masse into Aspen this past weekend, making the most of a few days vacation between semesters. The predominant group came from the University of Colorado. Schuss-boomers were everywhere on the mountain Sunday, no form, no control, but plenty of speed. In consequence 11 toboggans were brought down the mountain [see photos], quite a record for one day, but fortunately only six casualties suffered broken bones.However, the Aspen Junior Skiers reportedly had plenty of form and control, as well as plenty of speed.

The Aspen Junior Skiers girls team took four of the first five places in the Damon George Memorial meet at Steamboat Springs last weekend. The unofficial results for the combined placed Judith Ringle, first; Cherie Gerbaz, second; Jane Moore, third; and Sharon Pecjak, fifth. The boys team placed second as they competed in their first four-way meet.This is the first time the Aspen boys competed in cross-country, and the coach, Gale Spence, was proud of them. Those on the team were King Fisher, Mike Newlove, Jim Glidden, M.J. Elisha and Bill Marolt. Aspen lost one of its finest, as The Aspen Times reported on the front page,State Patrolman Melvin Phillips was killed in an accident involving two semi-trailer trucks and the patrol car. Phillips and his companion, Patrolman Floyd E. Gresham, both stationed in Limon, had stopped a semi-trailer 30 miles west of Crain, Mo., to check his vehicle and load. They pulled off the road, well clear of the pavement, and the two patrolmen parked their car directly behind. The driver of the truck got into the car with officers for their conference.While thus parked, another semi-trailer truck approached from the rear. The second truck veered off the road suddenly and struck the patrol car from the rear crushing it into the rear of the parked truck just ahead of the patrol car. All four, the two patrolmen and the two truck drivers were instantly killed. …Members of the State Patrol attended the funeral [at the Aspen Community Church] in force with [the chief, captains, supervisors] and 45 sergeants and patrolmen of the department in full uniform. In addition, a detail of Military Police was in the escort, commanded by Capt. Nicholas Galloway.

Aspen welcomed the annual event-packed Gay Ski Week three weeks ago, but 25 years ago the paper reported,In the wake of one of the least profitable Januaries in Aspen’s ski town history, several local establishments were seemingly reluctant last week to welcome the patronage and business of several hundred members of gay ski clubs. …After reports of discrimination against gay clientele [at the Paragon and the Tippler], both nightspots for dancing that have attracted a gay clientele over the last several years), several anonymous gay spokesmen and [the nightclubs’] management discussed the situation.At stake was potentially a civil rights issue, as Aspen has a municipal ordinance prohibiting discrimination against any minority by any public establishment. …According to one of the gay men who went to the Tippler, although the management had said that two men dancing together “was against the house rules,” he and another man, aware of their legal right to dance, went to the dance floor. … [B]oth were removed from the floor by the nightclub manager. Undeterred, they returned a few minutes later to the dance area. The two were again forcibly removed from the floor, this time accompanied by abusive language from the nightclub manager, according to the dancer.Meanwhile the Aspen Police Department had arrived, and refused to “throw the gays out” after the request was reportedly made by bar management. …Despite the problems encountered last week, [Wayne] Croft [a Los Angeles businessman] said that the gay ski clubs intend to return to Aspen next year, “as it’s a special place and we had a fine week anyway.”Noting that as many as 1,500 gay men may arrive together next January, he said “this wasn’t just an isolated situation that’s going to go away. You must remember we are everywhere, and Aspen is going to have to learn to deal with this.”Aspenites definitely know how to live high, and it isn’t always altitude, as this report acknowledged.

A recently released survey made in 1978 and 1979 shows that Aspen leads Colorado cities in per capita consumption of wine.The survey also shows that residents of Colorado Springs drink the most hard liquor, and inhabitants of Canyon City and Leadville consume the widest range of drugs.More than 2,750 persons over the age of 12 were contacted for the survey, conducted by the drug abuse division of the Colorado Department of Health. …In addition to Aspen’s having the highest per capita wine consumption, the Aspen area was said to have the largest per capita consumption of marijuana and cocaine.After a green light from the Forest Service, the developers of a proposed ski area on the backside of Aspen Mountain were entering the maze of county review boards. The headline, “Little Annie skins her shins on PZ,” adequately describes an early meeting.The Little Annie Ski Area hit a stumbling block – one that might eventually prove itself a stone wall – when it went to the Pitkin County Planning & Zoning Commission this week in search of special review approval.Commission members expressed a wide variety of problems with the proposed area, ranging from the specific (Will the sewage system work?) to the more general (Will the area make money?) to the broadly philosophical (Do we want another ski area in this valley?). …Other major questions, as summarized by Chairman [Peter] Guy, included the possible cost to the county of capital improvement projects required to handle the growth generated by the ski area (such as airport and highway improvement and expansion); a method of getting the area’s 4,500 skiers off the mountain if the gondola (the only means of access and egress) broke down; the possibility that expansion at Snowmass could handle much of the expected growth of skier demand; and the need for major reworking and expansion of the Little Annie Road, which leads from Castle Creek up to the ski area and would be used for construction. …As the discussion ended, commission members agreed to a special meeting on Little Annie’s next week to discuss their more general question about whether any growth should be allowed.One point of this meeting, it was agreed, was to see whether there were unalterable philosophical objections which would result in a negative vote from the P & Z, no matter what information the ski area [developers] provided.


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