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25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton
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Microfilm of The Aspen Times 19041909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Societys archives. These 1906 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.Always looking on the bright side, the paper enthusiastically reported every rumor of a new strike and every piece of ore brought in for inspection by a prospector.If you have time today, drop into W. Porter Nelsons office and take a look at the prettiest specimen you ever laid your eyes on. It is an exceptionally rare specimen from the cave in the North Pole mine of Crystal [see photo], consisting of fine crystallized quartz and lime crystals usually called dogtooth spar crystals, also crystal of copper pyrites, the surface of which are converted into oxide of copper making a beautiful iridescent coloring, the whole being on a base of copper ore. It is certainly a beautiful work of nature and worthy a place in the Smithsonian Institute. The North Pole mine is located at Crystal, about eighteen miles from Aspen and is owned chiefly by Aspen men. Several eastern mining experts have recently experted the North Pole mine and their verdict assures the future of the property. They say that at least a million dollars is in sight and only awaits the taking out of the rich copper ore to place that much money into the pockets of the stockholders. Next summer the company will operate the North Pole to its full capacity as well as several other properties which the company owns at Crystal. The Lead King is among the group and it was to a display of ore specimens from this mine that the St. Louis exposition awarded a bronze medal and a certificate of first place.

Ah, those were the good old days, when newspapers shut down to celebrate a holiday. Two days off occurred in February 1906, before our presidents birthdays were lumped together in 1968 to create a three-day midwinter weekend. Owing to the fact that today is Washingtons birthday and a legal holiday, the Democrat force will not work tonight. Dont be disappointed at not receiving a paper tomorrow morning but look for all the news on Saturday morning. We like these holidays.Aspen was never a cultural backwater, as the paper noted,The members of the Boston Orchestra company arrived in town yesterday morning and gave an entertainment at the Presbyterian church [now the Community Church] last evening.One of Aspens oldest and most respected organizations was going to have its picture taken. The paper announced,Phil Kerwin and John Bowman are going to take a fine large picture of the Elks [see photo] Thursday afternoon at 5 oclock in front of the club rooms. The picture will be 11×14 and will be something that every Elk will desire to own for himself if his mug appears in the herd frame and hang on the wall as a reminder in the years to come of the old friends who now compose No. 224.The paper went on to describe a night of hazing by another longtime organization.Last night about 10:30 oclock a man rushed into the Democrat office and said that he had just heard a shot and someone yell bloody murder. We rushed out in the snowstorm and in our shirtsleeves. As we were passing the bank, we heard a horrible and blood-curdling whoop and then came several heart-rending groans. At first it was thought that someone was being killed at the bank but all at once and without a moments notice a series of yells and whoops and then more shouts and more yells and more whoops and it dawned on upon us that it was only the Eagles putting some poor fellow through the ordeal that every Eagle must withstand, or die. Guess the poor fellow must have died last night.

The paper announced the reopening of a popular community amenity, which certainly must have encouraged a lot of downtown dwell time: Its location was where the Belly Up nightclub is situated today.The Aspen Public Swimming Pool opened last Sunday under the able management of Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Waddington with helpers Ray Holtz and lifeguard Cynthia Burbahn. The water temperature is held between 90 and 95 degrees, a most relaxing warmth, and the pool will remain open until the end of the skiing season.Many claim our valley is a spiritual place. Fifty years ago, plans were afoot to increase its spirituality tenfold. The paper reported,Archbishop Urban J. Vehr announced last Friday that the Trappist monks have purchased a 3,100-acre site on Capitol Creek from the Maurin and LeMoy ranches where a monastery will be built, Our Lady of Colorado Abbey [see photo]. The Rt. Rev. Dom M. Edmund Futterer, OSCO, abbot of St. Joseph Abbey in Spencer, Wis., said a group of monks has been sent to care for the beef cattle already on the property. When plans are completed, the monks of Spencer will send their own builders to help put up the first wing of the new monastery.The order of the Trappists, one of the most severe in the Catholic Church, whose members spend their lives in silence, manual labor and contemplation, was founded in La Trappe, France, at the close of the 11th century. Their first house in America was established at Gethsemane, Ky., in 1948.Two Aspenites found a sure cure for midwinter cabin fever by checking out the competition (and probably taking a few turns as well!). Harold (Red) Rowland, manager of the Ski Corporation, and Art Pfister returned last week from an air trip to seven western ski resorts to see how they did it there. In all, they spent eight days visiting Alta, Brighton, Sun Valley, Sugar Bowl, Donner Summit Ranch, Squaw Valley, and Heavenly Valley. The Sugar Bowl Lodge is being operated by Walter and Marjorie Haug, former Aspenites, and Rowland and Pfister stayed overnight there and visited with them. The Haugs sent their greetings back to all their friend in Aspen.

Red Rowland made news 25 years later, this time with Steve Knowlton. The paper announced,Aspens Harold Red Rowland will be among six Colorado ski pioneers inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame on Monday, March 23.Also slated for induction in March are Steve Knowlton, an early Aspen skier, and Louise White, an early Colorado champion and mother of Aspen resident Carolyn Moore.Rowland, 70, was born and raised in Aspen and worked on the areas ranches, silver mines and water diversion tunnels for nearly 20 years before he went to work for the Aspen Skiing Corporation in 1946. As Rowland said in an interview with The Aspen Times in 1976, I built the lifts, tore them down, and built them again.By the time he retired in January 1977, Rowland had risen to the position of vice president in charge of engineering. Knowlton was one of the many former members of the 10th Mountain Division who trained near Leadville and then moved to Aspen at the end of World War II.He raced on the U.S. Olympic Team in 1948 and later competed for the U.S. in the FIS World Championships in 1950, the first major international ski race to be held in Aspen.Knowlton built the building which houses the Golden Horn and started that establishment.He worked with the Rocky Mountain Ski Area Operators Association and was instrumental in founding Colorado Ski Country USA. An editorial suggested that Aspenites may feel as if they are on a merry-go-round that never stops. From the-more-things-change, the-more-they-stay-the-same file: It is strange how civic improvements can be discussed at great length over great periods of time by city officials, accepted after much discussion, then forgotten before action is taken.Last fall the city council spent hours at meetings discussing safety improvements to Main Street with a committee it had appointed to advise it. One suggestion was use of median planter strips to delineate left-turn lanes and give pedestrians a safety island. This was not the first time Main Street problems and improvements were discussed by the council. In fact, the lead paragraph of this editorial was written in December 1978. The editorial pointed out that one recommendation in an update to the 1966 master plan presented in 1968 stated: The western approach to Aspens central business district would be enhanced by the creation of a planted median strip on Main Street. It went on to explain: Somehow the improvements were forgotten until a new study, by new consultants, at additional cost, was made in 1972 and 1973. Called the Regional Transportation Plan and completed in July 1973, this also recommended construction of a median planter areas on Main Steet.Once again the submission was discussed, accepted, but largely ignored. Perhaps it is human nature to order studies from outside experts, then forget them once they are paid for. This was true in 1968, again in 1973, and again in 1978 and is still true today.The Feb. 19, 1981 cover {see photo) of The Aspen Times carried the headline, Getting Ready for the World Cup.The crew of Middle School students foot-packing Aztec [run on Aspen Mountain] were just one of many groups working to pull things together for the Aspen World Cup races even as the warm weather and lack of snow cast some doubts whether the races [scheduled for March 5-8] could be held at all.Round Three between members of the Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission and the developers of a proposed ski area in Little Annie Basin ended with a KO, the paper reported.It was as promised a no vote for the Little Annie Ski Area at the Pitkin County Planning & Zoning Commission this week.The commission, which had decided at a study session last week that a majority of its members had basic, irreconcilable philosophical objections to the creation of a new ski area, voted 5-0 to approve a resolution recommending that the county commissioners reject the Little Annies application. (In related news, the PZ considered the possibilities of major ski expansion at Aspen Highlands and noted in doing so that it favored expansion of existing areas over creation of new ones to meet possible increased future demand.) The resolution noted that the PZ did not agree with the concept that Little Annies will draw its skiers almost exclusively from people staying within the city limits of Aspen.It also noted that the commission disagrees with the related concept that Aspen and Snowmass will eventually become separated areas, without much travel between the two, and that Little Annies will be needed to balance tourist bed capacity with ski terrain capacity in the Aspen area.The resolution goes on to say that the PZ believes that the Little Annie Ski Area proposal represents an expansion of the areas industrial base and as such, represents a significant growth generator.


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