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25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton
The Presbyterian Church Sunday school gathers for a group photo in the early 1900s. Today the historic church on Bleeker Street is known as the Community 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.The downvalley exodus: It’s happening now, it happened then. The paper reported,For almost a quarter of a century has Fred H. Stockman been a resident of Aspen, but this morning Mr. Stockman and his estimable wife leave for their future home – the Saco ranch [see photo], about sixteen miles down the valley on the banks of the Roaring Fork.For the past few years Mr. Stockman has been improving the Saco ranch and today he has a model home. A magnificent two-story house has just been completed and equipped with every modern convenience and comfort.A report on the City Council meeting was headline “Three For, One Against.”

Mayor Twining reported his action in closing the city saloons in keeping with the state laws – at 12 o’clock each night and all day Sunday.Aldermen O’Kane, Gilbert and Grover voted in support of the mayor’s action. Alderman Atkinson voting in the negative and gave his reasons for so doing. Mr. Atkinson said: “I believe this is an unnecessary action and working a hardship that will not do any special good to the city. It has been the custom to allow the saloons to open Sundays and I cannot see wherein we have suffered thereby. Most of our revenue comes from the saloon licenses and I believe in fair treatment. Men will get their whiskey anyway, so where is the good in the Sunday closing? We are simply driving money out of town that we should have. I wish to go on record as standing for fair play and justice.An article weighed in on “The Cocaine Habit.”Some few days ago a petition was presented to Congress in behalf of the temperance societies of the District of Columbia asking that that sale of cocaine within the limits of the District be suppressed. …The victim of the cocaine habit is an example of worthlessness in its most abject degree.He not only injures his mental powers, he destroys them. He not only makes himself a drag upon himself and society for a period of hours, he becomes such for all time.He cannot cure himself of the habit of using the drug and no one else can cure him of it. He believes that he must have it or die, and the only way in the world to convince him of anything else is to lock him up and keep him locked up, without giving him the drug until he learns he can live without it, and then the moment he is given his freedom he will forget that he can do without it, and it is necessary to lock him up again. The cigarette fiend, the morphine fiend, the liquor fiend and the absinthe victim, which we have long had with us in few or great numbers, are slaves enough for a free country.The cocaine habit should not be allowed to spread. … We want no more national evils.Continuing its sermonizing, the paper reported,

Since Mrs. S. Haupert came to Aspen, she has had the largest class in the Presbyterian Sunday school [see photo]. Her class numbers eighteen girls ranging from ages 13 to 15. Regardless of the large number, each one has been faithful and active in their Sunday school work. Last evening was spent in transacting business relating to class organization and playing parlor games. In midst of the general good time, their faithful teacher served a light lunch consisting of ice cream, assorted cake, doughnuts and coffee.Dr. and Mrs. W.F. Setzler assisted in entertaining the supper crowd. It was amusing to see the dentist wrinkle his brow when over a dozen of the girls spoke at the same time on the same subject.Who can measure the lasting impressions for good made on these young people, who will soon take on themselves the stern realities of life? At last the normally jolly editor relented somewhat and suggested that observing Lent doesn’t have to be all about sacrifice,Today is Ash Wednesday, and for the next six weeks it isn’t correct to eat meat, you know. Therefore, the best thing that you may eat is a big, fat oyster, in fact you may eat all the oysters you want. A.D. Veza, with an eye to business, has just received a large supply of New York counts and will sell them at the regular market price. A.D. is ever up to snuff when it comes to catering to the necessities of the public, and we can eat oysters today. Yum-yum, yummy-yum!

A sure sign of spring is an article reporting a meeting of the 4-H Club.Eight 4-H Club members and their parents attended an organizational meeting of the Pitkin County 4-H Tractor Club [see photo] on Feb. 20th at the Woody Creek Recreation center.Members of the new group will learn how to care for tractors and other machinery under the leadership of Allen Vagneur, who recently attended the 4-H Leader’s Tractor Program training meetings at Fort Collins.Safety in the operating and maintenance of tractors will be discussed at the next meeting … March 17th the club will attend a special meeting at the Elliot Equipment Co., our area International Dealer.Not only were signs of spring peeking through snowbanks, but there were notes of summer in the air. The paper reported,The first meeting of the advisory council to Music Associates of Aspen demonstrated conclusively that the citizens of Aspen are solidly behind the trustees of M.A.A. in the conduct of the annual summer Aspen Music Festival and School.The meeting held last Thursday evening at the Bamboo Room of the Hotel Jerome had an unexpectedly large turnout of 40 persons, including businessmen, music enthusiasts and plain interested citizens. …Three principal questions were discussed: Do the citizens of Aspen wish the summer music program to be continued? Can the Trustees count on their continuing and increased support, financially and otherwise? How can the music program be improved to best serve the cultural and financial interests of the town? The first two questions received firm and enthusiastic answers of “Yes.” The third question brought a number of valuable suggestions which will be studied by the Planning and Program committee. …The budget for 1956 is estimated at some $20,000 in excess of the 1955 budget, due to increased costs. … In view of the increased budget, a minimum of $35,000 must be collected in Aspen, of which $17,500 must be sought from the businessmen on the basis of last year’s proportionate contributions.

As the days grow longer, the numbers grow higher on the ski slopes, as the paper noted, The weekend of the 18th through the 20th of February shattered all records on the mountain. With snow conditions as perfect as could possibly be found anywhere, the big mountain registered 977 skiers on Feb. 19th, not counting those on Little Nell. Monday morning the Ski School meeting area was crammed to overflowing when 354 pupils were assigned to their various classes.The “Around Aspen” column concurred, Last week’s classic remark was something akin to “Ye Gods, Spar Gulch [see photo] looked just like the Charge of the Light Brigade, bodies everywhere in every possible position, both upright and prone.”A party of twenty-one men, mostly doctors, will arrive for their annual ski holiday. The group comes from Kansas City, Mo., and will travel out in their own bus bringing much luggage, skis and an assortment of musical instruments. They will again be guests at the T-Lazy 7 Ranch on Maroon Creek during their week’s vacation.Making their third trip this season will be a party of forty members of the Snow Jet Ski Club of Colorado Springs, Colo., who will also be guests at T-Lazy 7.

Aspen held a World Cup downhill 25 years ago! And there was another surprise, the paper reported,Valeri Tsyganov of the Soviet Union beat the course, the field and the oddsmakers by finishing first in today’s opening downhill of the Aspen Winternational World Cup races, posting the Russians’ first downhill victory ever in World Cup competition.But behind the surprising Tsyganov, everything was the purest of Old World tradition, with Swiss and Austrians capturing the next eight places. …The fastest U.S. finisher for the day was Pete Patterson, whose time of 1:54:51 left him just outside the top ten.Aspen’s two entries, Dave Stapleton and Mike Farny – whose familiarity with the course led to hopes they might place well – both failed to finish.Farny and Stapleton were far from the only racers to fall, however.This week’s heavy snowstorm resulted in softer snow than the icy hardpack best suited for downhill racing, and today’s bright sunshine and warm temperatures softened the snow even further, resulting in deep ruts that developed as the race progressed.Aspen has been belching gas or particulates into our thin mountain air ever since its founding as a mining town. A 1981 survey indicated if there’s fire, there’s smoke. Smoke from wood fires is a major source of pollution in Aspen, and almost everybody here has a fireplace, according to the city-county health department. Furthermore, most of the people who have fireplaces use them, but almost nobody really needs them according to a recent survey. …Only 1.5 percent of the people surveyed actually used wood fires for their primary source of heat – and all of those people used wood-burning stoves. …

According to the health department, a regular fireplace has an efficiency of 15 percent, while an airtight wood stove is roughly 75 percent efficient.A cord of wood burned in an open fireplace will give off about 75 pounds of smoke pollution, while the same cord burned in an efficient wood stove, with doors closed and air inlets closed as far as possible, will put out less than 25 pounds of pollution.While the proposal for the Little Annie Ski area continued its slog through city and county government review, the Chamber of Commerce president put in his two bits.Speaking as a member of the chamber’s task force on Little Annie, [Stephen] Straight said at the monthly chamber membership luncheon that the five-member task force is now “deeply committed” to getting government approval for Little Annie.Straight said the task force thinks government officials and special interest groups appear to be “looking at the trees instead of the forest” regarding the new ski area proposal. … [He] said public support for the new ski area apparently hasn’t waned since 1978. He noted that 98 percent of the members who responded to a chamber survey in the issue were in favor of Little Annie. About 200 of the chamber’s 600 members responded to the questionnaire.The chamber is now conducting a petition drive to demonstrate support for the proposal.


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