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

Sara Garton
Colorado Midland Railroad's "mammoth rotary snow plow" arrived in Aspen in March 1906 to dig out the tracks and switches to the mines. The paper reported, "It was a great sight, and many camera fiends were in evidence, so we may look for some rare photos in a few days." (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.In March the paper began a campaign against David R. C. Brown (see photo), owner of the water company, and the exorbitant utility fees (according to the editor) he levied on the citizens of Aspen. Articles hammered relentlessly, with headlines such as “Oh, Davy! Davy! What For Do You Do These Things?” .And still Dave Brown has the nerve to charge the same old extortionate water rates. Read, and then kick and kick hard.A comparison of charges per year for house, bath, water closet, laundry and sprinkling for a 50-foot lot, showing the Castle Creek Water company robbery in Aspen as compared with municipal ownership rates in other towns:FOUR-ROOM HOUSEGrand Junction … $6Colorado Springs … 13Buena Vista … 15.60Sterling … 18.75Longmont … 22Aspen … 60 That Aspen $60 item must look good to the Brown corner, but it doesn’t look so good to the men that have to foot the bill, now does it?To be sure, all of us don’t pay $60 per year, but we do if we don’t stand in and enjoy the accommodations as above stated. Just for the privilege of having one hydrant in the house or on the lot, every miner in Aspen must pay $24 per year and $10 extra to have the privilege of sprinkling the lawn, and the miners are the men that made Dave Brown rich and famous and celebrated. … Oh, David, why don’t you give at least 50 per cent reduction or sell the city the [water] plant for $50,000? …May 24 or 25 at St. Paul, Minn., the United States appellate court will hear the case of the Castle Creek Water company against the city of Aspen.

Before Judge Hallett last November the company attempted to force the city council to appoint arbitrators to appraise the water plant at its productive worth. This the council rightly refused to do, and Judge Hallett sustained the council.The water company appealed the case, and we are now making this fight with the confident hope that the appellate court will sustain the council as did Judge Hallett.

This reporter had a touch of spring fever as he wrote, The big window of the Aspen Dry Goods company’s store on Hyman and Galena street proved quite an attraction yesterday to the scores of people brought out by the pleasant weather.The window is filled entirely with Easter novelties and certainly presented a most attractive appearance. All sorts of downy fluffy little yellow chickens, rabbits, egg baskets and most everything you could think of pertaining to Easter. Many of the little articles have a small receptacle cunningly concealed for the holding of choice candies or little gifts.The “Just For The Ladies” column announced,Monday afternoon Miss Marie Moritz will show the ladies of this city the swellest line of hats ever exhibited in Aspen. The doors of this millinery establishment will be opened at 1 o’clock and every lady is most cordially invited to visit the parlors and see the latest styles in chic and up-to-date millinery. There will be mushroom hats, sailor hats, English walking hats, and all kinds of hats. …When Easter comes, Aspen ladies will be right in front with their hats; in fact, Aspen’s ladies beat the world at all times.Better hold on to those hats because winter had not yet bid farewell to the Rockies. The paper reported,

Yesterday afternoon one of the Colorado Midland’s mammoth rotary snowplows [see photo] arrived in the city and for several hours was the center of attraction, its work being witnessed with admiration by hundreds of Aspen citizens.It arrived from down the valley, where it was engaged for some time removing the snowslide that covered the Midland tracks about a mile this side of Snow Mass. All afternoon this monster was engaged in clearing the deep snows that have covered the tracks in the vicinity, and the way it made the snow fly was a caution. Upon arriving in the city, the plow attached to three of the Midland’s largest engines, was sent up to the east end of the locals yards and very quickly had the deep snow driven from these tracks. After this, the crew repaired to the west end of town and from there proceeded up the Newman switch and soon had the line cleared of the heavy snow. The machine was then turned at the “Y” and retraced its steps and the clearing of the Deep Shaft mine was begun.

No one was concerned 50 years ago about the proliferation of roadside signs and billboards, as the paper noted, Due to the energetic and persistent work over the past two years of Mrs. Stanford Bealmer, secretary of the Aspen Chamber of Commerce, the State Highway Department has at long last place a fine legible sign at the turnoff to Maroon Lake and Ashcroft on Highway 82. Tourists will no longer be traveling down the valley and bothering the residents of Gerbazdale to inquire the whereabouts of Maroon Lake or Toklat Lodge.Aspen’s Ski School director often crossed over from the snowy slopes to the silver screen (see photo).Fred Iselin and other members of the Ski School staff will be busy for the next week making a picture – a short ski story – for the H.J. Heinz Company, makers of the “57 varieties,” for their public relations department.The film will be used for television and distribution to clubs throughout the United States.Little Susie Wirth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Wirth, who operate the Sundeck, Jean Tournier of Chamonix, France, Fred Iselin, Friedl Pfeifer and the staff of the Ski School will participate in the picture.Camera work will be done by Bob Murri and Franz Berko.

The paper announced, “Aspen Hosts 10th Mountain Association,” the renowned World War II troops who trained at Camp Hale on Tennessee Pass.[T]he second reunion of the group [see photo] will take place in Aspen on April 6,7, 8. … General Hays plans to attend again, and it is hoped that “Minnie” Dole and many of the senior commanders will also be present for this reunion of former mountaineers.

The entire town of Aspen and all its facilities are being made available to the association. A special invitation is extended to the ladies. An entertainment program is being prepared for the girls while the husbands and sweethearts are busily relating how each and every individual personally won the war inItaly. Woody Creek danced on St. Patrick’s Day, the paper reported,The Square Dance group turned out en masse last Saturday for an evening of tripping the light fantastic at the Woody Creek School House. With 35 or so present, four squares were easily made, and a reserve was on hand for those who wearied from the fast action. Dr. and Mrs. J.S. Baxter and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Autry were co-hosts and served shamrock cookies, tea and coffee towards the latter part of the evening.

Aspen High School was in the middle of its own March Madness. The paper reported,Unbudgeted, unranked and underdogs all season long, the team that wasn’t supposed to go anywhere will be in Denver Thursday afternoon for the opening round of the girls AA state basketball championship. “We’re definitely a dark horse. Nobody knows who we are and we don’t know them,” coach Dave Conarroe said Monday, following the girls’ 50-46 district tournament win over Palisade Saturday.Conarroe hadn’t expected to get to the state tournament since he lost all of last year’s starters to graduation. Last year’s team had been expected to make the tournament but didn’t.Dark horse or not, the Skiers have won six of the last seven games, and enter the tournament with some advantages that don’t show up in the state polls. … with a 15-5 record, the Skiers have more experience playing under pressure than most teams … Many of the Aspen girls are also veterans of state tournament competition [with] the volleyball team … {and] in the state cross-country meet.Aspen also has a bench so strong that it is no exaggeration to say that the Skiers have eight or nine potential starters for every game.Always controversial, the shooting range at Lake Christine in Basalt was in jeopardy 25 years ago.Basalt resident Jim Boyles is drumming up support to prevent possible closure of a rifle shooting range and public park in the Christine state wilderness area.Boyles is worried that the Division of Wildlife may close the area because of continuing problems with litter and vandalism.Closure of the rifle range, the only one in the county, could pose safety problems for the community, Boyles said.”If people don’t shoot where it’s safe, they’ll shoot where it’s unsafe,” he said, adding that he wants to ensure that rifle shooting continue in a controlled environment. …

Boyles also wants to upgrade the wilderness area by installing shooting benches and permanent rifle targets, setting up an archery range and a trap shooting range, cleaning up the lakeside area for picnickers and hikers, and improving parking facilities.Beleaguered and besmirched District Attorney Chuck Leidner was back in the news.District Attorney Charles Leidner fired back at two newspapers that have called for his resignation. Leidner’s response to suggestions by the Rifle Tribune and the Glenwood Post was that he would leave office “when I damned well want to.””I won’t leave if somebody tells me ‘Jews get out’ and I won’t leave when some goddamned newspaper tells me to. They can take their typewriters and put them where they’ll need proctologists to pull them out,” Leidner said.The reference to “Jews get out” stems from a note Leidner said he received following a cocaine arrest operation that netted 32 residents in the Roaring Fork Valley. The two calls for Leidner’s resignation followed a Post article on Feb. 19 that detailed many of the charges long made against Leidner by his critics in Pitkin County. …A week after Leidner was reelected in November, he announced his intention to resign as soon as he could sell his house in Glenwood Springs. Leidner drew no opposition in the Democratic primary and Republicans failed to field a candidate. His only opposition came from Sal A Mander, the electoral lizard (technically he’s a newt) created by [Aspen Times photographer and cartoonist] Chris Cassatt.


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