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

Sara Garton
In April 1906 the paper wrote about Easter fashions and "Pretty Schoolma'ms." These two fair Aspen citizens display their finery. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)
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Microfilm of The Aspen Times 19041909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1906 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.Perhaps the editor was swooningwith spring fever when he wrote the headline, “Aspen Full of Pretty Schoolma’ms [see photos].”The Roaring Fork Teachers’ association, which opened yesterday at the High School, was a most emphatic success. Teachers are here from twenty towns and school districts outside of Aspen, and every session of the association’s meetings is being largely attended. Not only are these teachers in attendance, but members of school boards and others who are interested in the cause of education. …In the evening, despite the inclement weather, fully three hundred people crowded the High School building to hear a most excellent program. …

A most excellent paper on “English,” by Miss Laura Whaley, with a forceful intelligent discussion by Superintendent Troendly, of Basalt, was given yesterday afternoon. “Patriotism in our Schools” was ably handled by Mollie Sumnicht, of Carbondale.Never one to mince words, Charles Dailey, editor of the Aspen Democrat, let ‘er rip in an article promoting a new school board.Next to the American home the American public schools are of paramount importance to the people of this and every other American city. Upon every side there is a greater demand for greater enlightenment, higher civilization and broader education in order that we may be the more able to cope effectively with the elements of selfishness and greed which are becoming more and more rampant as the days go by. The young man or woman who is to take up the battle where the men of today leave off, must be better equipped, if they would win, than were their fathers. …What Aspen needs on her school board are five good, honest, clean-cut, conscientious, upright and fearless men. Men who have no Brownism [C.F. Brown] or Copelandism [W.S. Copeland, owner of the Aspen Daily Times] in their makeup. Men that will consider nothing but the welfare of our boys and girls when voting. Men that will have no personal axe to grind or personal ambition to serve. Men that will not oppose a good thing for the schools simply because another member of the board makes the proposition. The Democrat does not mean to insinuate that our present school board contains the above evils, but it does to a more or less degree.Signs of spring: the appearance of mud and the shedding of winter clothing. The paper reported,

Mr. Taylor had quite a serious time last evening with his water wagon which got stuck in the mud below the Jerome hotel on Main street, and it took some time before he was able to extract the wagon.One of the windows of the Aspen dry goods store was the scene of quite an attraction yesterday, as it represented the advertising of the new linen suits which are to be all the rage this summer.”For the Ladies” column elaborated,In no country is Easter made so great a festival of dress as in the United States. The dress parade on Easter Sunday has with us reached the status of an institution: It has grown with our growth, and strung with our strength, so to speak. …All light-weight, fine worsted dress goods are selling. Cream serges and cream fancies are meeting with great success. Cream mohairs are one of the season’s favorites. Fine worsted suitings in the popular shade of gray are exceptionally stylish for Easter.

The paper announced the arrival of a new Aspen citizen with the headline, “Even the Chairlift Starts for the Stork!”A beautiful little baby girl was born Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Pitkin County Hospital to Mr. and Mrs. Paul Wirth of the Sundeck. This small child of the mountain has been named Heidi, as well she might be, and her advent into the world caused a situation unique in the history of Aspen.If anyone was up and around at two in the morning on Tuesday, they would have been surprised to find the lift running at that time of night, but so it was, in order to conduct Hanna Wirth safely down to the hospital. The new baby’s grandparents all live in Switzerland, and we must add mother and baby are doing fine.The town rolled up the carpet for the season, as “Around Aspen” noted,Everyone knew the ski season was over for sure last Monday when Matthew Drug had all the lights out by eight o’clock and every bar in town, except the Ski and Spur, was closed at midnight. The business people are taking off for vacations, and the town folk are taking to the garden tools with zest. A big soft sigh was heard around town in welcome to this our “Off Season.”

Forget the American and National leagues; Aspen was a member of the Eagle Valley Baseball League.Two Aspen delegates attended the first 1956 meeting of the Eagle Valley Baseball League, held in Eagle, for the purpose of organization and preliminary planning.Aspen has entered the league with other teams from Leadville, Eagle, Redcliff, Minturn and Camp Hale, with the strong possibility of a Grand Junction team joining.Opening games will be played June 17, with games each Sunday at 1:30 thereafter until Labor Day, at which time the leading four teams will compete in a playoff tournament. This tournament has been invited to Aspen …The Aspen City Council has agreed to level the diamond in Wagner Park as soon as the frost is gone, and new grass will be planted. It is anticipated that a cooperative project will be established with all high school athletes taking part, in which all stones and foreign matter will be taken away.The Aspen Lions Club is planning on sponsoring and building a bleacher grandstand which will be in sections and on skids. This arrangement will provide seating on the south side of the baseball diamond and allow the units to be towed to the west boundary line of the football gridiron for the fall sport.

The paper straighten out some gossip circulating about a longtime business (see photo). Early this week we learned – from the gossip circuit – that Albert Bishop had bought out his partner, Henry Beck. When we tried to contact both Albert Bishop and Henry Beck to get facts and confirmation, we learned that just about the opposite had occurred.Henry Beck has purchased from Albert Bishop the latter’s share of the market now known as Beck & Bishop’s. The Beck and Bishop partnership began in 1945 when Albert Bishop returned to Aspen from his service in the Merchant Marines. Prior to this time the market had been owned and operated by Alton and Henry Beck. Shortly after Alton assumed his duties as Postmaster, he sold his share of the market to Albert Bishop.For many years prior to 1945 the market was operated by Henry’s father, John Beck, and before him by his grandfather, Tom Beck. …In the future the market, located in the Wheeler Opera House building, will be known as Beck’s Market. It has been in this same location since the early 1900s.

The grand old Wheeler Opera House was scheduled for a complete overhaul. What Wheeler moviegoers thought was the last picture show heard otherwise from their film host (see photo). The paper reported,The closing of the Wheeler movie theater last Tuesday could have been a mournful occasion. But there was good news for the movie fans thronging the historic theater, when eight-year manager Jon Busch announced that one last summer film festival will be held from June to August before renovations begin on the Wheeler. Art and foreign filmgoers will have to content themselves with the movie fare at the Playhouse and Isis through April and May, however, as the Wheeler will shut down for the off season.The paper announced “Late Breaking News: Leidner Update!”In a sudden surprise move this morning, departing District Attorney Chuck Leidner, who announced this week that he will leave his job May 1, telephoned Aspen Times staff lizard Sal A Mander and told the nonplused newt that he was recommending that the governor appoint Mander as his replacement for the DA’s job.”I couldn’t believe my ears,” said Mander, forgetting in his excitement that newts don’t have ears. …[A]dded Mander, “I’m looking forward to taking the job because of the many vacation and travel opportunities it offers.”This last comment from Mander was a lightly veiled reference to Leidner’s controversial absences from the district for vacations and his equally controversial high-ticket expense account statements submitted after the recent trips to legal conventions in Las Vegas and San Francisco.Some local political observers immediately noted with regret that Mander showed a shocking lack of class in taking this last cheap shot at the departing DA.

The spring snowpack can be unpredictable and sometimes deadly. Sadly, the paper reported,Snowmass ski patrolman Roberto Gasperl died Wednesday morning of injuries received during an avalanche Tuesday morning at Snowmass.Gasperl, 40, was buried under seven feet of snow for 30 minutes before fellow patrolman LJ (Little John) Erspamer and other Ski Corp employees could dig him out. Erspamer was caught in the same slide while on routine avalanche blasting patrol on a shallow, 10-degree slope in an out-of-bounds area above the Snowmass trail Hanging Valley.The snowfield they were traversing fractured 12 feet above them, and the slab of snow on which they were standing carried both men about 100 feet down a steeper, rocky area.Erspamer dug himself out and found Gasperl with the aid of SKADIS avalanche victim tracking devices that the men were wearing. A few minutes before the slide, Gasperl had detonated a charge intended to trigger slides on the steeper slopes below, but the charge apparently had no effect. …Gasperl was born in Cortina, Italy, and briefly held the world speed skiing record. In 1964, he came to Sugarbush to work for Stein Ericksen’s ski school. In 1967, he moved to Snowmass when Ericksen started the ski school there. When the Ski Corp took control of the ski school in 1969, Gasperl became a supervisor and held that position until 1979. He quit that job and joined the ski patrol in 1980.


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