25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton
Refreshments were served in the new ice-cream parlor at the Hotel Jerome, where the Aspen Junior baseball team held a dance in 1906. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1906 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.Following San Francisco’s devastating earthquake and fire April 18, Aspen’s citizens were quick to rally. The paper noted,The miners of Aspen are fearless, honorable and whole-souled men. … They are ever in the front rank when the homeless and destitute need assistance, and they are also right up in front when there is any fan going on. … E.E. Stevens, or just plain Ed who is the blacksmith on the Smuggler, yesterday started out to raise a miners’ fund for the suffering people of California and started the subscriptions with the employes of the Smuggler Mining company. Today a like petition will be circulated among the Durant and Newman miners, and before the week is out every miner in the district will have subscribed to the Miners’ Fund. …It is the intention to expend this money right here in Aspen for food, clothing and the necessities of life and ship them direct to Mayor Schmitz of San Francisco. Large quantities of bacon, hams, sugar, butter, flour, staple groceries, wrappers, suits, underwear for both sexes will be purchased and shipped to the sufferers. The miners want the farmers to cooperate with them and to furnish the spuds. …

Our farmers are just like our miners – BIG HEARTED. Both [farmers] Mr. Stewart and Mr. Dunlap said it would be no trouble to raise all the potatoes the Aspen miners could want for the ‘Frisco sufferers. The movement of the miners promises to be a stem-winder, and if a relief bureau is opened in one of the store buildings, every man, woman and child will pack something to the bureau to be shipped to the homeless and destitute. Let this be done and then if you have a suit or a dress or some underclothes or shoes that you don’t need, wrap them up and take them to the bureau and the committee will pack them in a car and ship them direct to the destitute communities.Whoop ‘er up, folks. We may be pinched ourselves some day. It will all come back anyway.Go it, you miners, you are all right.Several days later, the paper crowed,[A]nother thousand dollars will be wired to San Francisco to be used to its best advantage to aid the homeless and destitute people of that city.The Democrat predicts that by Tuesday Aspen will have sent to San Francisco at least $2,500. We should like to hear of a town in the United States, of the same population as Aspen, that has a better record.

A different sort of railroad freight arrived in Aspen, as the paper reported,Sunday as the Rio Grande passenger train was coming to the city, the rear portion of the train left the track near the hanging rock. The passengers were transferred from the coaches to box cars, which remained on the track, and arrived in town a little late. No one was hurt and no serious damage was done, except the smashing of one car. The load and wrecking crew spent the afternoon in setting the cars on the track, completing the work about 5 p.m.The Hotel Jerome has been a center of community fundraising parties for all ages throughout our history. The paper noted in “City Briefs,”The dance given by the Junior baseball team at the Jerome hotel last evening was well attended. A very nice program of dances was arranged. Harrington’s orchestra furnished the music and during the evening delicious ice cream was served by Mr. King at his new ice cream parlor [see photo]. Every one present spent a very pleasant evening and the dance was a success, both financially and socially.

In a headline, the paper asked “Will Aspen Be A City Without A Park?”There is strong agitation by a least one member of the Aspen City Council to sell city-owned lands. …Suggestions to sell Wagner Park [see photo] is supported by the arguments that it is a valuable property, centrally located and one which would bring the City considerable money through sale and later from taxes. A Ball Park, it is said, could just as well be located across the river at the base of Smuggler Mountain, where seats for spectators could be built on the now existing mine dumps. The old Hose House on West Main Street, which is another property for which sale is urged, doesn’t even belong to the City. It is owned by the Fire Department. The Opera House, it is said, should be sold. Once not so many years ago the city had an offer of $1,000 for the Opera House. Does it seem good business to sell it for a price even approaching this? In years long past citizens of Aspen have worked hard to secure for the city a full block, centrally located, for a Park. Since that time clubs, organizations and individuals in the city have spent much in time, effort and money to improve this Park. Just last week the Lions Club had voted to add picnic tables and benches. Last year they planted trees, and plan to continue this landscaping. Some seasons ago Tom Sardy did a fine job in getting – and getting paid for – a power mower with which to keep the Park in presentable condition. … Before that time the then active Masque and Music Club graded, hauled off stones and planted grass on the area. Should we sell it now? …All this, it is said, is suggested in an effort to raise $8,000 for improvements on the Armory Hall. Careful consideration should be given to moves like these suggestions indicate, for once the properties are sold, and the need of them is keenly felt, how then could we get them back or any comparable properties?Aspen’s first suburb, in 1956 noted as the Castle Creek Sub-division, now named Cemetery Lane and Snowbunny, was growing out of the Marolt Ranch.Three young men of Aspen – three instructors in the Aspen Ski School – three who wanted to buy a single lot in the City to build their homes, but each time they located any plot of land which seemed desirable, the owner would not sell one lot – take the whole thing or nothing. The three? Roy Vroom, Charles Hightower, and Jack McTarnaghan.What to do, where to look for land or lots. Out of this grew a partnership formed for the purpose of buying land, selling enough of it so that the three partners could get building sites for themselves without great cost – if any.In April 1954 they found the location they were looking for and purchased from Mike Marolt the plot of land described earlier. This they surveyed and plotted into fourteen building sites. … Each of these plots runs from the County road to the creek – with about an acre of this sloping land for each site. As the land drops off toward the creek it becomes heavily wooded – aspen trees in abundance.

Fifteen miners died in a methane gas explosion 7,200 feet inside the Dutch Creek Mine (see The Aspen Times, April 14, 2006, and the Aspen Times Weekly, April 16, 2006, page 13), operated by Mid-Continent Coal and Coke Company. It was announced an investigation would ensue, and a memorial plaque would be erected. Pitkin County Commissioners voted Monday to erect a permanent plaque to honor the 15 miners who died in an undergound explosion at the Dutch Creek Mine Number One in Redstone April 15. …Mark Fuller proposed a benefit party or concert, and county officials indicated a willingness to participate in such an event. …The plaque was proposed by Commissioner Helen Klanderud, and unanimously approved. Several funds have been established to assist the miners’ families.In Aspen, the Aspen Chamber of Commerce created the Coal Miners’ Trust Fund for the benefit of the families.Both of Jerome Wheeler’s landmarks, built in the 1880s, were about to undergo transformation in the 1980s. The Wheeler Opera House would close in autumn 1981 for major renovations, and the Hotel Jerome (see photo) was in the approval process in April 1981 for a major expansion. The paper reported, Work may begin next season on an expansion of the Jerome Hotel that would triple the capacity of the present facility as a result of a conditional approval voted by the Aspen City Council Monday night.Thought the council attached seven conditions to the approval, hotel vice-president Michael Solheim was nonetheless pleased with the council action.”It’s all worthwhile. That (owner John Gilmore) kept at it 11 years in the face of offers to buy is amazing,” Solheim said.The multi-million dollar expansion would add a wing on the north end of the building that would add 76 rooms and four employee units. The present building would be refurbished and the present 37 rooms reduced to 34.

What goes around comes around; the paper reported,As expected, Aspen’s city council adopted a six-month moratorium on moving or demolishing historic structures during a continued regular meeting Friday noon.The measure had been suggested at the regular council meeting as a better means of satisfying petitioners than their proposed amendment to the residential bonus overlay ordinance. …[I]t was pointed out that requiring review of Victorian structures to be moved or demolished under the bonus overlay law would not cover all cases as the petitioners would like.They explained they would like review by the historic preservation committee before any structures listed on the historic inventory are moved or demolished.A temporary moratorium was suggested by Mayor Herman Edel in order to give the planning office and city attorney time to prepare a zoning amendment which would better achieve the ends desired by the petitioners.

Win, show and place in the state population race have been consistent on the Western Slope during the last 25 years. The paper noted,Aspen and Pitkin County have grown faster than the State of Colorado in the decade between censuses, but not as fast as Eagle County and Vail.According to figures recently released by the census bureau. The population of Pitkin county after all the 1980 counts and recounts were completed was 10,338.This was an increase of 67 percent from the 6,185 population certified by the 1970 census and well above the 30.7 percent growth for the state as a whole.However, the 1980 count for Eagle County was 13,171 people, an increase of 75.7 percent over the 7,498 reported in 1970.Population certified for the City of Aspen by the 1980 census was 3,678, an increase of 53 percent from the 2,404 certified in 1970.In Vail, the census bureau reported there were 2,261 people in 1980 and only 484 in 1970, an increase of over 367 percent.

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