25-50-100 years ago
July 23, 2006
Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1906 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.When we drink a glass of water today, we don’t consider whether the water is clean. It should have been a consideration 100 years ago, as the paper reportedThere have been over 600 cases of typhoid fever along the Arkansas river within the last month. September and October are the two worst months for the spread of the disease. The cause for the hundreds laying ill from the dread typhoid is that the towns on the river have inadequate and unhealthy water supplies, and people are obliged to drink the water from the irrigation ditches. The water is not like that in the mountain districts and is full of disease. The ranchmen and their families drink it without stopping to think of or consider the many hundreds of germs that abound in each mouthful.
Editor Cap Dailey had a couple of axes he continued to grind. One was getting a road built off Independence Pass into Lincoln Gulch.Rich Ennis, one of Aspen’s most prominent mill men, returned to the city yesterday from the Ruby [see photo] mine at Lincoln gulch, where he has been for several days making the plans for the erection of a mill to treat the ore of the Ruby. And still we can’t get the state to build the road for which the money has already been appropriated. The paper noted that several gentlewomen decided It was time to take matters into their own hands.Many of the ladies on the mesa, who have been frightened during the past two weeks or so by nightly prowlers, have become quite expert in the use of firearms. It is said all the tomato cans in the alleys have been used for targets and the ladies are now prepared to make it interesting for the next prowler that is seen nosing around at unseemly hours.”Boys, You Must Stop It,” insisted the headline to this story.
Last evening two young boys [see photo] were discovered endeavoring to throw lighted matches through the upper windows of the vacant store building on Mill street. They were busy the entire block between Hopkins and Main. One lighted match was thrown on top of the building next to Silvius’ feed store. The Democrat believes that if these same boys were compelled to sit on a bunch of lighted matches for a time it would appeal to them as nothing else could. Some of our “noble boys” [see photo] stand sorely in need of considerable ennobling.While we are about it, we may as well call the attention of the authorities to the indiscriminate discharging of firearms in the residence districts of the city. Of course, the boys must be permitted to amuse themselves but not in such a manner as to endanger the lives and property of those who do not care to be amused in that matter. An ore-seam fire can burn for decades, as the paper reported,About 10 o’clock Thursday night a fire was discovered at the north end of the fifth level of the Smuggler mine [see photo]. This new outbreak comes from the old stopes that have been on fire for some time. At the time of the last outbreak of fire, the fifth level had been bulkheaded close to the fire and the miners were put to work on a stope some distance to the south of the bulkhead. Work had continued on this stope until Thursday night when the fire broke through, forcing the men to cease operations on this level. Yesterday a bulkhead was put in which will shut off the gas and smoke from the fire and at the same time will prevent further operations in the stope of this level. However, a drift will be run to cut the ore body behind the stope just abandoned.
Before Mountain Rescue was organized, a group of locals (see photo) responded to backcountry accidents. We are grateful to have this popular citizen with us today. Read on.Ralph Melville, Aspen’s lodge owner who fell while mountain climbing last Sunday, August 5, is recovering rapidly from his injuries and intends to continue with his plans to get married in Pittsburgh, Pa., on August 18.The 31-year-old climber slipped on a steep slope while reconnoitering a descent route on the northwest side of North Maroon Peak and tumbled and bounced for over 300 feet in two different falls. He was accompanied on the climb by Loren Jenkins, 17, and Mary Lou Hayden, 26, both employees of the Copper Kettle restaurant. Melville, who had spent the night on the mountain before being carried down by a group of Aspen men, suffered a fractured jaw, fractured left forearm, torn knee tendon, chipped kneecap, a broken rib and a chipped vertebra as well as multiple lacerations and cuts about his face and body. …The rescue party reached Melville and Miss Hayden [who had climbed to Melville, sheltered him under a cliff and covered him with Jenkins’ extra clothing] at abut 1 a.m. Monday morning. It had been alerted by Jenkins who had gone for help after reaching the base of the mountain.
First group to reach the niche in the rocks where Melville lay consisted of Bob Craig and Shady Lane from Aspen. They were closely followed by Dr. Charles Houston, Werner Kuster, Sepp Kessler, all from Aspen, and David Wilson, an English member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. … [S]everal rescuers slept at the bottom of the snowfall and helped with the evacuation [“with the first light of dawn”]. They included Hal Hartman, Sandy Sabbatini, Chuck Hightower and Charlie Paterson.With Melville in the hospital during his interview with The Aspen Times was his fiancee Marion Headley.Aspen continues to draw the high and the mighty today, as it did yesterday; the Times reported. Two of the world’s great men, a writer, John Dos Passos, and a composer, Darius Milhaud, were reunited briefly in Aspen last week.Now established as classic figures in their respective fields, the two men had not met since the inter-war years in Paris when both were struggling with the creations which would bring them fame. …When asked their impressions of Aspen, both men had praise. “The idea of combining various cultural programs in one beautiful mountain resort is a good one. And having such excellent programs and people as they do here in Aspen makes Aspen the summer cultural capital of the country,,” Milhaud said.”What I have seen of your music and lecture programs makes me want to see more,” Dos Passos added. “I am sorry I cannot stay longer this year, but I hope to return.”
An inveterate chronicler of city and county meetings, editor Bil Dunaway was exasperated. In an editorial, he wrote,The democratic process is ponderous. If you’d like proof, sit in on a meeting of the Pitkin County Commissioners. They meet the second and fourth Monday of every month, usually beginning at 8:30 or 9 in the morning, sometimes talking right through lunch hour.At 4 in the afternoon, they get right up and walk from the courthouse to city hall where they meet jointly with the city council.If you’re really a glutton for punishment, you could stick around for a city council meeting that follows and continues on into the night. Perhaps the oxygen in the meeting rooms is used up by the discussions as the day wears on, leaving the deliberators lightheaded.
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Maybe hunger makes the board dizzy from time to time.Could it be the sense of déjà vu produces vertigo as special review application piles up on special review application?Whatever the reasons, there are times when a visitor dropping into the midst of a meeting would think it a cuckoo’s nest, bedlam.Six conversations at once.”Let’s ask the voters whether they want the sheriff to be elected or appointed. And let’s ask them whether the sheriff’s department ought to be consolidated with the city police department.””Of course, I couldn’t support a consolidated force with an appointed chief.””We’d better ask the questions separately. If the county asks the voters about elected or appointed, the city will ask them about consolidation.””None of us seems to think consolidation is a good idea. Why ask at all?””If the people really want it, they can ask for it by initiative anyhow. If we put it on a ballot they’ll think we want it.”Is it any wonder that members of the board sometimes don’t know what action they took minutes after they took it?
In the case of the ballot question, commissioners decided perhaps they’d better not act at all. Better to hold a series of public meetings and find out what to do that way.No one will ever accuse them of acting too hastily. We’re not sure they even acted.An Aspen family celebrated 100 years in the valley with a party (see photo), the paper reported,In the summer of 1881, Timothy C. Stapleton of Tipperary, Ireland, settled on a ranch in Aspen and last weekend some 80 of his descendants gathered here to celebrate the family’s 100th year in Aspen. … [O]ver 500 friends helped them celebrate at a Centennial Picnic and Dance at the Sam Stapleton Ranch in Owl Creek. …All the ladies brought their favorite dish. Tables under a big tent were heavily laden with food. There was dancing in the hayfield, there were games of horseshoes and volleyball. …There were stories about Timothy C., who brought his family over Taylor Pass in a covered wagon outfit. There were stories about how the original homestead cabin stood where the Aspen Airport buildings now stand … about how Tim and his  children developed a good stock ranch and raised a lot of hay.