25-50-100 years ago
Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1906 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.Good fishing (see photo) was predicted as the paper reported that regional streams were replenished. Yesterday twenty-six cans containing 130,000 minnows were received from the United States Fish Hatchery at Leadville.They were distributed as nearly equal as possible and placed in the various streams in the vicinity of Aspen. Those having the matter in charge were:Messrs. Kaser and Teuscher, Castle creek.Billy Tagert and Harry Williams, Maroon creek.Ed Hart, Roaring Fork.Messrs Clarence Kellogg and Dick Messa, Lincoln gulch. The proprietors of our livery barns are deserving of special mention for their generosity in donating teams to haul the fish to the various points of distribution. …Aspen will remain on the map as headquarters for those who delight to battle with the gamy trout.
Climbers marking their summit is not a new thing, as the paper noted,William Henderson proved his patriotism yesterday when he climbed to the highest point of Red mountain and hosted the Stars and Stripes on the lone pine tree which stands on that point. The flag can be seen with a glass. Mr. Henderson is justly proud of his deed.There was more news about Ted Cooper, his auto and a steep road:For a number of years the wagon road going down past the Butte [see photo] and on down to the Slaughterhouse bridge, being known as the Slaughterhouse hill, has been a tedious drive owing to the steep grade and rocky condition, but its real condition was not fully realized until the automobile reached the city. This road is the worst the auto has to deal with between Aspen and Glenwood and to prevent any accident Mr. F.S. Cooper and son Ted Cooper, with a force of men, are building an entirely new road which will be used instead of the present road. It will run at a less grade, cutting straight from the top of the hill down to the bridge instead of making the curve. The new road will exceed a four per cent grade. … Good roads, that is the slogan now that we have an auto. And it’s a mighty good thing we have the auto, too.
The manufacture of the gold-plated aspen leaves, “made by Fisher and God,” almost did in one of the creators, as the Times reported,Freddie Fisher, Aspen’s jazzman, fix-it man and inventor, is presently recovering from an attack of gas poisoning.Monday morning, Aug. 13, Fisher was working in his Main Street shop when he was nearly overcome by fumes from his leaf plating machine.Built by Fisher, the machine swirls aspen tree leaves in a vat and coats them in metal. Dangerous waste fumes from the gadget were apparently not being taken out of the building.Barely conscious, Fisher got outside the shop and called for help. Several people passed by without noticing him.Finally, he flagged down two people who called Dr. J.S. Baxter and Sheriff Lorian Herwick.Baxter and the sheriff took Fisher to Pitkin County Hospital where he was immediately given oxygen.Aspen was on the Epicurean map as long as 50 years ago.According to a national magazine, Aspen ranks ahead of some of America’s biggest cities for fine restaurants. Two Aspen restaurants were chosen by McCall’s magazine to be part of a list of distinguished eating places.The Copper Kettle at the Four Seasons, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Frere Armstrong, and the Golden Horn Restaurant, run by Mr. and Mrs. Nino Hersig, were included among the top 150 American restaurants. McCall’s announced the list in their July issue and later published a booklet called “U.S. A La Carte” listing the best eating places, as compiled by James A. Beard and Helen McCully.
What is now City Hall was known as the Armory, a place for dances, bowling, roller skating and, incidentally, City Council meetings. The paper reported,The City Council will soon ask for bids to remodel the front part of the Aspen Armory [see photo], it was decided at the last meeting, Monday, Aug. 20.The decision to ask for bids was made following examination of preliminary plans for the project compiled by architect Rob Roy. Work on the project was offered to the city by Roy free of charge.To cost an estimated $3000, the work would include enlarging the two front rooms, changing the front hall arrangement, and lengthening the front windows. New roofing on the south side would also be included.When complete the new rooms will house the office and supply room of the Aspen Electric Company and provide space where utility users may pay their bills. An enlarged meeting space for the City Council is also planned.The headline noted, “Rain Fails to Stop Third Aspen Horse Show” (see photo).Despite very wet weather, the Aspen Riding Club’s annual horse show, Aug. 18 and 19, went off successfully with entries coming from as far away as Grand Junction.Horses owned by Mrs. Whipple Van Ness Jones took three of the four places in the halter class for registered thoroughbreds. Art Pfister’s Bald T and Poke Adair took first and second in the gelding class. …In the children’s halter class, Cherie Gerbaz took first with Trinka, Sandra Smith was second with Moonbeam. …Winner of the Novice jumping class was Hallee Barbee with Sandra Smith, second, and Chuck Thulin, third.Morgan Smith was the big money winner, taking firsts in both the 220-yard dash and the stake race with purses of $15 and $19, respectively. …In the Western Working Stock Horse class, Leonard Horn won, with Bill Fender second, Wayne Vagneur third and Clyde Vagneur fourth. The last event Sunday was obstacle jumping, which took place in the rain. Lou Wille took first and second and George Christiansen was third.
Letters to the editor of The Aspen Times can pack a strong punch.Having read in the paper that someone had opened the Red Onion and that its original character had been preserved, I decided to check the old place out.Though I appreciate the new management’s efforts in trying to make locals feel welcome, I’m sad to say what I found was not the Red Onion but something more like a Pizza Hut with a liquor license.Sincerely, Stefan AlbouyAnother frequent letter writer spoke up for a revered watering hole that had received a sentence of execution. He wrote,
Despite our often fruitless efforts to save this or that institution, it is always necessary to stand up for another campaign. This time we are threatened with the loss of the esteemed Jerome B. Wheeler Public House, i.e. the Pub.For 14 years, the pub, one of the oldest businesses in town, has been serving inexpensive drinks and reasonably priced food to a broad spectrum of people. Over the years it has employed and soothed large numbers of the embattled working class.To the benefit of Aspen’s whole character, it has contributed an element of the rogue mystique. After years of faithful service, the city is ready to toss them out on their ears because they may not conform to the performing arts center theme. … Pub officials have tried to resolve their status with the city. The city’s response has been nothing short of a run-around.They have been good tenants, always conforming to each administration’s code requirements. All they would like is to sit down at the bargaining table and negotiate their fate one way or the other. They deserve their due.Yours in saving the Pub, Tim CooneyThe paper reported on initial efforts to clean up downtown. Twenty-five years later we are trying to restore a “messy vitality.”Wasting no time in tracking down potential detractors of Aspen’s downtown image, the five members of the Commercial Core and Lodging Commission (CCLC) this week targeted street vendors as potential unsightliness in Aspen.If the commission has its way, sidewalk vendors such as jewelry sellers, raft tour companies, booksellers, clothing merchants and others will not be allowed to sell their wares in places where their clients must stand on public rights of way.Igniting the discussion was a comment that Pour La France’s outdoor tables and chairs are encroaching on the sidewalk and impeding pedestrian traffic along Mill Street.The paper reprinted a letter from Pitkin County environmental consultant Mark Fuller. The issues he addressed are issues we are dealing with today on Colorado’s Western Slope.
Legislation now pending before the U.S. Senate could profoundly affect the future of Pitkin County, Western Colorado and the entire Rocky Mountain Region.This legislation is Senate Bill 1484, sponsored by Senator John Warner (R-VA) and it would greatly expand the ability of oil shale developers to lease federal lands for oil shale production and waste disposal.[The legislation] would allow one company to lease up to six eight-square-mile tracts (they are now limited to one); it would allow the Secretary of the Interior to increase the size of any given tract at his discretion; and it would make these additional leases available to new oil-shale developments, as well as those already in place.The effect of this liberalized leasing policy would be a massive concentration of land holdings in the hands of the largest, richest oil companies, and it would pave the way for the realization of the “Exxon scenario” oil shale industry turning out four to eight million barrels of oil per day.The school year was about to begin, and parents learned they had to pony up for more than new school supplies and school clothes. The paper announced, When students return to the Aspen Public Schools on Aug. 31, they will find they can no longer ride the school buses free.A fee of $45 per semester per student will be charges to ride the school buses, and students riding will be provided bus passes. …According to school superintendent Ann Freers, the school board decided to charge for school bus service as part of its cost-savings program.The school district will be short $500,000 in its budget this year. In 1980-81 approximately $183,000 of the district funds supported the transportation system, said Freers, and during the first semester, the bus fees are expected to save the district $22,500.She said under state law it is optional for a school district to provide student transportation.
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