25-50-100 years ago
September 5, 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.One hundred years ago there was concern for the health of our forests. “How the Railroads Eat Up Our Forests,” an article from Outing magazine , was reprinted in the paper.Vast as is our production of the forests of the Pacific northwest, the annual cut amounts in broad measure to only twice as much as the annual consumption of timber for railroad ties alone in the United States. About 200 railroad ties is the average yield of forest per acre, and to replace the worn out ties and lay new track for one year, means the stripping of one-half million acres of American forest. Bridge timbers, telegraph poles, etc. swell this demand to a million acres of forest cut down each year to maintain American railroads.
Autumn is also football season, and the paper noted, The high school football team [see photo] was organized Wednesday night for the season. Jim Kenney was elected manager, Paul Caley treasurer, William Sheehan captain, Professor Hoskins coach. The boys started in to practice last evening and expect to be ready to give a number of good games this fall.The newspaper tallied the 1906 school rolls for its readers:Yesterday morning the school bells called out 771 pupils to our city schools. The number entered in the grades was 646 and in the high school 125. The number in the grades was divided as follows: First 95, second 84, third 91, fourth 102, fifth 98, sixth 52, seventh 75, eighth 49.The number of pupils enrolled at St. Mary’s Catholic school was 154.Another Aspen citizen entered the state political arena, the paper reported,In the completing of the state Democratic ticket at the convention in Denver Thursday, Aspen’s own Ben Kobey, a prominent member of the Kobey Shoe and Clothing Company and one of the most esteemed and estimable citizens, was nominated as one of the regents of the state universities. No better man could have been selected. Mr. Kobey is an up-to-date enterprising young man and thoroughly in touch with the duties this position would necessarily entail.
A report of a meeting of the Aspen City Council made note of the controversial dismissal of the fire chief (see 25-50-100 Years Ago, Sept. 27) as well as a once-prosperous town falling into disrepair. The marshal was instructed to notify property owners on Bleeker street between Aspen and center streets to repair sidewalks. …The fire committee reported 1,400 feet of hose on the wagon, 1,150 of hose in the station house, 500 feet of hose needed repairing and recommended that no more hose be purchased. The jailer was instructed to get from ex-Fire Chief Smith keys belonging to the jail and fire station. …An old house on the west end of Bleeker street was condemned.The windows and doors of the old house, 205 West Hyman, were reported out. The marshal was instructed to notify [the] owner to board up the openings.The marshal was instructed to consult [the] city attorney before issuing licenses to peddlers.Recess taken until next Monday evening.
Aspen’s unsanitary, aged and privately owned water system continued to fill the pages and editorials of The Aspen Times.Negotiations between the City Council and Fred Hendy, owner of the Aspen Water Co., failed almost before they began last Tuesday, Sept. 11, when Hendy refused to consider any offer less than $150,000 for his system and water rights. … His evaluation of $155,000 was $100,000 higher than the $55,000 value place on the system by [engineer Dale] Rea.Hendy stated that if negotiations with the city failed he would withdraw from the Pitkin County Water Protection Association and look into selling his water rights to the Eastern Slope. At this assembly Rea explained … [the] high cost of obtaining necessary water rights on Hunter Creek made it advisable for the city to adopt the plan utilizing Castle and Maroon creeks.This plan had the advantage of being the cheapest of the four systems outlined. Other advantages were adequate water supply for all future needs, an adequate storage site, availability of city owned rights of way and flumes, maintenance of which could be shared with the power company. …”If [Hendy] does not accept this offer,” Rea explained, “the city should begin construction on their own Castle-Maroon Creek system to meet the State Board of Health’s requirements. If the Aspen Water Co. should fight this action, the City should let it initiate court action and present proof why the City should cease.”In an editorial Bil Dunaway urged the City Council to do the right thing.Last week four people [in Missouri] died of typhoid fever. Others were in danger. Two hundred more had been ill from diarrhea. All had attended a camp meeting where unsafe water was used. …Our water is also unsafe. Like the water at the well near Neosho, Mo., it too showed an unacceptable percentage of coliform bacteria for the month of July. Luckily no epidemics resulted here.After years of inactivity and repeated refusals by the privately owned water company to alleviate the situation, the City Council has acted. A feasibility report was authorized last July, a week before state authorities issued an ultimatum giving the city until December to show improved plans. As expected, existing facilities were listed as nearly worthless. The city was advised to “start from scratch” and build an acceptable water system. Only a few hundred feet of pipe was found adequate for continued use. …Fortunately for the city, it does not have to pay Mr. Hendy’s price. It does not need to employ the taxpayers’ money to increase his profits. It is not forced to purchase the Aspen Water Co. or its facilities. …
In our capitalistic system an entrepreneur must stand or fall by his own decisions. Mr. Hendy decided to purchase the water company. He had an opportunity to cooperate with the state and attempt to bring his property up to the minimum requirements of the law. He will also have an opportunity to sell his facilities to the city at a just price.He refused to do the one. If he persists in refusing to do the other, the city cannot hesitate: it must finance and build a water system of its own.One entrepreneur was capitalizing on the situation, according to this full-page advertisement,Friends in Aspen:It is time to do something about the Aspen water problem. Let’s get our domestic water supply voted on, financed and constructed.Aspen is noted for pure powder snow, pure fresh air – let’s have pure water.BOTTLED PURE SPRING WATERMILL IRON RANCHES Phone 3893Another red flag was hoisted concerning Aspen’s water and sanitation system, as the paper reported,
Raw sewage overflowing a lodge cesspool on the outskirts of Aspen city was the subject of a letter of complaint to the State Department of Public Health it was learned yesterday by The Aspen Times.The cesspool, which has overflowed periodically for a period of four years, is located across the road from the base of the chairlift. The complaint was lodged by Howard Awrey, owner of the Chairlift [sic] Chalet, which faces the sewage covered area. …Although complaints have been lodged with the Pitkin County Commissioners, the county medical authorities and the State Department of Public Health, the situation has not been alleviated, he maintains. The Sept. 13, 1956, edition on The Aspen Times introduced a new column, Talk of the Times, to its readers. Columnist Peggy Clifford (see photo), who wrote hard-hitting opinion pieces about the community for nearly 20 years, presented her mission statement.Herewith we begin a series of weekly columns on things which go on around here. It will be entirely opinionated and biased, because we will be expressing personal ideas about things. Whenever someone does that it’s bound to be opinionated. It may be highly controversial one week and entirely inconsequential the next. It may even be humorous sometimes. All of that depends entirely on what’s happening in Aspen and how we feel about it.
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An over-the-top offseason event was the Art Cart Derby, benefiting the Visual Arts Center (today’s Aspen Art Museum). Andy Stone reported,Amid a cheerful mixture of confusion, disaster, protest and celebration, the Fedaykin Death Bat [see photo] rolled off with a prize that some touted as first overall in last Sunday’s Second Annual Art Cart Derby, while the vaunted Aspen Times entry [see photo] captured the title of quickest cart for the second year in a row.With over 30 carts on hand for the gravity-powered competition and crowds estimated at over 3,000 lining both sides of the Aspen Street course, the event was judges an unquestioned (if slightly disorganized) success – especially regarding the fundraising aspects, with the sponsoring Visual Arts Center netting nearly $5,000 (up from less than $10 last year). The Death bat – designed and driven by local artist Michael Cleverly and built by Cleverly with assistance from Andy Stone, Steve Malone, Greg Ochocki and the rest of the Fedaykin Death Commandos – was awarded first place in the Most Outrageous and Most Imaginative categories and scored enough points in the remaining categories to take first overall in the Calcutta scoring.No protest were registered over the fact that those points were awarded by judges who were wearing Fedaykin Racing Team T-shirts inscribed “Corrupt Judge.” …The Times cart suffered from brake problems, with driver Bil “Runaway” Dunaway overshooting the finish area, pulling to a halt just short of Main Street (the finish line was at Cooper Avenue) …When the Stoli Bottle [cart] -with [artist Dick] Carter at the wheel – crashed, it damaged both of its front wheels and, while attempting to straighten the bent wheels, crew members looked up to find two spectators standing nearby with bicycles by their sides. The crew begged the onlookers to lend them two wheels for the next race, but the spectators were in no way interested.A few minutes later an enormous fudgesicle (driven, as fate would have it, by Carter’s son, Carter Carter) crashed at the exact same spot, crushing those very same two bikes. (Had it been a creamsicle, we could say it creamed the two bikes, but that would be fudging it.)Innkeeper Howard Awrey, who complained 50 years earlier about an overflowing cesspool, made an appearance before the Historic Preservation Committee. The paper noted, Long known for its no-nonsense hamburgers and steaks, the Skiers’ Chalet and Steakhouse may get a new image and the status symbol of historic designation. …Skier Chalet owner Howard Awrey requested an additional 1,100 total square feet to the existing building and historic designation. …The present historic area includes the old Lift One towers and chairs, the boat tow and bull wheels.Awrey commented that although the Skier’s Chalet was built in 1953, it was an integral part of Aspen’s early skiing days and therefore had historic significance.