25-50-100 years ago
Copies of The Aspen Times from October 1903 until 1911 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. To continue our journalistic history of Aspen, we include excerpts from The Aspen Democrat, the Times’ competitor 100 years ago.The Aspen Democrat published two reports of elevator adventure (see photo) in the same issue. There were wild times in the Burns shaft on Aspen mountain yesterday and a great deal of excitement was occasioned for a time, but fortunately no accident occurred.L.S. Taylor, the day engineer, became suddenly afflicted with mental aberration and ran the cage up and down a number of times without making any stops.Just what would have happened if there had been any men in the cage when Taylor was seized with his spell is problematical. Fortunately the cage was empty. The cage tender quickly realized that something was the matter, as the cage sped up and down in a meaningless manner, without making any stops at any of the levels. He climbed up the ladder and put a stop to the pranks of the cage by relieving the engineer.Hannibal Brown had a peculiar and rather interesting experience Tuesday evening at the hotel [Jerome]. Since the recent management has taken charge, the elevator is kept in order to carry freight up and down from one floor to the other. Hannibal decided to take a ride but he could not stop the elevator at the jumping off place but was carried clear to the top, and in order to get out had to come down between the cage and the wall and as a result Hannibal’s shins were badly barked. John Neeley was a companion of Hannibal’s but the conditions of his shins is not known.
“A Revolting Crime” was the headline on the breaking article of a story the paper followed with daily reports and editorial outrage.Bert Pokinghorn and James McKenna, two young men of this city, who lay claim to respectability and have moved in decent society, were arrested last night by Under Sheriff Con O’Neill for a crime which will probably land them in the penitentiary if proven guilty. The complaint was sworn out in Judge Bradley’s court by the father of one of two girls who are involved in the affair. One of the girls is only 14 years old and the other is only 16 years. The details of the affair are unprintable. …Pokinghorn is 22 years of age and McKenna 26 years old. There is too much of this sort of thing going on in Aspen and it is time that a stop was being put to crimes of this character. The law does protect the children of Colorado from being debauched, in theory, but in fact there are too many young bloods moving in society which they disgrace, preying upon girlhood and childhood with impunity.Under a notice stating that Pokinghorn and McKenna “were bound over to the district court by ‘Justice’ Bradley yesterday in the sum of $500 for a statutory offense with a girl of 14 years. Neither defendant went upon the stand and no defense was offered,” the paper reported in gonzo style, What a farce it all was!I wonder if I can give you any adequate hint of the spectacle that was presented in Justice Bradley’s courtroom yesterday. “Justice” Bradley! The very name is a travesty on justice.A dingy little courtroom littered with law books and other trash. An unmade couch at one side. A couple of little tables in the center. Two young bucks sitting beside their counsel, charged with hideous desecration of the holiest thing in this world. A father, a mother and a daughter, bowed in shame. A lawyer beside one of the defendants, “defending” him. A lawyer beside the other “Defending” him. They were there, not to guard the legal rights of the defendants merely, not to see that the state took no unfair advantage of the defendants in this indignation at the crime that had been alleged to have been committed did not swerve to the side of harshness. But to throw around these defendants all the quibbles and technicalities, all the tricks and traps of the law, to get their clients “out of the scrape,” and they performed their malodorous duty to the best of their ability.
A new, wide movie screen was installed in the Isis Theatre (see photos). The paper reported,The new screen is 29 feet wide by 12.6 feet high, whereas the old one was approximately 14 feet square. Three new sets of lens on the projector will show standard, wide angle and CinemaScope. Screen lens and major changes on the projector make the Isis shows as good as any theatre in the country. And at a price that is as low or lower than any theatre showing comparable quality films. Mr. [James] Parsons and his staff are to be congratulated on this superb modernization program.With the Isis’ upgrades, the first movie in CinemaScope was screened in Aspen. The paper gave an enthusiastic review.Magnificent is the word for it. The most important and exciting advance in the history of motion pictures since the advent of sound, CinemaScope, has been flawlessly matched with the most powerful and moving story written in our times, “The Robe.” The result, which Twentieth Century Fox and the Isis Theatre brought Aspen today, is the outstanding entertainment achievement of our lifetime. … The new dimension holds no bounds, for with it the eye is as free in the theatre as it is in real life. The process is as flexible as it is lifelike. Truly, now all the world’s a stage.
Front-page-news stories reported March visits by Midwesterners, a connection that has remained strong with Aspen today.One of the fine groups of skiers enjoying warm days and plenty of snow this week is the Chicago Weak-Enders on a ski vacation under the direction of Mr. Meritt Cook, owner and director of Cook’s Sportcraft Co., headquarters for skiers in the Chicago area.Altogether there are 30 in the group that will stay until Saturday and return by the way of Rio Grande and Burlington to their homes in and near Chicago.Skiers from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois spotted Ajax Mountain everywhere this week. Axy Axtmann’s count list in “Michigan Skier” was well over 80 Tuesday.Frank Dunham, editor, and Axy Axtmann, associate editor, promoted the Michigan Week at Aspen through their “Michigan Skier” newspaper that has about 8,000 circulation in their 4-state area.Axy made a promise to Aspen that an occasional splash of Aspen advertising in the Michigan Skier will double the number of Midwest visitors to Aspen this next winter.
It was the end of the ride 25 years ago as a group of small, funky retail shops housed in A-frames, fondly known as the Aspen A’s (see photo), made way for the development of the Ajax Mountain Building. The Aspen Times reported,Will it be the end of an era when the Aspen A’s bite the dust this spring?Or will it be the end of an eyesore and a progressive step for Aspen? …Jerry Long, owner of the General Store, says, “It’s like the end of a slum. I’m glad they’re going to renovate this block, and I’m glad to be out of it. This block has been an eyesore for years, and the new plans look beautiful. We can’t look back to the good old days. This is the present, and change is what it’s all about.” …Eyes flashing, Burger Brothers co-owner Lee Robinson rages, “I think it’s terrible. It’s a shame landlords in town make it impossible for a small business. This was the last place we could make a go of it. And I can’t help thinking Aspen is becoming more and more a town for just the super rich.”[Robinson’s] anger and disillusionment are shared by Donie Hubbard at Chip Chip Hooray Cookie Company. “I don’t know where to go,” she laments. “And I’m afraid to open my mouth about this whole situation, because I might get carried away with my feelings.”The 1980 version of Base Village was presented at a public hearing in Snowmass.
Jim Chaffin and Jim Light, general partners in the Snowmass Company, presented the proposed [West Village Expansion]. A proposed six story hotel to be located at the base of Fanny Hill drew considerable discussion from the floor.Several locals suggested that the hotel complex be scaled down so it would not interfere with views.Snowmass resident Harry Truscott told the Aspen Times the hotel complex appeared to block three-fourths of the view of Fanny Hill for motorists traveling up the Brush Creek Rd.The West Village plan calls for the development of the 375 to 450 room hotel in addition to 150 condominium units, 37,500 sq ft of commercial space and underground parking for 400 cars at the base village area.Truscott addressed the issue of employee housing. He claimed the number of employee units proposed with the plan are less than the number required by developers. …Another area of concern at the meeting was how to alleviate skier congestion on the mountain, which would be generated by the expansion.The birth of a Woody Creek institution was announced in the paper.
County Commissioners will hear a proposal April 15 to turn the old Woody Creek store into a tavernMembers of the Woody Creek Caucus recently voted 25 to 8 for the idea.The tavern would be a neighborhood meeting place with short hours, according to George Stranahan, who would run it along with Jon Kent.Rancher Stanley Natal was opposed to the idea, and some residents of the nearby trailer park also expressed concern.
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