25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton

Doings at the Tri-County Fair, held in early October 1906 at the Aspen Meadows, filled the newspaper's front page for a week. (Horsethief Kelly/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.The paper’s headline exclaimed, “Decorate Your Homes and Smile and Push the Fair.” The “City of Tents” [see photo] is now ready for occupation and the Fair association will move out today and prepare for the reception of the people.To make the fair as attractive as possible everybody who has anything at all to exhibit is earnestly requested to bring it to the fair grounds today. All week the front page hawked the fair,

Today is the day for the opening of the big Tri-County Fair. …As you approach the grounds, the gleaming white tents, topped by the good-sized flag floating finely in the breeze, one begins to feel the thrill of pleasurable anticipation bounding through his veins.After you pass the entrance and gain the grounds, the view broadens and you can readily see it is going to be a truly big affair with lots to see and lots to interest and amuse. The first big tent on the north as you enter the gate down by the stables, is for the livestock. … There will also be a big display of vegetables and flowers from Pitkin county’s nurseries and hothouses. …Next to the livestock tent comes a small private tent where James McEvoy will have his cigar factory and show just how they are made. Then comes another small tent with [an] addition which is to be the lunch room where everything good to be had can be secured at reasonable prices. … Next to the lunch room operated by the ladies comes the Farm Produce. You never saw such big squashes, cabbages, fine turnips, garden vegetables, corn, etc. in all your days. Next comes the horticultural tent. Here is where you will see a most tempting exhibit. Luscious apples, pears, peaches, plums and everything that looks good.Next in order is the hospital tent with its double awning. This is in charge of Mrs. Stanley Watt and is a fully equipped hospital in case of accidents. Two clean white cots, stove, revolving washbowls, instruments, drugs stretcher, everything spotlessly clean and ready in case of an emergency. …The mining exhibits are not so many, and for a mining town like Aspen, greatly to be regretted. Our chief home industry should not be overlooked or slighted. Two or three good entries in this line have been made, but there are so many men in the camp who have beautiful specimens and some of them good-sized cabinets, that it seems a pity that more entries have not been made. …One thing that the fair management deserves great credit for is the fact that there will be no liquor sold on the ground and there will be no gambling of any kind. This is as it should be and a fine record for Aspen.Yesterday morning the ground was covered with snow and the sky threatened to pour down more of the unwelcome precipitation. But as the hour for opening arrived the sun gradually popped out, the snow disappeared and the afternoon was fairly pleasant, if not all that could have been wished.The management was not disappointed in their expectations of the biggest gathering of people ever seen at the driving park. Ten coaches arrived during the morning hours, bringing approximately a thousand people from down the valley. …Aspen and Pitkin county has an especial interest in the success of the first fair in the county and hence feels grateful to our neighboring counties for the large crowd and many additional entries made yesterday.And the fair is over.It was a success in every department. This is the statement of our people, and what is better still, it is the statement of all our visitors and co-workers from the other counties in this fair district.In future, Pitkin county may be depended upon to take its place as one of the foremost agricultural and stock-raising counties in the state and to hold other and better fairs in the future when opportunity offers. We are proud of our first effort.

Editor Dunaway claimed Aspen was victim to federal gobbledygook regarding a defeated-but-still-on-the back-burner water diversion project (see photo),Indirectly, Aspen has experienced some rare Washington gobbledygook recently. An innocuous release to the Aspen Times announced two weeks ago that Reclamation Commissioner Wilbur Dexheimer would be in Aspen on Sept. 25 to look over the proposed site of the Fryingpan-Arkansas diversion storage reservoir above Aspen [North Star Preserve]. According to the release, Dexheimer, who was touring areas to be affected by the controversial project, was also planning to talk to people in the affected areas to get their views on the subject. …At about 5 p.m., one of the aides came into the Aspen Times office to let us know that Mr. Dexheimer was in town. When asked if they were going to contact local officials, the aide said that if Aspen people wanted to see Mr. Dexheimer, they could come and talk to him, but he wasn’t going to get in touch with them. Finally the Times got Dexheimer, County Commissioner Orest Gerbaz and attorney Clint Stewart together for a talk. The next morning, Dexheimer and group left for the Eastern Slope and planned meetings with interested people there. The Commissioner had some very strong things to say to the pro-Diversion folks about Aspen’s attitude. Among other things, he said he was convinced that most people in the Aspen area were in favor of diversion, but were afraid to say so. …Dexheimer chose to look over the reservoir site by himself, rather than in the company of interested Aspenites. … He didn’t bother to send advance word, he didn’t bother to contact them when he was here. They had to seek him out. Apparently, then, Mr. Dexheimer was primarily interested in hearing only what declared backers of the bill had to say. …The relative merits or demerits of the Fryingpan project – a dead bill – have, by Mr. Dexheimer’s actions, become completely obscured in political gobbledygook. It is unfortunate that a $156 million bill can become the plaything of special interest groups.

Pieces were moving again on the never-ending Highway 82 game, as the paper reported,

County Manager Curt Stewart and County Engineer Pat Dobie told commissioners recently that the chances of moving Highway 82 to the west and south of the airport may have improved since the Basalt bypass plan has been dropped.Basalt officials decided in August to oppose a bypass as damaging to business. There is some chance, Dobie said, that funds slated for the bypass could be transferred to move 82 in the airport area.Moving 82 to the south of the airport, Dobie said, would be consistent with the board’s feelings about keeping the entrance to Aspen uncluttered, and would eliminate many conflicts along the existing highway.The existing highway would remain as a frontage road providing access to the Airport Business Center.Commissioners decided last week to locate a $5 million bus maintenance facility on a site opposite the airport and west of the Airport Business Center, owned by Elizabeth Paepcke. …At the same time the commissioners authorized purchase of the 10-acre site, they agreed to put commercial and industrial projects under the growth management plan so that land between the Airport Business Center and the maintenance facility does not quickly develop.One of the most popular people-watching corners in downtown Aspen was conceived 25 years ago. The paper noted,

The subject of heated debate for years has been what to do with the Sinclair corner at Cooper and Galena. Once among the argued ideas was a performing arts center.Now, the new leaseholders of the so-called “historic disaster” are considering plans to convert the hodgepodge of businesses into a cookie eater’s paradise.The plan to convert the present Exxon station, ice creamery, and T-shirt sales was presented at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission. …Proposing the Paradise exhibition bakery were leaseholders Ted Davis and Dan Patterson. (Four other such bakeries are in operation across the country, mostly in California.) …The existing gas pumps and the popcorn wagon would be unaffected by the proposed plans.Shown in the drawing was a one-story building with signed awnings. The building would incorporate a walk-through bakery with additional sidewalk service, a cafe, and retail space for T-shirts.A new business was announced in the paper,Aspen has a long and well-known history as a ski resort, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that it could claim a ski factory as well. In past years the resort has been home to many ski instructors, ski marketers, importers, wholesalers and even ski-manufacturing firms, but the new factory at the Airport Business center is believed to be a first.Called Phoenix Ski Corporation, Ltd., the firm is a limited partnership launched last spring by Jay Lussan and Allan Burnham, both Aspenites for the past several years. …

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Lussan explained, “We hope that our skis rise again from the ashes of Trucker [ski], which Burnham helped design and I helped market, and to which we were both emotionally attached.” …Plans call for the ski factory to turn out two models in four sizes of the new Phoenix, one with continuous steel edges and the other with full-length cracked steel edges. Designed primarily for backcountry skiing, the cracked-edge model will be called Wilderness, while the ski with the continuous edge is designed for packed slope turns and carries the Racing series name. …Although the market for Phoenix skis will be national, even worldwide in time, in the first year the company will concentrate on sales in the Rocky Mountain region and will be primarily directed to consumer sales, continued Lussan.