25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton

Rancher Harry Barnes hoped for a break in the weather in 1906 to move his herd from the Roaring Fork Valley over Taylor Pass, above, to Hotchkiss for the winter. (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.Rocky Mountain weather can pull some surprise punches this time of year, as the paper reported,Snow, wind and freezing weather has extended over nearly all the west during the past forty-eight hours, causing serious damage to livestock, fruit crops, sugar beets, electric and telephone wires, and railroad systems. The storm [was] almost unprecedented for severity at this time of year and has caused heavy losses.One ranchman from Woody reports seven acres of potatoes under the snow undug. He and others similarly situated will be fortunate indeed if the weather is such that their crops may yet be saved.

As soon as the weather moderates a little, Harry Barnes will send his herd of cattle over Taylor range {see photo] and on to his ranch near Hotchkiss. Remnants of the Wild West were still evident 100 years ago from this Leadville wire story.The failure of their pals to understand orders frustrated the Denver & Rio Grande limited No. 5 westbound passenger train by five masked men at Leadville junction last night. The bandits dynamited the express car but failed to open the safe, and secured only $50, which had been laid out for locals stations between here and Salt Lake. The safe is said to have contained $100,000 in cash and bullion, although the company says it only carried a small sum. There were five men in the gang, and it is believed they were mounted. …[The bandits, out of sight of] the train crew, crawled up on the tender of the engine and when Leadville Junction was reached further up the valley, they crawled over the tender. They covered Engineer William Campbell and Fireman D.W. Brown with revolvers ordering them to stop the train. …The bandits then ordered the engine men to uncouple the express car from the passenger coaches and this they did while under the cover of the weapons of the men.The outlaws then ordered Engineer Campbell to open the throttle and pull up the valley with the express car. It was evidently the plan of the bandits to get sufficiently far enough away to enable them to do a good job. Fortunately while the engine and express car were passing Kildare siding, an eastbound freight train happened to be there waiting for the No. 5 to pass.The conductor saw the engine and express going up the track and suspected something was wrong. He immediately went to the telegraph instrument at the siding and notified General Agent F.M. Brown of [Leadville].The engine and express car were stopped at the orders of the robbers about a mile above Kildare, and the bandits ordered the two engine men to climb down and march ahead of them to the express car.Then they compelled them to open the express car door telling the messenger that the engineer and fireman would be instantly killed if he made any attempt at resistance.

The messenger was ordered to climb down and the three trainmen were then lined up and covered by one bandit while the other entered the car with a stick of dynamite. He made an attempt to blow up the safe but was only partially successful and as near as can be ascertained, $50 was secured. Owing to the prompt action of the conductor of the freight train, another engine came steaming full speed up the track from Malta, and when the two robbers heard the oncoming train they promptly disappeared in the darkness.In the meantime, the sheriff’s office had been notified and a posse of eleven men is now in pursuit of the bandits.Two nights ago it was learned here two men answering the description of the robbers dynamited a safe in Summit county.

The general election was only weeks away, and Aspen, a stop on the state campaign trail, was promised the world with paved access (see photos).”I was instrumental in obtaining an auto road over Independence Pass, and if elected to the State Senate will do everything in my power to have the present road paved and kept open in the winter,” promised candidate Walter O’Brien during a recent Aspen visit.O’Brien, in town to campaign for the State Senate, made the statement while meeting voters in Aspen last week. A resident of Leadville, O’Brien is running on the Democratic ticket.Although not a representative from his district in the early 1920s when Aspen residents were agitating for an auto road over Independence Pass, O’Brien claims he accompanied Frank Bruinn and Mansor Elisha to present their demands to Major Blauvelt, state highway engineer.Through his efforts, the senatorial candidate maintains state authorities agreed to survey a roadbed and let out contracts for the construction same year.”I am proud of my efforts in behalf of the Independence Pass Road,” O’Brien said. “If elected, I will do everything possible to have the state pave the road and keep it open in winter. This would certainly help the already great winter business Aspen enjoys.”After recently winning one battle, The Aspen Times alerted its readers that the war was not yet won. Rep. J. Edgar Chenoweth (R) of Trinidad told an audience in Colorado Springs Sunday that President Eisenhower will back the Frying Pan-Arkansas water diversion project in the 1957 session of Congress.Chenoweth, seeking re-election in Colorado’s 3rd congressional district, said Eisenhower leaned toward him in Denver and said:”You tell them we’re going to try the Frying Pan again.”The $156 million reclamation project died in the U.S. House of Representatives in the final days of the session this fall for the second time, although it had Ike’s blessing.Failure of the Frying Pan to pass has become a major election issue in the drought-harried Southern Colorado. Opposition to the bill is also a major issue in Pitkin County where residents feel that there is not adequate water for diversion.

Building a ski lift was a do-it-and-ask-later process 50 years ago, as the paper noted,Meeting in special session last Monday, Oct. 22, the City Council decided to again request the Aspen Skiing Corporation to provide off-street parking facilities for the new chairlift on Little Nell [see photo]. …Possible action to be taken in case of refusal to comply with the city’s request were also discussed. It was pointed out that one of the lift towers had been erected without authorization on a city street and could be ordered removed.It was also pointed out during the discussion that, contrary to city ordinance, no building permit had been obtained by the corporation for construction of the lift. The aldermen also cited the fact that the new zoning ordinance required off-street parking facilities for all new tourist or commercial buildings. Whether this zoning ordinance would apply to the chairlift was not decided.

The Skico was confident of good conditions for the early winter skiing, as the paper announced,The Aspen Skiing Co.’s December guarantee is looking better and better as the early snows pile up on top of the mountains and creep down the slopes toward town. …Any vacationer scheduling an Aspen ski trip from Nov. 26 to Dec. 19 can buy a package plan that includes seven nights lodging in participating facilities, a six out of seven three-area lift ticket and a guarantee card.Should the measured snow depth at midmountain be less than an average of 12 inches, the guarantee card will entitle the skier to free skiing. The participating lodges will also refund the daily room rate if less than 50 percent of the scheduled lifts are operating any day during the plan’s designated season. The water war between the Western Slope and the Front Range (see 1956) was again in the news; an effort at reconciliation was under way, the paper reported. Growing conflict between Western Slope and Front Range officials over proposed transmountain water diversions have caused Gov. Richard Lamm to call the warring parties together in attempt to mediate the problem. … [A] panel, chaired by Lamm, is to meet in closed session for the first time tomorrow in Denver. Among issues to be discussed is the Denver Water Board’s plans to increase the transmountain diversions from 541,000 acre-feet in 1975 to 1,143,900 acre-feet by 1995, as revealed by the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments. …Convening the panel is an effort to stem growing litigation both by and against the Denver Water Board, especially involving the Eagle-Piney Project and the East Gore Canal, both at the headwaters of the Colorado River. …

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Last spring, the Denver Water Board reportedly planned to seek the first presidential exemption under the 1964 Wilderness Act.In addition, the Denver Water Board is suing Eagle County because the county has established local regulations against transmountain diversions.The Aspen High School girls volleyball team was on a roll, wrote reporter Mick Ireland, After the team’s weekend thrashing of Battle Mountain, coaches Leon Fell and Bonnie Maddalone feel the Aspen volleyball team deserves its No. 1 rating in the state.Aspen trounced Battle Mountain 15-6, 15-11 Saturday before a standing-room-only crowd at Aspen High to clinch the Northwest League championship and a spot on the postseason playoffs. …Almost everyone who played for Aspen was involved in one or more impressive plays including a total of 17 “digs” of Battle Mountain spikes, that is retrievals of hard spikes by the back row.The digs and blocking along with Aspen’s usual strong hitting led Fell to assess the effort as “the best volleyball this team’s played all year.”With the Skiers at what appears to be the peak of the team’s game, the coaches now hope to maintain that form through the league playoffs in Glenwood Saturday. At stake in the league tournament for Aspen is a home game advantage for the district playoff for a berth in the state tournament.