25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton

Note the streetlight hanging from the electric wires above Hyman Avenue. Aspen was the first city in Colorado to be lighted by electricity in 1885. Aspenites were entertained by a speaker who lectured and gave electrical demonstrations in 1906. (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. In 1906 a lecture was often the only evening entertainment on the community calendar. The paper reported,The Presbyterian church was crowded to its fullest capacity last evening to enjoy the entertaining and instructive electrical lecture delivered by so earnest a follower of this unchained power [see photo] as Reno B. Welbourn.Mr. Welbourn is a pleasing speaker and thoroughly demonstrated many of the principles underlying the making and controlling of electricity. He had quite a lot of apparatus with which to work and some of his experiments were not only quite practical but highly amusing in their results, such a one as the early riser for sleepy folks.The wireless telegraphy system demonstration was one of the main features of the evening and proved a most comprehensive and practical one. Regarding the “Citizens Lecture Course,” the paper appealed to its readers, In order to be like all of the live towns of Colorado, to have high class entertainment and lectures at a small cost and to bring the best talent possible to Aspen, a Citizens Lecture Course was inaugurated. The aim was not to make a cent for any individual or organization. The committee, without a cent of remuneration, has spent much time in selecting talent, selling the tickets and handling the attractions. It seems almost certain that the present excellent course (third best in the state) will prove a financial failure. Why? Not on account of the work of the committee, but a lack of interest on the part of the public. The committee is still about $150 behind to meet the call of contracts. Unless there is a rally to the rescue, one of three things will result. 1- not complete the course. 2- committee signing contracts to be made personally liable. 3- no more lecture course for Aspen.

A few days later, the paper relayed a tribute to the Aspen lecture audience.People are free to criticize people who come to Aspen to give shows and entertainments. Few stop to consider what these outside parties say about the people of Aspen. Mr. Williams, who gave the third attraction on the Citizens Lecture Course, complimented the people of Aspen very highly. His next to last appearance was on the Chicago lecture course. He said: “For fine appearance, intelligent appreciation, and close attention, the Aspen audience is equal to that of Chicago.”Colorado was the first state to approve women’s suffrage in a popular election in November 1893 (the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would not pass until 1920). The paper published this alarming wire story from Denver. After being freely permitted to vote and mingle in politics for nearly thirteen years, the women of Colorado are in danger of having their rights to suffrage attacked. Opponents of the system are determined to make a vigorous fight to have the female voter barred from the polls and once more to be placed where her political influence will be confined to the power she may be able to exercise over her husband or other male relatives.It is no longer a secret that the bill for [Colorado] constitutional amendment eliminating equal suffrage will be framed for presentation to the legislature at its coming session.The city pound must have had corrals 100 years ago. According to this public notice,The city pound is still open. All stock found at large will be taken up and impounded.P.F. IRVING, Marshall

The Aspen Ski Corporation announced the opening of the 1956-57 ski season. The paper noted,For the second year in a row the Aspen chairlifts will operate during the Thanksgiving weekend, it was announced last week by officials of the Aspen Ski Corporation.Operation of lifts this year was made possible by a four inch snowfall last Tuesday night, which brought the snow depth on Aspen Mountain to a total of 12 inches below and 24-plus at the top.Although Ski Corp officials do not expect the new double chairlift on Little Nell to be ready to operate by Thanksgiving, they say it will run if work is completed in time. Lifts to be used for skiing during the holidays include the two big chairlifts and the double chairlift serving the summit. Work is now being completed at top speed on the number one big lift.Skiers riding the big chairlift this year will have a smoother ride. During the off season a new cable was installed and the lift chairs were re-attached with a new vulcanizing process to insure smoother, quieter operation. …Work on the newly enlarged Sundeck will not be completed in time to permit its use during the Thanksgiving weekend. This should be completed for opening early in December.Winter was just around the corner, but the paper reported one organization already had its sights on summer 1957.To encourage skiers to think about Aspen in summer, The Music Associates of Aspen will open an office.Located in part of the old Aspen Sports building, the office will be staffed by volunteers and will be open four afternoons a week.

Coffee and Music Festival literature will be offered to passers-by, and pictures of the Aspen artists will be displayed.In addition to spreading the word about music, the office will handle all regular MAA correspondence and business.Yes, there is life after publishing a newspaper, the Times reported, Taking over the manager’s post at the Chamber of Commerce immediately is V.E. Ringle, former Times publisher.Replacing recently resigned Mrs. Ellie Bealmer, Ringle will work at the Chamber office six afternoons a week.He has already been named local official for driver’s license examinations and will be at the Chamber all day every Wednesday to handle that.

Mary Eshbaugh Hayes wrote about the growth of an organization vital to the health of many Aspen’s citizens, and Chris Cassatt contributed a Sal A Mander cartoon strip to illustrate the story.Alcoholics Anoymous (AA) in Aspen is experiencing a new phenomenon.A few years ago the group numbered about six, met once a week and the problem was alcohol.Now Aspen’s AA has from 25 to 40 people attending each meeting, the group meets four times week, and many of the new members are young people in their 20s who have a dual addiction – alcohol and drugs. …”The social life for so many young people in Aspen revolve around the bars,” [two members of AA] said. “The peer pressure to do alcohol and drugs is great. Aspen is a town of beautiful people, and beautiful people hang around the bars. “But now there are some who are seeking out AA because they know they have a problem and want to do something about it.” … They said that many of the young people still do land in the hospital.”But that doesn’t really help,” they insisted. “They get detoxified for three or four days, but once they’re out they go right back to their old ways.”So doctors are now steering the addicted toward treatment centers and then AA.” …”It is a spiritual program, it teaches you to replace your old values with new values of truth, love and understanding,” they said. …”It takes a lot of courage to go to that first meeting,” they said. “We have so much admiration for those who come, because most have gone through hell in their own lives before coming to us.”Oil and gas drilling could be in Aspen’s own backyard, according to this report.The famous Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness is one of eight wilderness areas in the state to be analyzed for possible oil and gas development, according to U.S. Forest Service officials. According to the Wilderness Act of 1964, an oil and gas leases cannot be denied simply because it lies in wilderness. However, if the wildlife, recreation and scenic value of the wilderness areas would be harmed by oil development, then leasing can be denied.

The act allows for oil and gas leasing and development in designated wilderness areas through Dec. 31, 1983. If a lease is granted by that date, the leaseholder obtains rights which permits development after 1983. The rights may be renewed every 10 years if certain requirements are met. The forest service has applications for two oil and gas leases in the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness. Both are in the Sopris Ranger District. One application is for the north slopes of Mount Sopris above Carbondale stretching across the Crystal River. The other includes an area south of Redstone to the Placita area, across the Crystal River to Kline Creek. …[George Morris of the White River National Forest Supervisor’s office in Glenwood Springs] said no oil and gas leases have ever been developed in the White River National Forest, a fact that local environmentalists find comforting. Pitkin County Environmental Coordinator Mark Fuller said oil and gas leasing applications are “something to be concerned about” but chance of major development in the Maroon Creek/Snowmass Wilderness are “fifty-fifty.”The Aspen Times announced the first broadcasts of what would become Aspen Public Radio, KAJX.Aspen now has access to a public radio station in Laramie, Wyo., thanks to the Roaring Fork Public Radio Translator Inc., which has been broadcasting at 90.9 FM for the past month.The public radio signal from KUWR-FM at the University of Wyoming is beamed to Aspen via the translator on top of Aspen Mountain.Aspen residents Sy Coleman and Ivan Strand of the Roaring Fork public radio group said they are still working to “smooth out the signal,” but that the channel should be strong and clear by Thanksgiving when KUWR-FM will acknowledge its Aspen association by airing three performances from the 1981 Aspen Music Festival Nov. 25-27 at 2 p.m. each day. Presently Roaring Fork Public Radio has 81 subscribers. The average contribution is $84, and the maximum contribution to date has been $500.”That shows we are a grass-roots operation,” Strand said. …Funding will determine whether a local station can be set up. … They estimate that it would take $100,000 to set up a local station and staff it. They also predict that it will take about a year to acquire an “affiliate” license, which will permit a local station to send its own programs over the airwaves.

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