25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton
The residents of Ashcroft gather for a Fourth of July photograph in 1882. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

A flatbed truck rolled off the Maroon Creek bridge last week – fortunately no one was in the truck. A big rig with teams and drivers fell from a span over Castle Creek 100 years ago, the paper reported. Early yesterday morning Al Frost and Tom Woods left the city with their freight outfit loaded with the boiler for the Cummings mine at the head of Conundrum gulch.The Conundrum road leaves the Castle Creek road at the foot of the Highland hill, swings down into the river bottom and crosses a bridge over Castle creek before entering the gulch.The freight outfit had progressed without much mishap until it reached the middle of the bridge when the structure collapsed precipitating men, horses and load into the raging torrent.Tom Woods was thrown off and up the stream and had it not been for the timely assistance of Al Frost would have drowned. The load turned upside-down, the wagon being on top of the boiler. The lead horses reached the bank in safety but the wheelers were held down by the load. By the time the men were enabled to cut the traces, the wheel horses were almost exhausted by their efforts to get out of the angry stream, and it was necessary to hook on the leaders and pull them out. The bridge is a complete wreck and as the creek is very high, it will be a difficult proposition to get the boiler out.Farther up Castle Creek was the bustling mining community of Ashcroft. A resident remembered a long-ago Fourth of July event (see photo). About fifty Ashcroftites celebrated the Fourth at Aspen. The rest of us had to stay at home on account of – anyway it reminded us of the celebration of the Fourth at Ashcroft in 1882 when the first match game ever played in Pitkin county took place between the Aspen and Ashcroft ball teams. The game was witnessed by two thousand people. Ashcroft now has a team that will soon cross bats with Aspen. As “Music Man” Harold Hill proclaimed, every town needs a boys band! The paper agreed. It has been decided to discontinue the open-air concerts by the Aspen City band [see photo], as the members deemed the encouragement not sufficient to warrant the expense of procuring music and instruments nor the loss of time entailed in rehearsals and free concerts. Negotiations had been opened to secure the services of several good players at Redstone, but the matter has been dropped by Professor Harrington.It is sincerely regretted there will be no more open-air concerts as large crowds always assembled to listen to the music of the band, which was an entertainment greatly enjoyed by our people.Some effort should certainly be made to continue and perfect our band as we will need music for the Fair this fall, and by using one quarter of the money necessary to secure an outside band, we could make the Aspen band all that could be desired ere the Fair time. Get your thinkers to workin’ and let’s keep the band going.

Aspenites have been longtime, enthusiastic moviegoers – ever since cinema was invented! The paper noted, The very latest model of the Edison Kinetoscope has just arrived and is now being installed in the Wheeler opera house and commencing tomorrow evening moving picture shows will be given each night in the week excepting Sunday evening. These shows will be given at the popular price of 10 cents for any seat in the house. One show will be given each evening commencing at 8:30 o’clock.Arrangements have been made with the best picture dealers in the West to supply the latest and finest moving pictures and illustrated songs for these shows, and at the low price 10 cents everybody can afford to enjoy them. The machine is entirely new and positively the steadiest moving picture machine on the market, being free from the objectionable flicker seen in other machines.Remember the opera house will be kept cool and comfortable these evenings, and you cannot find a more enjoyable place to spend a pleasant hour. An extra good bill will be given tomorrow evening, it being the opening night, and will consist of the latest moving pictures and beautiful illustrated songs. There will be an entire change of program twice a week. Several days later the paper wrote a review of the Edison Kinetoscope.A well filled house was at the Wheeler last evening to enjoy the picture show. Everything was in fine working order and the pictures were particularly good. There is very little flicker noticeable and the pictures are all new and up-to-date and very entertaining.The illustrated songs were pretty and pleasing. Miss Anna Garvin was the soloist for the evening and pleased her audience.It is the best show for the money. It lasts just long enough, and you get your 10 cents’ worth several times over.Microfilm of The Aspen Times 19041909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1907 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.

The Times noted the formation of a new music group.A unique idea born out of the Festival’s student concerts celebrated its second anniversary this week.Originated by music student Forrestt Miller [see photo], a tenor from Canada, the first “Young Artists of Aspen” group was formed two years ago with a nucleus of six students.Now with more than double that number on their roster, the group performs concerts around America. Its purpose is to maintain a revolving scholarship fund for the Aspen Music School.In their first year, the students performed at concerts at the YMCA in Estes Park and appeared on several radio programs in New York City.This summer, their plans include another appearance at Estes Park, a fall tour of the Southwest and a tentative tour of the Northwest.The paper announced the opening of two new establishments, which immediately garnered praise and patrons. Today these businesses are only legends told by Aspen old-timers.Opening its doors officially this Saturday, July 13, will be the Delice Pastry Shop, one of Aspen’s newest commercial establishments.Owned and operated by Walter Huber from Bern, Switzerland, the new shop will specialize in bread of all types, pastries and imported candies.It is located in the Golden Horn building in space formerly occupied by the Aspen Ski Club.Huber, who received his bakery training in Switzerland, was formerly employed as head baker in the Hotel Jerome and before that as baker in the Drake Hotel, Chicago.Tabbed “a Left Bank atmosphere cafe,” Aspen’s newest bar-restaurant opened Tuesday night with painters and carpenters vying for space with first-nighters.Located in the new Galun building, Ted Gordan’s Rendezvous features a Continental menu with a heavy emphasis on French cooking and French wines.Utilizing a modified-U shape, Gordon’s restaurant has rough stone walls, natural wood partitions and fixtures and contemporary furnishings.Present plans include lunch, cocktail and dinner service and musical entertainment.A native New Yorker, Gordon has been a prizefighter and lived in as Vegas before coming to Aspen 18 months ago.A controversial “improvement tax” was adopted by Aspen City Council by means of an ordinance. The paper reported,Called “An ordinance providing for a tax upon room rental revenue of operators of rooming houses,” the ordinance set a 2 percent levy on all lodging and provides for the collection of the tariff as well as penalties for violations. …Under terms of the ordinance, funds collected by the lodges and motels must be turned over to the city each month. … It was estimated by the City Council during a discussion of the improvement tax that a revenue of $18,000 would result from the new impost.According to statements made by the aldermen following adoption of the tax, the new revenue would be of great help in enabling the city to improve the streets and prevent the dust which is now such a problem.

This Aspen Times’ account of the Fourth of July could be republished every year. However, the sentences describing the location and viewing of fireworks would be deleted in 2007. Extremely dry conditions forced moving the pyrotechnical display to the grounds of the Aspen Golf Club this year.Trying to walk down the sidewalks and street was virtually impossible. Workers at restaurants and bars struggled to keep their heads above the human tide. There were balloons, of the air and water variety, hot music and hot dogs, a five-mile race, fireworks showering down Aspen Mountain and ground displays in Wagner Park.All in all, it was another Fourth of July in Aspen, another premier presentation that played to a packed house of visitors and locals.Early morning runners clogged the streets and trails in an effort to finish, if not win, The Aspen Times [now Buddy] Five.The parade, which strutted its stuff through town, sans bands, attracted huge crowds of people who apparently had as much fun watching one another as they did the 45-entry string of marchers and riders.Fireworks, both the official fire company version and a pretty fair assortment of freelance bombs bursting in the air, also drew the expected “oohs and ahhs” from those watching in Wagner Park as well as those safely ensconced atop the rooftops of Aspen.