25-50-100 years ago

Sara Garton
Fortunately, a Colorado Midland train was turned back because the tracks washed out in 1907; it did not flip over, as this car did along the Fryingpan River. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

Scarlet fever continued to assail the residents of Aspen, the paper sorrowfully reported.Yesterday afternoon at 3:20 the home of Mr. and Mrs. Asa Simpson was again saddened by the Angel of Death taking from their midst the little 8-year-old daughter, Pearl, who has been sick for the past few days with that disease, scarlet fever. Pearl was a very bright little girl and was the second oldest child of the family. She was conscious until the last and knew she was going to die. She called her parents and her grandmother to her bedside to say goodbye and asked them to pray for her as she would soon join her little brother, who passed away last Wednesday.Mr. and Mrs. Simpson have the heartfelt sympathy of our people in their sad hour of trouble. This is their second child to die within the week from scarlet fever, and another child is reported very low. The highly contagious disease curtailed audiences at public events. The paper noted,A small but appreciative audience attended the picture show last evening which was as usual up to the standard. The moving pictures this week are exceptionally good, among those of special interest being the big feature films, “The Paymaster” and “The Last Switch.” “The Gaieties of Divorce” is a side-splitter, and last evening kept the audience in an uproar. Mr. Hartley favored the audience with two very beautiful illustrated songs, “Katy Dear” and “Farewell my Annabelle.” The illustrations of theses songs are the finest ever seen here, and must be seen to be appreciated.

Owing to the scarlet fever, the management has decided to close down these show on the 31st so those who have missed these shows had better take them in while they last.The paper published the “Laws of the state of Colorado and City of Aspen, regarding scarlet fever houses.”No one shall go in or out of the house after quarantine is established.Cats, dogs and domestic animals must be kept out and away from the house a reasonable distance, as in barn or shed some distance from house.All clothing that is put out on the line to dry must first be washed in an antiseptic solution which can be obtained by asking your attending physician.Nurses attending scarlet fever patients must not leave the house till they are discharged from the case and then before leaving shall be fumigated according to the rules of the board of health, which can be obtained from the city physician or the attending physician and must have said physician’s permit before leaving.It will be the duty of the quarantine marshal to arrest any one who violates these laws so that they may be dealt with according to the law, fined or imprisoned or both as the case may warrant.These laws will be strictly enforced as we must and will in some way put an end to the spread of scarlet fever.The paper reported that the train (see photo) was late.A washout occurred on the Midland yesterday at Florissant near Divide and the passenger train had to return to Colorado Springs and come over the [Rio] Grande track, making the arrival of No. 5 in Basalt several hours late.Microfilm of The Aspen Times 1904-1909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1907 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.

Opera would once more appear on the venerable Wheeler Opera House stage (see photo), The Aspen Times wrote.One of the most exciting events in Aspen’s annual music programs is the series of performances presented each summer by the Opera Studio. This year the first such production, an offering of five scenes from famous operas, is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday evenings, July 27-28. The featured operas are Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” Act I, Scene 2; the final scene of Act III of Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier”: Nicolai’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” Act I, Scene 1; Verdi’s “Aida,” Act II, Scene 1; and the entire first act of Strauss’ “Die Fledemaus.” …Musical director of the production is Paul Vellucci with John Newfield acting as stage director. … Local professional help came from Gene Fry of the Klip and Kurl, hairstyling; V.C. Bradshaw, makeup; and Broughton Electric, electrical installations.

Participants of the Aspen Music Festival and School (see photo) were able to enjoy more of their surroundings than just the campus and tent, the paper wrote.Over 200 music students joined faculty members of the Aspen Music School for a noon picnic Monday, July 22, on the Henry Stein ranch.Last Monday’s affair was the third Monday picnic held by the school for the students. The other two were at Difficult Creek Campgrounds and at Ashcroft.Sponsored by the school administration to help the students get acquainted with each other and the surrounding country on their free day, the weekly picnics have become an institution among the visiting musicians. The paper noted that fallout from an atom bomb test was avoided in Aspen. Proving once again that nuclear weapons have far-reaching influences, the dinner plans of an Aspen housewife were dependent on the explosion of an atom bomb last Friday, July 19.Mrs. Robert Tayor needed to know if her husband, Brigadier General Taylor, would arrive in Aspen as scheduled Friday night in order to plan a dinner party.Stationed in Colorado Springs, General Taylor, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Continental Air Defense Command, usually rejoins his family each weekend in Aspen. Last Friday, however, he flew to Nevada to observe the atom bomb test.If the bomb exploded Friday morning as scheduled, he was to return to Aspen that evening. If, for some reason, the test were postponed, he was slated to remain at the test site.Luckily for all concerned, the bomb exploded on schedule and the general was home for dinner.

Would more traffic lights loosen the snarl of traffic at the Entrance to Aspen? The paper reported,Aspen’s four existing traffic lights – three in town and one at Cemetery Lane – may be joined by a fifth and even a sixth sometime in the not-too-distant future.This news comes from Pitkin County officials, who report that they are feeling the pressure from several directions, pressure that may result in two additional traffic lights on Highway 82 – one at the Maroon Creek intersection and one at the airport.The airport traffic light is tied up in the complex question of relocation of the entrance to the airport and the creation of a road leading to the new city-county bus barn.The Maroon Creek light is an idea from the state highway department, which favors the light but is waiting county approval before going ahead. The county, according to County Manager Curt Stewart, is not eager to see either light come into existence. …{Stewart] noted the fact that a new light {at Maroon Creek] would be very close to the existing light at Cemetery Lane, possibly causing monumental snarls during peak winter hours when traffic already backs up from the entrance of town nearly to the airport.

What would become a major battle between the residents at the base of Smuggler Mountain and the Environmental Protection Agency was only an initial alarm in summer 1987, as the paper wrote, Although the Aspen-Pitkin Environmental Health Department is warning Smuggler Trailer Park area residents of extremely high lead and cadmium levels in the soil, recent blood tests of park residents have shown no abnormalities.Still, some Aspen residents may not be able to eat their homegrown vegetables, according to the Environmental Health Department.CSU scientists recently found lead levels that were approximately 1,000 times the state average, according to Tom Dunlop of the Environmental Health Department.Dunlop said he confirmed those results through sophisticated soil analyses. He said the findings were not unexpected, however, since much of the soils are actually mine ore tailings. … Dunlop said the department will conduct studies of lead levels in the air in Smuggler Park this summer.What! The Wheeler Opera House no longer a public amenity? The paper reported the possibility.To sell or not to sell the Wheeler Opera House will be the question, basically, put to the public on Sept. 28 in a referendum scheduled to decide the fate of future funding of the city project.A consensus that the question should be put to the voters was reached at a Thursday morning City Council study session devoted to the examination of two proposals to buy the property and two other, obviously less enticing, alternatives.

Offers to buy the property came from Marvin Davis and other Aspen Skiing Company principals and from the investment firm Dain Bosworth Inc.The two are similar only in that funding would be provided for the renovation of the opera house. The Davis offer is a real estate deal, and the Dain Bosworth offer provides tax shelter incentives to investors.The other two alternatives, City Wayne Chapman told the council, were to seek a general obligation bond which would require a four mill tax levy increase, or simply end the project until the money could be found.That is what will happen at the end of September, he said, because that is when the money earmarked for the renovation runs out.Another beloved institution was in dire straits, an editorial explained.By now Aspenites and others acquainted with the local music festival know that it is having financial problems. Although various papers have reported varying reasons for the crisis, the unalterable fact is that it owes a great deal of money, which at the moment it is unable to repay.Like any nonprofit cultural institution, the Music Associates of Aspen must often borrow to meet current expenses in anticipation of donations and grants which are received throughout the year. This year, however, it is faced with a larger than normal opening debt, lower than normal income from students, a drop in donations, plus escalating costs. To remain in existence it must attempt to reduce its overhead, but more important, it must obtain additional donations. …Even though Aspen and those who live and work here are the largest direct beneficiaries of the festival, only a fraction of its total revenue comes from local donations.This year that fraction is lower than usual. That is regrettable, even shameful, for despite the recession Aspen needs the MAA, its school and its festival, and must give it more financial support in order to have it continue.