25-50-90 years ago | AspenTimes.com
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25-50-90 years ago

An American flag flew from St. Mary's belfry in May 1917, according to the Aspen Democrat Times. This photo of the church on unpaved Main Street shows a flagpole on the church lawn, but no flag hanging from the pole or the belfry. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)
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Several months are missing from the microfilm of our newspapers 100 years ago. These news stories are from the 1917 Aspen Democrat Times, as The Aspen Times and The Aspen Democrat merged in 1909. We will run excerpts from newspapers 90 years ago until the microfilm picks up again in June 1907. Editor “Cap” Dailey wrote for the working man in this story.Well, well, well, Aspen has another strike on its hands.The men employed on the Salvation Ditch [see photo] walked out this morning because the Farmer-owners refused to pay more than $2.50 for nine hours’ work. And yet the farmers are getting from $4 to $5 for a hundred pounds of spuds and 50c for a dozen hen-fruit!To a nigger up a tree it would appear that $5 a day for nine hours would be about right – or anyway $3 for eight hours.Don’t get sore, Mr. Farmer, but loosen up a bit.There are others!

Even St. Mary Catholic Church flew the colors in support of the United States at war, the paper reported.Have you noticed the Stars and Stripes waving from the belfry of the Catholic church [see photo]?It was put there Sunday morning and followed with appropriate patriotic services in the church, conducted by Rev. Father McSweeney, whose address rang with true Americanism. The climax of Father McSweeney’s patriotic sermon was reached when he said:”We are formed from and enlarged by so many mixed classes, we must never forget that we are a people utterly distinct from every other people. We are assimilated together in one great body of citizenship. … Now I am a citizen of this Great Republic. I have sworn to God on high to do for this country what I would have done for my own native land [Ireland] – and I will keep my oath proudly, gladly and with all my being.”The paper scolded officials for the sorry state of the city dump (located then where the Rotary playing field is now, next to ARC). The city dump ground is becoming a nuisance for the users of the county road going up Maroon creek as the atmosphere is so dense and odoriferous that it is almost impossible to drive through it.It seems that private parties hauling refuse to the dump grounds are too lazy or too careless and dump old carcasses and stuff right alongside the road.The city authorities should look into this or the first thing it knows, it will be hauled into court on the charge of blocking a county road – and the penalty is pretty heavy.On the other hand, some city eyesores were being transformed into eye candy, the paper noted.Frank Walters today ploughed the vacant lots, back of the Democrat Times office, for the Boy Scouts, who will shortly prepare the soil for a garden and this summer [it will] be one of the city’s beauty spots.To further enhance the beauty of this section of the city, Joe Leonard is today tearing down the building that has been standing there for several years past and which has kicked up almost as much unfavorable comment as has the pile of ashes and that blooming old stove near our back door. … Now clean up yourself and quit kicking about other people.Indeed old Aspen is going to be the City Beautiful this summer with its gardens instead of vacant lots heaped with rubbish; its stock in corrals instead of roaming the streets; the big “sink hole” between Main and Hopkins and Aspen and Center streets turned into a beautiful City Park – and all because of the push and thrift and civic pride of our Women’s Civic Improvement Club – May their shadow never grow less!

More ambitious community-improvement projects, with some fun in the mix, by the Boy Scouts were reported in The Aspen Times 40 years later.Leading busy and diverse lives now are members of Aspen’s Scout Troop No. 37 [see photo].The troop planted 100 Ponderosa pine trees above Difficult campgrounds last Sunday.Supplied by the State nursery, the trees were planted under the supervision of Forest Ranger Gay Weidenhaft.After completing the planting, the boys went to the Aspen Trap Club grounds where they were given rifle instruction by Scoutmaster Robert Cass and assistants John Hall and John Mathias.Members of the troop will attend a Camperee May 31-June 1 at the Okanela Ranch west of Glenwood Springs. …Members of the troop will also be among the 1,000 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorers and their leaders gathering in Grand Junction Friday, May 24.Scouts from every community on the Western Slope have been invited to attend the Annual Boy Scout Circus in Grand Junction’s Lincoln Park.There are now 22 boys enrolled in Aspen’s scouting program, according to Cass. The newest member of the troop is Billy Sandersen.The Times continued to track the progress of four Aspen men who had set out on a six-month adventure from Denver to Maine by canoe.According to reports, Aspen’s four canoers have done more hiking than paddling since their departure from Denver on May 1.Planning to canoe from Denver to Old Town, Maine, via inland waterways, the four found that a lack of water in Colorado’s South Platte River necessitated much walking, pushing and portaging.No word has been received here from the unique expedition since recent floods hit the area they are traveling through.Barbed-wire fences strung across the water have also complicated the voyagers’ lives with Red Soderstrom and E.G. Rickers bearing scars to prove it.Though, they say, the canoes are badly scarred and scraped, they are holding up nicely.Getting food at towns on their route has been no problem, and they report that they have received royal receptions in towns on the Platte.In addition to Rickers and Soderstrom, Gerry Hewey and Ed Vestal are making the trip.Our airport runway is being scraped down to the dirt for repaving this spring; there was only dirt in 1957. That was about to change, the paper reported.According to word received from Washington, Aspen will have a paved and improved airport by next winter.Telegrams from Senators Gordon Allott and John Carroll and Congressman Wayne Aspinall reported that the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is included in the current fiscal year 1957 Federal aid airport program….$26,000 of a $30,000 airport fund goal has already been raised locally to augment the Federal funds, according to County Commissioner Tom Sardy. …The present field is unpaved and considerably smaller than the proposed strip. It has been in operation since 1948.



Aspen City Council discussed building a large visitor and transportation center in partnership with a commercial developer at Rubey Park (see photo), the paper reported.Administrative Assistant Monroe Summers [presented to Aspen City Council] his concept of a transit center that would be financed by the addition of commercial uses.Primary function of the center, according to Summers, would be to “allow our visitors to make all of their necessary arrangements, from entertainment/recreation to transportation, under one roof.”His memo indicated that transportation uses, including a visitors bureau, bus, limo, cab, airline, ski company offices and restrooms would need about 4,850 square feet.This could be financed by allowing a private developer to have roughly 6,200 square feet of commercial space in exchange for designing and building the space needed for the transit center. …Mayor Herman Edel pointed out that the city could handle a small public structure on the land and wondered “would we be giving away more than we get back in the long term” by allowing private development.Aspen Times publisher Bil Dunaway reminded council members that the nine lots had originally been purchased to prevent them from commercial development and asked them to consider the philosophical question of using park land for commercial development even for a good cause.A headline noted “Another institute calls Aspen home.” Founders Rev. Gordon Ingram, Dr. Robert Oden and retired lawyer Brainerd Chapman say that their Institute for a Theological Future, located in Aspen, is to lift up the presence of God in Aspen as the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies has lifted up the wisdom of the ages.In an interview last week, Ingram, who is the director of the new institute, said, “We brought it into being to help people utilize Judeo-Christian faith to cope with rapidly changing times and also to direct the course of future change.”

Ingram said the institute will have four tracks.It will hold ecumenical worship services and events.It will provide a study and reflective dimension, seeking to relate Biblical doctrines to the realities of today.It will hold seminars and workshops for lay people and professional clergy both in Aspen and around the nation. It will develop a curriculum which will be put on video cassette and computer programs for use in homes and churches.Ingram said he expects four audiences: tourists, youth, church members and “believers but not belongers.” The institute will get under way this summer with two community-wide workshop events and seminars to be held in Aspen. …Worship services will be held at Windstar and seminars at the Prince of Peace Chapel.Ingram explained the need for the new institute.”Today’s changes emanate from two sources, economic and scientific. I trace the radical change in economy back to 1973 when a world addicted to cheap oil (it cost from $2 to $10 a barrel) had to begin paying $35 a barrel. Our economy and society will never be the same.”Ingram said the other source is scientific. He cites major scientific breakthroughs in biomedical and genetic research, space travel and computer sciences.He added that there is also a disillusionment with government.”The disillusionment is not only with the leaders but the whole process.,” he said. “And the nuclear thing is underneath it all.”


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