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

The Aspen Historical Society's archives are filled with not only historical photographs, but also written documents in every shape and form that recount Aspen's past.
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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. The citizens of the Roaring Fork Valley rarely need to worry about tornadoes and earthquakes, but forest fires, snow and mud slides are another matter. The paper noted,Bald Mountain [in Snowmass Valley] is moving and moving so rapidly the ranch folk are getting out.This mountain is situated near the Charlie Hart ranch and is on the slide. Yesterday it slipped over into the Schellenberg ranch, covering a field of potatoes and filling up the well near the house. In fact the old mountain was coming along so rapidly the Schellenbergs left their home and spent last night at the Hart ranch.The Silver Queen (see photos), Aspen High School’s year book, did not publish for several years. However, in 1917 the Aspen Democrat Times proudly announced,

The Silver Queen, 1917, was issued today by the Senior Class of the Aspen High School.It is a beautiful 72-page booklet and is full of choice writings and pictures, and the Seniors may well feel proud of their work.The Silver Queen was printed in the job department of The Aspen Democrat-Times and our bindery put on all the finishing touches and it speaks well for art of all arts. To say that we are proud of it, is putting it mildly – we are all swelled up over our job printer, Mr. Vernon Raymond.Was this story serious about a pack of vigilantes pursuing the felines of Aspen?”More Cats for Aspen” is the slogan for those who love ’em, and it is “Less Cats for Aspen” for twelve determined men and sharpshooters who will meet tonight at midnight armed with shotguns and rifles and howitzers and other artillery and clean up the mesa of every darned cat that is prowling around that part of town. The army needs the fur and Aspen is going to furnish its portion.So keep your “pets” in the house tonight if you don’t want ’em shot as none of these twelve men believe the old saying “to kill a cat means nine years of bad luck.”Yes indeed, honey, keep your little “Benny,” “Blacky” or “Lilly White” in the house tonight or they will have joined the vast majority over the range ere tomorrow’s sun peeps over Smuggler Mountain.The catty odoriferousnesssssseses on the mesa had just got to be cleared out, that’s all there is to it.

Damn the cats!A blurb with a Basalt dateline reported, One hundred cars loaded with troops and military equipment passed through here this morning enroute to the Pacific coast.The troops occupied 15 cars; 35 cars were loaded with mules; and 50 cars with artillery, comprised of guns, carriages and other artillery equipment.The paper noted a “Record For Aspen.”Yesterday was registered the highest precipitation in the history of the local weather bureau of 1.07 inches. Before this, [the] highest mark reached was a .78 inch.



A City Council meeting report was noteworthy for the speedy adoption of ordinances that would help preserve Aspen’s mining-era buildings and prescribe its new buildings (see photo).Two ordinances of importance to all Aspen residents were passed on first reading by the City Council. Read and passed by the alderman was Ordinance No. 2, Series 1957, providing for the adoption of the Uniform Building Code and regulating the construction and repair of building within the city. Also introduced and passed was Ordinance No. 3, Series 1957, “An Ordinance creating and establishing fire zones for the City of Aspen, Colorado.” …In addition to adopting the Uniform Building Code, Ordinance No. 2 regulates “erection, construction, enlargement, alteration, repair, moving, removal, conversion, demolition, occupation, equipment, use, height, area and maintenance of buildings or structures.”The possibility of the Western Slope becoming a player in the energy business depended on several “ifs,” according to this article.The chances of Colorado’s western slope becoming a big industry center picked up last weekend with the dedication of the Union Oil Company’s Grand Valley shale oil experimental plant, 82 miles west of Aspen.President of the Union Oil Company, A.C. Rubel said that development of the industry hinged on four conditions.

A shale oil bom will come if the company’s retort proves successful, if shale gets “reasonable” tax treatment, if world conditions and the domestic market remain stable and if water is available.In operation since March 10, the retort has produced 4,000 barrels of the black, highly viscous shale oil. …Rubel said … if shale development is wisely handled and sufficient water is made available, western Colorado may become one of the great industrial districts of the west.At the dedication, Colorado Governor Steve McNichols said, “Shale oil resources of northwestern Colorado indicate 260 billion barrels of oil can be refined from the rock in the area.”He added that this would be enough oil to last the U.S. for well over a century.The forecast for irrigating looked good 50 years ago, the paper reported,The water content of the snow on the Roaring Fork River drainage above Aspen was 152 percent of the 1938-52 average on May 1, according to Forest Ranger Gay Weidenhaft.Readings taken on April 30 show that Independence Pass Tunnel had a snow depth of 73 inches with a water content of 27.2 inches. This is well above the 1956 readings of 54 inches of snow and 19.1 inches of water.The 1938-52 average water content for this course is 17.9 inches of water on May 1.There was very little snow melt at high elevation and over normal snowfall during the month of April. However, seasonal flow of the streams in the area will probably be only 10 to 15 percent above normal due to the dry conditions of the mountain soils.



The Aspen Times had more good news for the semi-arid plains of Colorado. Contrary to this year’s bleak snowpack report at only 39 percent of average, the 1982 snowpack for the Roaring Fork River basin measured 127 percent above average – but the measurements were still lower than in 1957. Snow depths above the Roaring Fork River basin were 295 percent above those measured last year and 127 percent above average, the most recent snow survey shows. …According to the recent report, “the outlook for spring and summer runoff remains bright throughout Colorado and northern New Mexico.” Streamflow forecasts have not changed significantly from the April report, and range from near average to as high as 75 percent above average, the report continued. …Near Independence Pass the snow depth was 53 inches with a water content of 21 inches.Highest snowdepth measured in the Roaring Fork drainage area was at Hagerman Tunnel in the Upper Frying Pan Valley, with 78 inches and a water content of 32 inches. …Flow of the Roaring Fork River measured at Glenwood Springs as it enters the Colorado is forecast by the report to be 122 percent of average during the coming summer.

The paper wrote that a local “Veterinary practice heals on wheels” (see photo). Doctor Strong is still in business 25 years later!Remember those trying times when your canine compatriot sniffed the antiseptic the minute he hit the veterinary clinic door, and then shifted into reverse?Or the cat that sent sparks while seeking traction on the ceiling after sniffing the aroma of 17 other similarly distraught felines?Well, Rosemary Strong figures someone will recall episodes such as these, which is why she came up with a new twist in the practice of veterinary medicine: house calls. … She ordered her custom-made clinic-on-wheels and hit the road in April.Since she established her mobile practice, Strong said she had received positive feedback from customers who like the idea of having their ailing pets picked up at the door.In some cases, where the pet’s visit is routine, such as vaccinations or fight wounds, the truck does not leave the curb.Her truck has a full complement of surgical and clinical equipment, as would an office, except it also has a separate generator to supply power. This allows Strong to do “on-site” work.For more serious cases, which involve a substantial amount of time, Strong takes the animals home, but still operates in her fully stocked clinic-truck.”There is nothing a major clinic can do that I can’t do,” said Strong with unrestrained enthusiasm. “And it doesn’t cost any more,” she added. …Her affinity for horses also works its way into her practice. It is the only large animal she will minister to, however, as she said she finds no such professional fulfillment in working with cows (they smell) or pigs (lousy temperament). …In addition to having high visibility, Strong figures there is one extra benefit to her service. She can get out of her office by taking it with her.


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