25-50-90 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-90 years ago

The paper reported in 1917 the construction of a new brick building, with the rooftop flagpole, on the corner of Cooper and Galena. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

A historical landmark was being demolished in downtown Aspen 90 years ago, and the paper recounted its past.One by one the old landmarks are going. Tuesday Jacob Reichert, the veteran builder, with a force of workmen began the razing of the old brick block which has stood for many years on the southwest corner of Cooper avenue and Galena street [see photo].The L.H. Tomkins Hardware company has purchased this property which was condemned by the city council some time ago and which has been in a dangerous condition, and after it has been taken down, they will erect on the site a fine commodious brick warehouse.This building was one of the first brick blocks to be erected in Aspen in her palmy days, and during the city’s boom the upper part was conducted as a rooming house. For many years C.M. Stillson conducted a saloon in the corner known as “The Abbey.” At this time, it was famous as the finest appointed saloon on the Western Slope and was noted as a gentleman’s resort and for its collection of magnificent paintings. E.W. Jewett afterwards occupied it as a grocery until the building became unfit for occupancy. It will now be removed and a modern brick will take its pace which will be an ornament to the city.When the warehouse is completed, the Tomkins Hardware company will have a place handy to their store which will be a valuable addition to their business efficiency.

A debate was part of the Aspen High School graduation ceremony in 1917, the paper reported.The twenty-sixth annual Commencement Exercises at the Presbyterian church last evening were attended by a large number of friends of the class of 1917, the beautiful little church being taxed to its capacity.The auditorium was most beautifully decorated in flowers and the class colors, purple and white, and the platform was a bower of beauty and presented a most pleasing sight with the young graduates thereon; the young ladies in their handsome graduation gowns and the young gentlemen heroic in their black suits – twenty-one in all.The program was excellently rendered in all details, and each was heartily applauded.The debate – “Resolved that the War Debt Should be Paid by a Tax on Incomes” – was nicely handled by Harry Jewett and Charles Cole. Both boys did so well and brought out so may salient points in favor of his side that it was impossible to decide who won over the other. Both retired with equal honors.A headline implored, “Let’s Fix Main Street” (see photo). And the article implied if you want it done, do it yourself! Now is just the time to start and build a good road from the Jerome Hotel west on Main. Then a continuance can be made to the bridge and on out past the cemetery.Here is the way we can do it:Over by the Mollie and Smuggler is a dump of cinders, of the same kind that made the beautiful road leading into Glenwood Springs. There are all the cinders you want and then some. Take the street now when it is wet and spread these cinders, and you will have a road that will stand thru the ages.All Aspen will be behind it. For instance, Irving Everett has donated the use of his truck for one day and Ted Cooper and Charles Dailey Jr. their services for one day running the truck, hauling the cinders and dumping them on the street. With a few more donating their services to haul cinders, and a gang at work spreading them to make the street even and the way it should be, it will not take long to make a good road out Main.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 mid-June 1907.

Throughout the decades the newspaper encouraged the revival of mining, hopeful that Aspen would once more strike it rich. The Aspen Times reported,One of the country’s richest and most famous silver mines, Aspen’s Durant Mine, will re-open for business this summer.Leased by Chicago car-wash tycoon Tom Tennant from the Herron bothers, the property will not be operated as a mine, however, but as a tourist attraction.Tennant, who is presently busy having cave-ins cleared away and shoring up the tunnel roof of the famous mine, announced that he hopes to open for business July 1.Located near the southeast edge of the city of Aspen and only a few hundred feet from the bottom of the Little Nell chairlift, the Durant was first worked in 1885 and was considered to be one of the richest silver mines in the country.Length of the tunnel to be operated for the tourist trade is approximately 1830 feet. According to Tennant, visitors will be transported in the shaft by either horse-drawn or mechanical cars. …The tunnel to be exploited by Tennant once was but a part of the nine miles of shafts operated by the Durant Mining Co.It is reported to end in a large chamber “big enough to hold three Wheeler Opera Houses,” and, according to reports, contains the second largest underground waterfall in the country.They weren’t arriving on jets, but a group of VIP jet-setters visited the Aspen Institute 50 years ago, the paper noted.Seven chairmen, six presidents, three vice presidents, one Air Force official and one journalist flew into Aspen yesterday in a fleet of light planes.Coming for a look at the Aspen Institute’s Health Center facilities and program, the business world brass are the guests of Institute president Walter P. Paepcke.They will be in Aspen till Sunday, trying out the Health Center program, which was designed with tired businessmen in mind, and undergoing a stiff four-day stint on Institute seminars and lectures [see photo]. …As part of the Institute’s plan for the whole man, the businessmen will be assigned a sampling of readings including Aristotle’s “Politics,” the Declaration of Independence, the Mayflower Compact, “Equality and Inequality in Massachusetts,” Bradford’s “History of Plymouth Plantation,” The Bill of Rights, W.G. Sumner’s “Challenge of Facts,” Thucydide’s Melian Dialogues and Eisenhower’s Middle East Doctrine.The brainchild of Paepcke, the Health Center, which is part of the Aspen Meadows complex, was completed last summer. Its avowed aim is to keep top executives, healthy, wealthy and wise with liberal doses of physical and mental exercise.There was a progress report on the development of The Roaring Fork Valley’s first golf course. Today there are eight.After much planning and many delays, excavating work was started three weeks ago on the 9-hole course planned for the western outskirts of town by country club developer Wally Mills.Mills, who is the guiding light behind the Snowbunny development, hired Vern Smith, Denver’s earth-moving contractor, to begin contour work on the projected golf area May 15.Six men are now working daily with three giant dirt-moving carryalls and two mammoth cats to shape the greens, tees, water hazards, traps and roads called for in the country club plans. …If the work progresses according to plan, he expects to have the new course in condition for play by next summer, he informed The Aspen Times.When completed the nine-hole golf course will be a part of the larger country club development. Other facilities planned for the area are tennis courts, a swimming pool, riding paths, a clubhouse and homesites.

The paper described a bit of governmental quid pro quo.Aspen is not adverse to assuming ownership and upkeep of the county’s trail system, but only if it can also acquire title to Wagner Park.This was the apparent decision made by the city council during a regular joint meeting with the county commissioners Monday following a lengthy discussion. It expanded an informal agreement made last fall when the council said it would take over maintenance of the trail system after learning the county did not have the funds. …{Councilman] George Parry, who first broached acquisition of the park last fall during budget discussions, again reminded county officials that the city has always paid for park improvements and maintenance and should also have title. …A motion by [Councilwoman] Susan Michael that the city staff should prepare an operating and capital budget for the trail system, and if acceptable, the council should pursue acquisition of the trail system and Wagner Park, was adopted without dissent.Water for sale! The paper reported,Exxon Corporation is shutting down its Colony Shale Oil Project and its Battlement Mesa community development, but the oil giant says it still needs water from Ruedi Reservoir for both projects.The Bureau of Reclamation last week awarded water service contracts from 8,000 acre-feet of Ruedi water, including up to 6,000 acre-feet annually for Exxon’s Colony Shale Oil Project and another 1,250 acre-feet for Battlement Mesa. The Basalt Water Conservancy District of Carbondale and the West Divide Water Conservancy District of Rifle will be furnished up to 500 and 1000 acre-feet respectively … for municipal and domestic purposes.These are the first long-term contracts to be executed for water service from Ruedi Reservoir since it was completed in 1969. The BuRec expects to receive $6.2 million in revenues during the 37-year span of the contracts. …”Anyone who can buy Ruedi water now is essentially reserving a resource that is going to be needed in the future,” said [Pitkin County Coordinator Mark] Fuller, adding that buyers are now getting “bargain-basement, federally subsidized prices.” …Area governments including Aspen, Pitkin County, Snowmass, Carbondale and Basalt are interested in maintaining minimum pools in Ruedi to preserve the environmental and recreational values of the reservoir, and protect the local economy’s dependence on Ruedi water. … The county also hopes to secure the right to refill the reservoir after annual sales are made. According to Fuller, no entity holds rights to water that refills the reservoir.

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