25-50-90 years ago

Sara Garton
The Elks Lodge 224 was the center of social activity in early 20th century Aspen. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

March 1917Several 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. A move, reeking of party politics, to create a new Aspen County didn’t fly in the Colorado Statehouse, the paper reported.House Bill No. 280 by Mr. Downing – a bill for an act to establish the county of Aspen, to include all of the area of the present Pitkin county and to swipe from Gunnison county the Marble district, was killed in the house yesterday afternoon by a straight party vote of 21 to 24. …Mr. Marold of Saguache county opposed the bill and during his remarks read from The Democrat Times and also stated that so far as he knew the people of the Marble district itself had not expressed any such desire to come into Pitkin county.

Mr. Marold said in part: “Mr. Chairman, this bill coming as it does from the Republican side of the house, and with so much apparent secrecy and fear that the intent will be discovered by some one at some time, and knowing that the people of Gunnison county are opposed to it, I feel that it is a good bill to kill.”The spirit of this bill is not good. … Such a gerrymandering process won’t go in this body representative of the whole people of the state.”Mr. Marold evidently got Mr. Downing’s goat as that great corporate attorney arose to his feet and started to tear into [Democrat Times publisher and editor Charles] Dailey of Aspen.”Dailey doesn’t represent anybody but himself. Dailey is sore he isn’t in the legislature. Dailey is sore because he wasn’t appointed to the Industrial Commission. Dailey is a son of a gun and doesn’t like my corporation.” Mr. Marold then rose to a point of order stating that Mr. Downing was not speaking to the subject, that the Aspen county bill was before the committee and not “Dailey.” …”Mr. Chairman, I move you that the enacting clause be stricken.” And she was struck.The Democrat Times published a impassioned editorial from the Salt Lake Weekly on the “Future of Silver.”Every day seems to bring a new proof of why silver [see photo] should be remonetized. The president and his party in congress are anxious, apparently, to impress the country that they are trying to be officially economical. A five line statue would save the miners of the west $100,000,000 per annum. It would at the same time be worth five times $100,000,000 to the people of the eastern states. It would save to all the people of the country 60 percent on all the purchases from the Orient. It would likewise regulate the disturbed exchange with foreign countries within a month, and give our exports a little chance of sale to the half of the world’s peoples from whom they are now shut out. …

Now within two and a half years, a mighty war has cost 15 times as much as all the real money in the world represents, and deprives the people of Europe of all circulating medium they had on which to do business except the paper promises of bankrupt nations to pay. Still, the interest gatherers of the world refuse to have done a simple act of justice, and the world’s lawmakers bow to the edict of the thieves.”Cap” Dailey gave regular reports in his newspaper of all the doings at the Elks Lodge, where he was an officer.Aspen lodge of Elks held a rousing meeting last evening. A high old time was enjoyed by half a hundred of the great antlered brotherhood.After mature deliberation and many glorifying nominating speeches, … officers were elected for the ensuing year. …After the election the newly elected officers were put on the carpet and given the “real official” test which is something awful to endure but all come out without any broken bonesAfter lodge the club rooms were thrown open and the “big eats” enjoyed with “soft” [prohibition of alcohol was enforced in Colorado in 1917] liquid refreshments to wash ’em down. March 1957

A legendary newsman (see photo) broadcast from downtown Aspen during a ski vacation. The paper reported, Aspen was the fount of one of the country’s leading national news programs this week when Lowell Thomas gave his regular afternoon broadcasts here Tuesday and Wednesday. …No stranger to Colorado, Thomas once owned a ranch in the San Juan Mountains and skied in Aspen 16 or 17 years ago in the days of the first boat tow. “In fact I am proud to say that I am a member of the first Aspen ski club and still have my patch,” he explained. The famous news commentator, who is also an explorer, lecturer, film producer and author, was extremely impressed with the potential of Aspen on his first visit.”Even then,” he said, “I dreamed of what this town could be and have followed its progress with interest.”When first here I devised a scheme of placing the main hotel on the top of the mountain. In my mind I built a system of transportation through the mine tunnels to reach the top.” …”There is no doubt you have some of the best skiing in North America,” he added. “And the view from the Sundeck is as awe-inspiring and beautiful as any in the world.”

Fred Iselin, co-director of the Aspen Ski School, wrote in his Ski School Confidential column: From 12 to 2 [p.m.] there is $75,000 worth of equipment lying in the snow outside the Sundeck. Hundreds of Head skis and wood skis. …The Copper Kettle [see photo] is a most relaxing place to eat. Mrs. Armstrong is doing the cooking and it’s served well by girls in dirndl shoes. No noise. The food? Ambitious. Every day is a different dish. Today, for instance, we ate food from Eastern Europe. Polish red cabbage soup, Hungarian salad, Ukrainian baked chicken in sour cream. Erdbeeren à la Bucharest. No noiseMarch 1982After Aspen hosted both women’s and men’s FIS races a week apart, Andy Stone wrote,

The sound you heard last Sunday afternoon – you know, the one that was a cross between a 747 coming in for a landing and a tornado getting ready to rip the roof off your house – what it actually was, was a collective sigh of relief that the Aspen Winternational World Cup was over at last.Spectacular, overwhelming, international success that the World Cup was, it was also an astounding, overwhelming amount of work for all involved.”All involved,” by some estimates, ran as high as 500 local workers. …At Tuesday’s official dedication ceremony, some 500 helium-filled balloons were released on the Aspen mall, all imprinted with the Winternational logo.The next morning – as reported in the McCook (Neb.) Daily Gazette – farmer Ted Rippen walked out to water his livestock and stumbled over what appeared to be evidence of a party in his fields. There, among the cornstalks in Culbertson, Neb., roughly 600 miles north and east of Aspen, were 54 balloons, still inflated, and the carcasses of 50 more. All were imprinted with the mysterious message “Aspen Winternational.” …The Skico has hopes, sometime in the future, of getting World Cup races here earlier in the season, so they don’t conflict with the early March peak crowds.But for now the company is content to work toward establishing the Aspen races as a fixture on the World Cup calendar, before it starts trying to exert leverage on the question of dates.And that day may come, since almost everyone attending this year’s race – from all over the skiing world – agreed that it was one of the best-organized, best-run races on the circuit.

A battle was won for our side in the never-ending water war between the Western Slope and the Front Range. However, more skirmishes were on the horizon, the paper reported.Efforts by the Denver Water Board to divert water from the Western Slope for sale to surrounding towns were rejected last week by a water judge in Glenwood Springs.Serving as water court judge, District Judge Gavin D. Litwiller threw out the Denver board’s claim to 150,000 acre feet of water in the Eagle-Piney region of Western Colorado. He also challenged the water board’s authority to appropriate water solely for sale to suburban communities. …[The] Northwest Colorado Council of Governments and communities in the area have also contested the water board’s right to construct collection facilities in the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area.The Denver Water Department hopes to divert the Dillon Reservoir through three canal projects – the East Gore Canal, the Straight Creek Conduit System, and the Vail Tunnel – then deliver the water to the metro area through the Roberts Tunnel. …The {Denver Water] Board announced last year that it intended to seek the first presidential exemption under the 1964 Wilderness Act to permit construction of a diversion tunnel for the Eagle-Piney water in the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area.