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

Sara Garton
There was a national call to arms in late March 1917, and Editor Charles Dailey urged his readers to enlist. Aspenite Horace Masters shows off his World War I uniform. (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. The drumbeat of war was growing louder and more insistent. A letter to the editor from Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels called for men to enlist.The President last night signed an executive order directing that the authorized enlisted strength of the United States Navy be increased by 87,000 men. He was authorized by Congress, in case of emergency, to direct such increase in enlistment. …Will you not emphasize this need by giving special prominence Monday on the first page of your valuable and patriotic paper to the President’s order, and also by making an appeal for new recruits for the Navy.The Aspen Democrat-Times responded fervently to the call for arms.

Hurry up, you young men of Aspen [see photo] and Pitkin county and Colorado, and get in the first line to defend your country. Don’t wait until conscription comes, but signify your willingness to enlist and to enlist now.Editor “Cap” Dailey’s patriotism sharpened his pen. He wrote,It is understood that Professor Moore, principal of the Aspen High School, announced that the song for the opening of school this morning would be – think of it – “DIE WACHT AM RHEIN.” And the American kids simply murdered it.Wonder why Professor Moore does not have his students sing something more appropriate during these days of war with Germany?Say, Professor, can’t you whistle “Yankee Doodle Dandy” ?The urgency of war shared the pages with the arrival of spring in the Roaring Fork Valley. The newspaper announced, with tongue in cheek, a novel retail promotion, a week to celebrate “Dress Up” (see photos).

Spring is here. Easter is coming and the Spring “Dress Up” is on its way. It will be here March 31 to April 7, and every man, woman and child will be expected to get a new suit, hat, shoes and everything else that ministers to a Sunday-go-to-meeting appearance. … In our hurrying life of today it is feared that we are apt to neglect our appearance, so an association has been incorporated in New York whose sole purpose is to worry about our appearance and call our attention to our clothes when it is time to buy new things.So let us help the good cause along. The merchants of the city are cooperating in the movement and have arranged many special events to make the campaign an interesting one. In the spirit of “Dress Up,” Aspen’s milliner, Mrs. Maltby, published a notice: I cordially invite all the ladies to come to my parlors on Hyman avenue Wednesday afternoon from 3 to 6 o’clock and see the prettiest line of millinery ever shown in Aspen.Come and enjoy a pleasant afternoon inspecting the latest styles in hats and listening to the McHugh orchestra.

U.S. Ski Team racer Lindsay Kildow was awarded a cow in December 2005 by local farmers in Val d’Isère, France. Giving a cow to skiers has a history in Aspen, according to this report.One of the year’s most novel birthday presents, a brown Swiss cow, was presented to Friedl and Bunny Pfeifer [see photo] last Saturday by Fred and Elli Iselin.The cow, bedecked with garlands of flowers, herbs and leaves was turned over to Pfeifer at a special ceremony on the Little Nell ski slope at 9 a.m. Five men were needed to hold the cow.The present was in honor of Pfeifer’s birthday Saturday and Mrs. Pfeifer’s birthdayß last Monday. It was purchased by the Iselins from the Vagneur ranch at Woody Creek.One accident marred the otherwise perfect gift presentation. While returning to the Pfeifer ranch, the truck carrying the birthday animal broke down, leaving the cow and its keeper stranded along the highway.Aspen/Pitkin County Airport will be closed April 9-June 7, 2007, for a “runway rebuild.” Fifty years ago, paving at the airport would finally get under way, the paper reported. Word was received from the CAA [today’s FAA] that matching funds will be available to improve the Pitkin County Airport, it was announced this week by County Commissioner Tom Sardy.The government’s approval of the county’s request for financial aid opens the way for long-needed airport enlargement and improvement, the commissioner added.In order to raise the money necessary to match the CAA grant, a contribution drive for $30,000 was inaugurated this week by the Aspen Airport Corporation. All funds will be given to the county.A total of roughly $70,000 will be needed to make the improvements now contemplated. These include a paved runway 6,000 feet long and 75 feet wide and a paved parking lot.

To obtain the CAA grant this year, half of the projected cost of improvement must be paid by the county, present owners of the airport. A credit of roughly $8,500 was given the county as value of the land. …Funds needed to match the CAA grant will be raised by public subscription, The Board of County Commissioner recently announced. No county funds are presently available and no increase in taxes for the airport has been scheduled.Last week this column noted the patriarch of this family was elected to Colorado Ski Hall of Fame in March 1982. All the Durrances were in the news 50 years ago.If a poll were taken of Aspen residents with interesting lives, Dick Durrance, his wife Migs and their two sons, Dickie and Dave [see photo], would rate high on the list.The four returned last week from three months in the Bavarian Alps where Durrance, a produced of commercial films, made 11 TV commercials for the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Co. [to promote a new beer called Busch-Bavaria]. …While in Bavaria they made their headquarters at Garmisch, Germany’s most popular ski resort. Filmmaking was made difficult by the fact that for the first time in history there was no snow at the resort during the winter. …Now the envy of their schoolmates Dickie, 14, and Dave, 11, took their schoolbooks with them to Bavaria and kept up with their studies while away.

In a town where change can be painful, there are some things, unfortunately, that will never change. The paper reported,Someone should have called for a standing eight count about midway through Monday night’s meeting of the mayor and council. As it was, most members of the board managed to go the distance with the exception of Mayor Herman Edel, who admitted to feeling poorly and excused himself from the fray.Taking its toll on officials and spectators was some grueling dueling over a land swap with the county as part of the Rio Grande project and a confusing compromise on placing limits on the size of buildings in residential zones.Despite considerable haggling over both, at the end of three hours of consideration neither issue was fully resolved, offering evidence that even if the wheels of government grind exceedingly slowly, there is still a chance that one can be run over.In another bout at City Hall, a win for the Historic Preservation Committee was noted.After squaring off against HPC members in the brightly colors arena of downtown hues and shades, Rita St. John of St. John’s Originals in the Brand Building has until further notice withdrawn a request for signs, trim and awnings on her shopfront. And although a subsequent joint meeting of HPC members and city councilmen illuminated the lines of HPC color control over downtown buildings, Tuesday’s regular HPC meeting was a muddy one. HPC members have for several months expressed dissatisfaction with the present pink and purple trim colors of St. John’s and have proposed negotiations with St. John to persuade her to tone down her colors. …In previous meetings, no one has been able to definitively say whether the HPC has jurisdiction over color selections in the downtown area. … After considerable research {Chairman Bill Clark reported he had] unearthed documents saying that power was given the HPC in an ordinance adopted in 1975 by the city.

He went on to defend the HPC’s position, telling St. John that the committee is not in an adversary position and has no intention of taking such a stand.He added that he would prefer to review an entire package consisting of paint, signs and trim, rather than to approve those items piecemeal.No need to go to Canada for heli-skiing; it was available in the next county, the paper reported. Colorado First Tracks, a helicopter ski service which has operated for the past six years from Crested Butte, has now expanded its scope of activities to include skiing in the remote mountains above Marble.The company’s flying equipment, now a Bell Jet Ranger III, is supplied by Redstone Helicopters of Grand Junction, and can carry groups of five or six (plus a skiing guide). …Operating out of Marble, the company will base its flights at the Beaver Lake Lodge, which can provide rooms with advance notice.Durfee Day, who heads the operation, says that the mountains in the Upper Crystal River are among the best and biggest in the state, offering between 2,000 and 4,000 feet of vertical skiing.Skiing this winter will extend through late May, weather permitting.


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