25-50-90 Years Ago
January 30, 2007
Several months are missing from 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. In 1912 the Wheeler Opera House was gutted by fire (see photo), and the ruins of the once grand building were a grim reminder of Aspen’s former glory days. The paper noted in 1917 that its future as a performance space could be in jeopardy.The Wheeler Opera House building is again engaging the attention of our people.The city has paid out some thing like $1,000 in putting the building in repair and the county has an accumulation of taxes against it.The property has changed hands so often in the past several years and in so many different kind of deals that it would take considerable time and money to determine the present ownership.An idea has been conceived that the property would make an ideal municipal building, with commodious quarters for city hall, offices, fire station and rooms for unattached firemen so that they would be on hand any hour of the night and there would be no delay in getting the apparatus out in case of fire.It is planned to endeavor to induce the county commissioners to transfer what interests the county may have in the property to the city. If this can be accomplished, the city [would] bring action in the district court to quiet title to the property.
The plan appeals to the public-spirited citizen as it would bring the city hall and fire station to a more central locality and make the property an asset of the city and the county instead of a deficit.A way forward in the stalled debate about firefighting with modern piston power versus horsepower was pointed out by the paper.On the night of the Costello fire it was twenty minutes after the alarm was sounded before anybody arrived at the fire station to take out a hose cart, and then it was a different task for the few men at hand to get the cart and hose to the scene of the fire owing to the heavy snow which covered the ground.This was a great object lesson and the fire committees were appointed to wait on the city council and endeavor to effect some arrangements wherein hose may be gotten to a fire in quick time.It was thought an auto truck would be better and more economical than horses. And the firemen were empowered to see what could be done among our citizens toward raising funds to purchase an auto truck. …The company committees seem hopelessly split on the question of an auto truck, one horse or two horses to take out the fire apparatus. This being so, there is no earthly chance for the department to get together on the proposition.With all due respect to our fire laddies, The Democrat Times would suggest that they report back to the city council with their inability to arrive at a satisfactory arrangement and leave the proposition with that body for final determination.Colorado adopted a “Dry Law,” prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcohol, in 1916 (four years before Prohibition was a federal law). That didn’t stop Aspen imbibers, the paper noted. Last night and today three alleged bootlegging joints were raided by Sheriff Frank Bruin and a quantity of liquor seized.
The place raided last night was a notorious dump, called a restaurant, kept by Albert E. Churchill, corner of Cooper avenue and Hunter street. Here was found 41/2 gallons of booze and 1 gallon of blackberry brandy. …Today Sheriff Bruin raided the residence of Nate Larison on West Main street where it is alleged our young boys have been obtaining a bounteous supply of fire water. Three gallons of booze were confiscated. The sheriff has evidence that Larison received 10 gallons of whiskey less than a week ago. Going some?Later the home of Walter Cotton, in East Aspen, was visited and three quarts of whiskey were found and confiscated. …Keep right on the job, Mr. Sheriff.
Time and again, we’re reminded of the love and care for our wild critters by Aspenites. The paper noted, Aspen’s only pet baby elk is thriving in captivity on a diet of hay and an occasional handful of oats, it was reported this week by Jim and Don Snyder, guardians of the animal. …The two brothers spotted the elk calf while driving along the Castle Creek road the afternoon of Jan. 18. It was trapped in the irrigation ditch and almost covered by water.At first they attempted to free the animal by hand, but were unable to move it. Later with the aid of a jeep and strong rope they managed to pull it out. …According to reports, the elk does not object to its captive life. It allows rescuer Jim Snyder to pet it and sometimes it eats from his hand.Other times, however, it is less friendly. Witness to this is Guido Meyer, who received a bite on the ear while attempting to photograph the elk with his movie camera.The brothers intend to keep the animal during the winter and free it in the spring when it will have a greater chance of survival.The performing arts were thriving at Aspen High School 50 years ago, the paper reported,Two Aspen students have been selected to play in the Colorado High School All-State Symphony orchestra. Chosen were Hallie Barbee, who plays the flute, and Judy Waterman, who plays a French horn. Both are members of the Aspen High School band [see photo].The symphony members, chosen from 600 candidates over the state, will gather on the University of Colorado campus at Boulder Feb. 6-10 for rehearsals and a concert. … Special guest conductor will be conductor and violist Marvin Rabin of the University of Kentucky.An introductory course in “Elements of Modern Dance” was added this week to the physical education program for Aspen High School girls, according to Miss Ruth Whyte, girls’ Physical Education Director at the school.Volunteering her services as guest instructor for two periods a week during her two-month stay is Ruth Lert. … Mrs. Lert has studied with leading dancers and dance educators such as Agnes de Mille, Ted Shawn, Merce Cunningham, Bella Lewitzky, Lester Horton and Eugene Loring. Her teaching activities in the East and in California have included dance workshop courses for children and teenagers, as well as large recreational physical-fitness classes.
The Aspen Times noted a list of “82 ski do’s and don’ts” from the Dallas Morning News. Here’s how Texans weighs in on the ski scene.Aspen is OUT – at least according to an article in the fashion section of the Dallas Morning News. Aspen along with Red River and Lake Tahoe are “out,” because they are “crowded, crowded, crowded.”The same article also states that Vail, Taos, and Sun Valley are “in,” because they are “sunny and serious.” …IN• Canadian toques (when you want to look different).• Jeans (always in good taste).• Turquoise, jade, and yellow ski clothes (great on snow bunnies).• Stretch pants and knit sweaters (for the sleek, streamlined look).• Long skis (they’re back in vogue).• Steve and Phil Mahre (favorites for 1-2 World Cup wins this year).• Hansen or Lange boots (go for quality).• Sitting by the fire (après-skiing, pre-snuggling).
OUT• Cowboy hats (when you want to look like everybody else).• Matched outfits (usually go beyond the bounds of taste).• Pink and purple ski clothes (great on Easter bunnies).• Overstuffed down jackets (for the Michelin-man look).• Short skis (they’re less stable).• Ingemar Stenmark (give someone else a chance!). • Knee-high boots (don’t go for fads).• Getting hurt (ouch!).Throughout the decades, Aspenites go to the extreme. The paper reported,Aspenite John Kuehlman [see photo] has spent 10 years dreaming of competing in the 89-kilometer (that’s 54 miles) Vasaloppet cross-country ski race in Sweden. His dream is going to come true next month.
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Considered one of the most prestigious races in the world, the race has a 59-year history in Sweden and winds along a scenic course first used by Swedish troops in the 16th century. …The total number of racers is an extraordinary field of 12,000 skiers who come from more than 20 different nations and include many world-champion nordic skiers. …Kuehlman hopes to finish in the top 3,000 and figures he will have the advantage of having trained in Aspen’s rarefied atmosphere compared to the 1,600-foot elevation of the race course.The top racers are expected to finish in about four-and-a-half hours, he said. …After trying out for the 1956 Olympics, Kuehlman and his wife, Helen, moved to Aspen. Both have taught in the Aspen public school system since they arrived. He has taught and coached nordic skiing in Aspen for 21 years. Last year, Aspenite Ruth Baxter, 26, raced in the Vasaloppet. She was the 20th woman to cross the finish line. … It took Baxter a full 45 minutes just to fight her way through the crowds thronging the first two kilometers.The funky A-Frame shops at the base of Aspen Mountain completed a transmogrification to the Ajax Mountain Building (see photo) in 1982.Businesses occupying the new wing of the Ajax Mountain Building on 520 E. Durant will officially mark the occasion with a grand opening this weekend. No newcomer to town, the Aspen Tea and Spice Company’s main claim to fame is that it roasts its own coffee. … The Dark Room is owned by Mark Schuman and managed by Kim Foss. … Pyramid Imports … is actually divided into two parts: a tribal arts gallery and a line of ladies’ clothing. … Opened in January, Polo Ralph Lauren is one of close to a score of shops across the country that carry the name of New York designer Ralph Lauren. … Owned by Jody Hecht and Connie Schiffer, Bagallio features women’s accessories. … Although [Cheeks] offers fine lingerie, it goes beyond that to include dance and exercise wear, bathing suits, sleepwear, robes and teddies which range from $18 to $100. … One of the shops to open in the building last winter is Robert’s Shoes. … Also about to mark their first year in the building is Special Occasions. The shop has four owner, Patsy Nesher, Ann Marcus, Lita Heller and Terry Marvin. What it offers is an assortment of fine accessories for the home.