25-50 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50 years ago

Sara Garton

Courtesy Aspen Historical SocietyThe Smuggler Motel celebrated its new addition and fireplace in the lobby with a fire in September 1955.

Today the United States has more than 250 million registered motor vehicles – quite a leap from the statistics 50 years ago. The paper reported, The motorist with a yen to pass everything on the road might as well accept the inevitable and fall into line, the Rocky Mountain AAA Club advised today, for by the end of this year there’ll be an estimated 61,301,000 motor vehicles in this country.This astronomical figure includes 50,954,000 passenger cars and 10,347,000 trucks and buses. …The estimated total registration for motor vehicles for Colorado for 1955 is 14,000.It’s leaf-peeping season, and it was noted in “Around Aspen,”

The Aspen riding club enjoyed an all day ride Wednesday. They took their lunches and under the leadership of Mike Magnifico followed the trail up East Maroon on the ridge into Conundrum Creek. It’s also the season to check chimneys and fireplaces, fire alarms and extinguishers. The Fire department made a run to the Smuggler Motel [see photo] about 1 o’clock Tuesday morning to quench a fire found burning in a wall immediately behind a fireplace.When the second half of the motel was built this summer, the fireplace in the lobby was backed up to the wall of previous construction with only one course of firebrick between the insulation board and the fire. On Monday evening a coal fire was built in the fireplace … smoke was noticed coming from the apartment immediately backing the fireplace. …On Wednesday evening another run was made to supervise the burning of an old shed on the lot owned by Roy Reid where the Reids are just finishing a new home. The fire consumed the small shed, but it did scorch the back side of a shed just across the alley on the property of Phil Crosby.And finally it’s hunting season. The paper announced,

Prospects for big game hunting this fall are very good – about the best in recent years – according to [officials] of the Colorado Game and Fish department. [They] attribute the excellent outlook chiefly to the fact that Colorado has had three successive mild winters with a below normal loss of game animals and an excellent survival of deer and antelope fawns and elk calves. The same mild winter weather has resulted in more and better food for game animals. …The regular deer, elk and bear seasons will be Oct. 15-31 inclusive in western and northwestern Colorado. …The Colorado game and Fish commission, meeting in Denver last week to set the 1955 pheasant, quail and rabbit seasons, established the first statewide pheasant season in the state’s history, broadened the opening season by one day over last year and simplified the shooting hours to noon to 5 p.m. throughout the state to maintain better relations with farmers and ranchers.

Twenty-five years ago, “A Haven for Locals” opened its doors in Woody Creek (see photo). The paper noted,Ham hocks and pickled eggs. Not a bar in Aspen would dare put them in plain sight. But then, the Woody Creek Tavern is not your typical Aspen bar. After its opening last Friday in the old Woody Creek Store, the tavern is usually full of working class locals, from old construction workers in Caterpillar hats to ranchers. …Although the owners admit that part of the reason for the tavern was nostalgia for “the good old days when you could walk down the streets in Aspen and know everyone,” they are not trying to bring Aspen back. All longtime locals, they were sitting around one night over beers and lamenting the passing of the Woody Creek Store, where all the downvalley locals used to meet.Said George Stranahan, “We got on the phone, and the next morning we had the tavern.” He described the establishment as “approximating a neighborhood tavern of the kind you find every two or three blocks in a city.” …The staff is proud of the conversion of the store, proud of the back bar that used to be the refrigerator holding eggs, milk and butter.And they take pride in the simple fare on the menu, all homemade, all just plain down-home offerings. There are burgers and fries, homemade chili, hot dogs, and a Mexican specialty, the Quesadilla Gorda. Nightly specials will range from George’s beef stroganoff to Mary’s [Kent] spaghetti and meatballs.Georgepointed out that “We’re not advertising for Aspen people. This isn’t like anything in Aspen, and that’s the way we want it.” …And another blue jeans-clad drinker concluded, “It’s really a locals’ place, I just hope it doesn’t become the new ‘in’ thing for Aspenites.”This commuter couldn’t take it any more.

Don Lemos this week announced his intention to “get 82 before it gets you,” a campaign to four-lane Highway 82.Lemos said he wants the highway four-laned from Glenwoood to Aspen for safety and to relieve traffic congestion. Lemos lives downvalley next to the highway. He said, “I can’t even turn out of my driveway, the traffic is so bad.” The state highway department claims there’s no money at this time for highway improvements, but Lemos believes that state could come up with the money if public pressure is strong enough.”No one has ever screamed loud enough,” he said. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so let’s squeak.” …He said new bridges and possible interchanges at the Maroon and Castle Creek roads would complement the four-lane highway.