25/50/100 years ago
April 24, 2003
April 1903The Times had a bygone way of marking the start of spring in Aspen a century ago.The soda water fountain at Al Lamb’s drug store has been opened and is in running order. Spring must be close at hand. It is said that the starting of the fountains is a sure sign of approaching spring.A precursor, perhaps, to Aspen’s summer softball league was the local baseball teams that The Times touted in the following item.Aspen has always been a first class baseball town. In the past splendid teams have been formed and supported and went forth to do battle for the championship of the Western Slope. …A city with a record can ill afford to allow it to wane. Aspen last year failed to muster enough enthusiasm to get a town team. The younger men organized two teams known as the Maroons and Colts. Both played well, all things considered. This year the baseball enthusiasts have decided that there shall be a town team, and the energy which lay dormant all of last year will be poked into their work this season. …The town team will be known, of course, as Aspen. The Colts and Maroons have been reorganized and will give the big team plenty of exercise.Heated disagreement over rerouting a thoroughfare on Aspen’s west side cropped up a hundred years ago; The Times reported on it in a story entitled simply, “The Road.”Yesterday the county commissioners met in their room at the court house to hear the pros and cons on the changing of the road running across the mesa west of town, from the end of the Castle Creek bridge to Red Butte. …The land belongs to the Colorado Midland railway. It has given T. O. Clark a lease for a period of five years with an option for five years more on this land. … He desires to put this land under cultivation and he wishes to use the land which is now covered by the road. The ranchmen down the river objected to this and demand that the road remain where it is. …Mr. Clark claims that the road takes about five acres of his land and … that he is willing to build the road from the bridge along the banks of Castle creek to a point east of Red Butte and then to Red Butte at right angles. …The ranchmen claim that it will make their haul longer and that the new road will be dangerous to life and limb because of its angle on the brink of the canon though which Castle creek runs. …Attorney [J. M.] Downing then stated that … until the Castle creek bridge was completed in December, 1891, the ranchmen either went around by way of the slaughter house and up around the hill, or else traveled by way of the bridge formerly above where the Midland bridge now stands. They then made a wide circuit down the valley. …The commissioners took no action.April 1953If you see one of Aspen’s best-known couples, Jim and Mary Eshbaugh Hayes, wish them a happy golden wedding anniversary. The Times ran a detailed description of the nuptials:Miss Mary Jean Eshbaugh, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Eshbaugh of Geneseo, New York, became the bride of James Hayes, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Hayes of Boyd, Texas, on Saturday, April 18, at 7:00 p.m. in a candlelight service at the Aspen Community Church. Rev. Sigurd Burch performed the double ring ceremony.The bride, given in marriage by her brother, John Paul Eshbaugh of Denver, wore a ballerina length white organdy gown fashioned with an off shoulder neckline and embroidered hemline. Her bouquet was of red roses and white carnations and her fingertip veil was held in place with a Juliet cap edged with seed pearls.Matron of honor was Mrs. Wesley Thorpe of Aspen, who wore a green organdy ballerina length gown and carried a bouquet of red roses and white carnations. …Steve Knowlton of Aspen was best man while ushers were Gale Spence of Aspen and David Eshbaugh of Geneseo, brother of the bride. …The church was decorated with pussy willows and jonquils …A reception was held immediately following the ceremony at the home of Mr. and Mrs. V. E. Ringle.Following a wedding trip to New Mexico, the couple will make their home in Aspen.Fifty years ago, the Times declared it was wood ticks, not soda fountains, that heralded spring.Spring is here – but so are the wood ticks. A trip to the mountains, increased work in the woods or on the range or a fishing trip from mid-March through June, frequently results in coming home with one or more ticks on clothing or body. While a tick which has burrowed into the skin is not to be taken lightly, it need not be a matter of panic which some people feel when they find one of the little insects, according to Dr. Roy L. Cleere, Executive Director of the Colorado State Department of Public Health. …After voters approved an issue of $120,000 in bonds for an addition to the school, the Times ran this somewhat convoluted description of what would be built:The [school] board reports that they have tentatively agreed on preliminary plans submitted by architect Sam Caudill who will proceed to submit more detailed drawings for final approval.The new construction will probably be approved very much as already submitted to consist of an auditorium and three class rooms. The new part will be directly east of the present building and connected to the old building by an extension of the present corridor. Three new class rooms and an entry for the public will be built facing the south with the auditorium directly to the east the long way north and south. The stage and dressing rooms will be on the north end.April 1978Aspen ski resorts rebounded in dramatic fashion one year after one of the worst seasons ever.Aspen and other Colorado ski areas have announced that 1977-1978 was the most successful ski season in history, a welcome relief to the ski industry after the no-snow year of 1976-1977.Total Aspen skier days for the corp’s three mountains, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Snowmass were 1,047,978 for the [1975-1976] ski season, 420,508 for the 1976-1977 season, and then up to the new high of 1,065,233 for the 1977-1978 ski season. …”This was an interesting year,” remarked [ski corp public relations coordinator Jack] Brendlinger. “We had a credibility problem at the beginning of the season. As of Dec 29 we were about 45,000 skier days behind compared to skier days of 1975-1976 (the last big year). People didn’t come. They were afraid after the no-snow year.”Then for the next couple of weeks in January, we had a substantial jump. People went home after Christmas and told how good the skiing really was. And it seemed that everyone was starving for good skiing after that bad year. From then on during this season, Aspen did well.”A few Aspenites took an unusual step toward involvement in national politics.A precedent-setting attempt by three local residents and a local attorney to overturn the presidential pardon of former President Richard M. Nixon was dismissed by a federal judge last week.In an order dated April 13, US District Judge Sherman Finesilver granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss on grounds that his court declined to exercise jurisdiction and because the plaintiffs “do not have standing to raise the issue presented in their complaint.”The action was filed last year by Aspen attorney Carl R Nutzhorn on behalf of Robert Starr, James Ward and Ward’s son Casey James Ward. …In their action the Aspen men asked the court to issue a declaratory judgment holding the pardon of former President Richard Nixon by President Gerald Ford to be null and void as violative of the US Constitution.Last week we ran an item about the potential collapse of the sale of 2,900 acres in Snowmass over the building of a diversion in Snowmass Creek; an agreement was reached, and the sale went through.The $7 million sale of the Snowmass Corporation closed Friday with the developers and the Pitkin County commissioners commenting that an agreement reached earlier over water supplies for Snowmass Resort was highly satisfying to all concerned.After a marathon meeting April 12, the county and the Snowmass Water & Sanitation District hammered out an agreement that allows the district to divert water from the Snowmass Creek Valley, with provisions designed to guarantee that minimum stream flows for Snowmass Creek will be maintained.Because the county’s concern that the Snowmass Creek Valley not be excessively burdened for the benefit of the resort is adequately addressed by the agreement, according to commission Chairman Bob Child, the county will waive its opposition to the diversion. …[The agreement] stipulates that the district must make use of all water sources within the Brush Creek drainage before imposing a burden on Snowmass Creek, and that water storage facilities should be developed in the Brush Creek Valley before any such storage facility is built along Snowmass Creek.The county reserves the right to challenge legally any future proposals to build storage reservoirs along Snowmass Creek.