25/50/100 Years Ago
Editor’s note: Microfilm of The Aspen Times from October 19031911 is missing from the Pitkin County Library. To continue our journalistic history of Aspen, we include excerpts from The Aspen Democrat, the Times’ competitor 100 years ago.The editor decided it was time to clean up a certain neighborhood.The stand taken by the Democrat yesterday relative to the view of the red light district is receiving much favorable comment and every good citizen agrees with this paper in saying that the first view of the passengers upon stepping off the train is a disgraceful and shameful one. There, spread out before the travelers is Durant street with its row of cribs between Galena and Hunter streets and in each doorway is attending a beautiful, beer-bloated dovelet, with a bright pink, blue or red costume hanging from the shoulders (short at both ends) grinning like a “Chessy” cat or some other kind of cat.The city authorities should see to it that this custom cease at once or else build a high-board fence between the red light district and the depot, or better still, move the dovelets to a more remote district where they can’t flaunt their shame in the face of every incoming passenger.Downsizing was a concern even 100 years ago. The paper announced,Beginning with the first of the year the telephone company has decided to make a very marked change in the present force of the “hello” girls and after next Sunday, the force will be cut down from five to one and a messenger boy. Miss Alice Everett will have entire charge. Joe Roda, who has the management of the Aspen office will be transferred to Glenwood.A Christmas report on the mood, weather and business:Wasn’t it a jolly Christmas? Old Santa called on every little child in the Crystal City of the Rockies.
Christmas Day was a dandy for Aspen. About six inches of the beautiful and the jingling of sleigh bells made the day resound with “Peace On Earth, Good Will To Men.””How was trade this Christmas as compared with the last five years?” This was the question and answer put to most every merchant in town yesterday. Prosperity is with us and with us to stay.Always an Aspen booster, the paper reported optimistically,A great deal of interest has recently been centered on Tourtelotte park [see photo] as a coming mining center and for some time past, several of those engaged in active development work at that point report fine showings. The most encouraging news to come from there recently however, is the reported strike made by Mr. Miller, an old time resident of the park. He is engaged in development work on the Edison and recently uncovered a big body of high grade ore. A number of samples have been tested and several have run, as high as 200 ounces in silver. This is certainly good news and means much to those interested.
The Forest Service report from 50 years ago is a familiar one today.The 1954 Forest Fire Season has ended as a result of a record snow fall over the Rocky Mountain region. This comes as a great relief to forest rangers, state foresters and local people living in and adjacent to the forested areas.The 1954 fire season was a very difficult one due to the severe drought over the entire Rocky Mountain Region. … the Forest Service enlisted the support of local people living in and adjacent to the forests, local townspeople, farmers and ranchers. According to Donald E. Clark, Regional Forester, the work done, as well as man hours contributed by these people, was outstanding. …Figures recently released show that Colorado forests had 279 fires, 116 of which were man-caused. … The total area burned over in Colorado national forests was 1,112 acres as compared to 1,358 acres in 1953.Here’s a New Year’s resolution, published on the front page Dec. 30, to heed any year.I, Aspen Citizen, do hereby resolve that starting January first, 1955, I will no longer hide behind the too busy screen and will discard the let George do it attitude I have been using to evade my responsibility to my community and to my fellow man.I pledge my allegiance to the progress of Aspen and will do anything and everything in my power to promote Aspen welfare and development. I will use any talent I have – great or modest – in any project I am asked to take part in and will volunteer to participate in programs designed to benefit the wonderful town I live in.My ears will be the last to listen to gossip, slander or rumors. My fellow citizens will be right until proved wrong. I will use all my sense to prevent any twisting or distortion of reports on persons or things. …My measure will be the GOLDEN RULE.
Aspen received some cruel Christmas presents during the busy holiday season 25 years ago.On Thursday afternoon, Dec. 20, at approximately 12:30 pm, an unidentified male voice called the Bank of Aspen to report a bomb had been placed in the bank.Bank officials immediately cleared out the building and called police, who searched the area for about an hour before discovering an unidentified Christmas box under the bank’s Christmas tree. … Aspen police called in a bomb squad from Fort Carson and just in case, cleared a two block area around the bank.The bomb squad arrived shortly after 4 pm, checked out the box with X-ray equipment and determined the box was just another of the wrapped packages under the tree. …The bank was cleared by 6 pm that evening, too late to reopen for the day.Firemen and police were called from Christmas celebrations last Tuesday when a bomb threat, the second in one week, was reported at the Aspen Bar and Grill restaurant in the Mill Street Station.Fire Chief Willard Clapper disclosed that emergency crews were unable to locate anything that looked potentially dangerous, and the search was called off.”But it’s a scary thing,” he commented. “I’m afraid that we’ll become complacent about all these empty threats, and you never know when it might be the real thing.”Aspen’s clear mountain air was not evident for the 1979 holidays. The paper reported,The recent temperature inversion, caused by holiday traffic and smoke from fireplaces, hovered over Aspen last week in a visible layer of smog noticeable from higher elevations such as Red Mountain, Mountain Valley and the Mclain Flats Road. [Tom] Dunlop said the carbon monoxide level this year is the highest he’s seen it in his three years as environmental health officer.When the air pollution levels reach 35 parts per million, Dunlop said the city and county environmental health officers have the authority to call an alert, which would literally halt all traffic within the city (except emergency vehicles) and ban the use of fireplaces.In her Around Aspen column, Mary Eshbaugh Hayes expressed a sentiment frequently felt in mountain resorts at Christmastime.Undercurrent … long working hours, not enough pay, no time or money to ski, overdrawn for Christmas presents, living with a crowd … really give Aspenites the bah-humbugs during Christmas and New Year’s, and the attitude gets worse every year.
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Aspen teachers and school officials have come to an agreement regarding reopening in-person education Monday.