25/50/100 Years Ago

The Methodist congregation held its first service in Aspen in March 1885 at the skating rink. Within a year, a large Gothic-style church was erected where the Hotel Lenado is located today. The Methodist Church (see 1904 entry) flaunted a 65-foot tower and 32 electric lights.

Editor’s note: Microfilm of The Aspen Times from October 1903-1911 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 old year exited, escorted by a bitter cold spell. The paper reported,Glenwood Springs, Colo., Dec. 27 – The coldest weather of the season on the western slope is recorded today. At 6:00 o’clock this morning the thermometer registered 20 degrees below zero, at 10:00 o’clock it was 18 degrees below with indications of a slight moderation during the day.Telluride, Colo., Dec. 27 – At 11:00 o’clock the thermometer registered 20 degrees below zero. At 4:00 o’clock it was down to 25 degrees below and at 7:30 18 degrees below.If there was not suffering enough with frigid temperatures, there was pneumonia.At present a great deal of sickness is prevalent in the city, both old and young being the victims. One of the most severe cases of illnesses reported is that of Granma Sanborn who is very ill at the home of Mrs. Flora Brown on East Cooper. Her condition was reported very bad yesterday. Mrs. E.M. Burroughs, mother of the Mrs. William Platt, is reported critically ill at the Platt home on East Hallam, suffering from a very severe case of pneumonia. Owing to her age grave fears are entertained for her recovery, but many friends will hope for the best.John Q. Davidson, who owns a ranch on Maroon creek, is one of the victims of pneumonia. He is located at his ranch home and is receiving every possible care in the hope that he may enjoy a speedy recovery. The business of refunding Christmas gifts and taking advantage of post-holiday sales seemed to be as prevalent 100 years ago as it is today. The paper noted,By the number of people seen in the city stores yesterday one would think Christmas was still coming.

“About The City” column mentioned (and misspelled his name!) a visit by a rancher whose Gerbaz family has graced the Roaring Fork Valley for more than 100 years.Jerry Jerbaz, the popular rancher from Watson, was noted among Aspen’s business callers yesterday.Taking stock is appropriate as the year turns, so this reporter mused,Christmas is over, the long-looked for day has come and gone. Most of us have had one good square meal if we never have another. All that we have to do now is to think up some New Year’s resolutions to break. Remember that the New Year will soon be here so prepare yourself accordingly and let us live so that when we die every one will be sorry, even to the undertaker.In the same mood, this brief noted,The Methodist church [see photo] will hold revival services next week that you sinners may have a chance to get out of the snow. Take advantage of the opportunity and you’ll be happy.

An outbreak of pneumonia was worrisome 100 years ago; polio was the grave concern 50 years ago.The annual March of Dimes opened this week with a sober note of caution from Basil O’Connor of the Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, “We still do not know if the trial polio vaccine has prevented one case of paralytic polio … I know that parents are anxiously waiting for the answer. The scientific evaluation of the vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas E. Salk is a time-consuming and precise job involving detailed records on 1,830,000 children who either were vaccinated or are acting as controls.” …Mrs. Lotte Bresnitz is March of Dimes campaign chairman for Pitkin County. Mail or hand in your checks to her at Alpine Jewelers. From the wish-it-were-still-here file,Announcement was made … of the appointment of Will Hoff as General manager of the Aspen Lanes, cafe and dormitory, and Walt Smith as promotional manager … primarily responsible for the dormitory business and for fiscal advertising and promotional activities. …Teams are lining up for league play with the Aspen Lumber and Supply, Beck and Bishop, Aspen Laundry and Pitkin County Abstract Co. scheduled to commence league play this week. In addition teams from the Golden Horn, the Red Onion, Hotel Jerome (2 teams), Edie’s, Aspen Radio and Appliance and several other businesses are in the process of organization.A popular longtime local made the news. The paper reported,Mr. William Hodges Jr., President of the Aspen Skiing Corporation, has announced that at a meeting of the board of directors, Mr. Art Pfister of Aspen was elected to fill a vacancy on the board.

Two mysteries that today remain unsolved unfolded more than 25 years ago.After four years, the disappearance of Aspenite Fritz Stammberger in northern Pakistan is still a mystery, a German magazine, Freizeit Revue, concludes in its November issue.In an article headlined Bringt mir meinen sohn zuruck (bring my son back to me) the efforts of two German mountaineers to find Stammberger’s body last summer on the slopes of Tirich Mir [are described].The two were recruited by Stammberger’s father, Wolfgang, a resident of Munich, to fly to Pakistan and trek to the mountain to check out reports that a body had been found on the mountain that might have been his son’s.Frustrated at efforts to obtain news from the remote region by long distance phone, two of Stammberger’s Aspen friends, Bil Dunaway and George Vicenzi, flew to Pakistan in November 1975 to conduct their own search … but found no physical evidence, while climbing or later from a government helicopter, of the missing climber. However, during the summer of 1978 a Canadian climber reported that a partially mummified, unclothed body had been found on the upper slopes of the mountain but could not determine the age, size, or length of time since death, and did not bring a part down for more complete identification…. The article states that during five days on the mountain, [one mountaineer] found a pair of sunglasses, and an ice ax and a map, which he believed might have belonged to Stammberger, in a crevasse.The following caption ran beneath two photos of a forensic model, dubbed the Lenado Man by the community.Do you know this man? Dr. Stanley Rhine, forensic anthropologist at the University of New Mexico recreated the facial features of the unidentified man pictured here. His partially decomposed body was found in August by a group of mushroom hunters up near Lenado. If anyone has any clue to this man’s identity, call the Sheriff’s Department. In the 1960s, they were considered America’s first family. In the ’70s and ’80s, their holiday visits to Aspen unfailingly made the police blotter. The Kennedy clan returned to Aspen once again for the holidays and once again made the local news. On. Dec. 26, one of the Kennedys was arrested on suspicion of obtaining narcotic drugs by deceit after he allegedly called in a phony prescription to Aspen Drug pharmacy. …On New Year’s Eve, the Kennedy clan had made arrangements to dine at Galena Street East.Prior to their arrival, Police Chief Rob McClung said, an employee of the restaurant noticed an unidentified black box sitting under one of the restaurant tables, and assuming it was a bomb, called the Aspen police. … the box was taken to a secured area behind the courthouse to await the arrival of Fort Carson’s bomb squad.The next day, the bomb squad flew into Aspen, checked the box out with their X-ray equipment and noticed the presence of mechanical gears inside the box. The bomb squad then detonated the box only to discover the bomb contained an 8 mm movie projector.