AUGUST 1929And so began an Aspen tradition …Starting at 12:00 noon today, the Siren will blow instead of 9:00 at night. So don’t be alarmed when you hear the blast at noon today and each day hereafter. But if you hear it at night grab your clothes and run to the fire.The weather took a turn for the worse 75 years ago, and it caught the town’s “ginks” by surprise. The Times reported,Aspen experienced the worst storm in its history last Saturday afternoon when it rained in sheets and hail stones as big as marbles dropped in bunches of a million or more for at least an hour without any let-up.Gardens were ruined, flowers were demolished, windows were broken, and bumps as big as hen’s eggs developed on the cocos of the bareheaded ginks who were out in the open.Old timers of 60 years standing say it was the worst storm ever experienced in Aspen – and they ought to know … but nobody was hurt or drowned, for which let us be thankful.Work on the local railroad kept chugging along in 1929. The Times wrote,Work will soon start on the East Aspen terminus of the Pitkin County railroad and pushed continuously vigorously until completed, at least to Tourtelette Park. As soon as practical after that the road will be finished to Ashcroft.And what would the editors of the Times think of today’s metrosexual, let alone homosexual, man?The latest “fad” among the dudes is the wearing of bracelets. Think of a thing, calling itself a man, wearing bracelets on its wrists. Is it any wonder that strong minded women are becoming numerous? By contrast, any sensible girl would appear strong minded by the side of a masculine thing with bangles on its wrist. If any one of our Aspen dudes adopt this “fad” they may expect to get a dunking in the Roaring Fork.There’s oil in them thar hills …A well being dug on the Goodwin ranch, a short distance down the Roaring Fork, exposed a peculiar strata of rock. It is a very dark sand rock. It was later found that the rock was highly charged with oil. When it is broken it gives out a very strong petroleum odor, and the oil can be seen in it in some places.AUGUST 1954Under a picture of a local man with a very large fish, the Times reported:Reginald Kell caught this beauty in the Roaring Fork and entered it promptly in the Fish Contest sponsored by the Aspen Sports. This German Brown trout weighted 3 lbs., 5 oz., and was the largest fish entered in the Aspen Sports fishing contest that closed August 1. The first prize was a pair of Hodgman waders.Play ball …Flushed with victory and covered with glory the Ol’ Timers of Aspen limped back to their wheel chairs after outscoring the varsity town team. Nine to seven was the final count according to the mysterious methods employed by both umpires and their board of advisors, made up of Laurence Elisha, Tom Sardy and Satan. For generations, umpires have been called “Blind Tom” but the absolute proof has never been proved, until August 1, 1954. Nate Feinsinger, closely guarded by two expert riflemen, called ’em as he didn’t see ’em at the plate and Reginald Kell, as base umpire, established beyond a doubt that he is the world’s foremost clarinet player.AUGUST 1979Now one big happy family, there was no love lost between Aspen Highlands and the area’s other three ski mountains 25 years ago. The Times reported,Aspen Highlands Skiing Corp filed a federal suit in Denver against the Aspen Skiing Corp to get rid of two of its three ski mountains.The suit charges the company with monopolization and restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.Ironically, the two companies were suspected of price fixing in restraint of trade a few years ago.From the early 1960s through 1978 the firms offered a joint four-area ticket whereby skiers could use facilities of both companies.It seems Aspen has long used excuse after excuse to account for sagging tourist numbers. Under a photo of a jam-packed Hyman Avenue mall, the Times wrote:Some say it’s not a busy summer. There are always those who worry … one summer it was not a busy summer because of mall construction, another year it was prairie dogs with bubonic plague. This year it is the gasoline shortage. Ah well, most people (and there really are a lot of them) are not letting it all worry them. They are strolling Aspen’s mall and enjoying the summer.Fancy fund raisers are a dime a dozen these days. Of course few are held at the Red Onion, as was this one in 1979:An Evening with Danny Kaye and the Aspen Festival Orchestra highlighted this summer’s music festival, raising $100,000 for the Aspen Music School’s scholarship fund. Kaye surprised the audience and orchestra members with his spontaneous, extemporaneous style of conducting and then, following the concert, joined about 300 special guests at a dinner in the Red Onion. Some of the more notable guests attending the concerts and dinner included the Prince and Princess of Monaco, Twentieth Century Fox president Dennis Stanfill, Governor Dick Lamm, and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Dick.Now a cornerstone of Aspen’s cultural community, the Wheeler – and what to do with the historic opera house – was on many locals’ minds. The Times wrote,Although specific plans are still nebulous, renovations for the Wheeler Opera House seem past the talk stage and into the conceptual stage.In last week’s meetings of Aspenites interested in the future of a performing arts center, much of the discussion centered around renovation of the Wheeler.The consensus reached by a group of almost 100 people was that, if adequate funding could be appropriated, minimal restoration of the Wheeler should begin, and also the construction of a year-round facility to accommodate Ballet West and other large performing arts groups.People expressed concern with keeping Aspen a high-quality resort town, with a sense of history and an emphasis on culture.Ritchie Cohen, who has been active in Wheeler plans since the beginning of the Wheeler Task Force, called Aspen “a community on edge.”He warned that “the tourists are going to demand upgraded services, and if they cant get them here, they will go on to Sun Valley or other resorts.”The conclusion to a story the Times had been following for years …Theodore R. Bundy, 32, was sentenced to die in Florida’s electric chair.Judge Edward D. Cowart gave Bundy two death sentences and 198 years in prison for attacking five women in Tallahassee in January of 1978, killing two of them.Bundy refused to plead for his life.Before he was sentenced, he said, “I’m not asking for mercy. I find it somewhat absurd to ask for mercy for something I did not do.” …He faces a first-degree murder charge in the January 1975 abduction and slaying of a Michigan nurse who was vacationing at Snowmass.While awaiting trial for that murder, Bundy escaped twice – once from the Pitkin County Courthouse and once from the Garfield County Jail in Glenwood Springs.
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