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April 1903

According to this report of election day, Aspen voters were far from apathetic, especially with the apparent potential for brawls over candidate preference.



Election day dawned clear and warm and overhead everything was bright and fair. The snow in melting left the streets heavy with mud, but the busy wagons, cabs and carriages carried voters to the polls all day long without hindrance.




At noon the voting had not been heavy, but by night a fair vote was polled. In one precinct 277 were registered and about 220 cast ballots there. Practically the same ratio governed in the other precincts.

There were no street brawls and the voters went quietly to the voting places and did their duty. The result is excellent from party and business standpoints. The citizens ticket elected a majority of its candidates. The democrats have no kick coming and the republicans are not at all dissatisfied with the results. The socialists alone are without a single victor to cheer them.

Even a hundred years ago, the loss of a pet made The Aspen Times.

John Thorn is mourning the loss of his favorite cow. This morning he milked her and then went to his breakfast. While sitting at the table he heard that his cow was sick. As quickly as he could he got there, he was too late and bossy was dead. She was bloated and he thinks it must have been caused by something in the alfalfa, which resulted in her untimely end. The cow was a sort of a family pet and John was sad all day on account of her demise.

This report of a disturbance caused by a couple of trigger-happy, potentially drunk men followed one about the Jerome bar having done big business the same night – coincidence?

Night before last there was a shooting in the town but nobody lost his life and nothing was hurt except a couple of window lights. Two men, presumably under the influence of liquor, appeared at the cabin door of a man living in the outskirts of the city and asked for someone whom they said they wanted. The inmate declared that nobody of that name lived there. The outsiders then demanded that he come out, and fired a host in the air to emphasize their desire for a conversation with him. He made no appearance and then the two men tried for his window panes and broke two with bullets. Still the man inside the cabin made no move to show himself and the wild west boys took their departure.

The Times made a plea regarding a public health issue of sorts involving pencils.

It is with regret that we notice that the children of the present day have the lead pencil habit – the habit of sticking their lead pencils in their mouths to dampen them so that they will make a blacker mark. …

It is an evil habit and should be broken. In school as well as elsewhere it carries disease germs around and distributes them promiscuously everywhere. The lead is supposed to be poisonous and it is certainly not particularly wholesome. It is a dirty habit, even though you use only your own pencil.

April 1953

Aspen once hosted a car race through the streets of town, which certainly had danger potential for some of the spectators.

The Aspen City Council agreed at their meeting Monday night to permit the holding of the third Annual Sports Car race during the month of September over the same course as last year.

The Council heard Dr. Robert Barnard offer to the city in behalf of the Sports Car Club at least $1,000.00 worth of oil to spread on that part of the course that caused such a cloud of dust last year.

The Council cautioned that the club would have to supervise the race better this year especially keeping people away from outside corners at the turns.

Highway 82 between Aspen and Basalt – a portion of which is currently under significant reconstruction – was no treat for spring drivers 50 years ago.

Pitkin County road crew will begin patching Highway 82 within the next few days …

The picture on this page shows a typical section of the 18 miles of State Highway between Aspen and Basalt. The road was originally laid in 1938 and torn up and relaid in 1948. The road seems to be doing a good job of going to pieces this spring, long stretches of the shoulder are crumbling and innumerable chuck holes of a size and depth that will blow out tires and break wheel suspensions are the rule rather than the exception. …

The road is bad and the commissioners know it and admit [it]. Until the gravel-oil mix is received motorists can do nothing except slow down and dodge the holes, if they can.

A photo was accompanied by the following caption; one of the apartments was eventually rented by Stein Eriksen, and today the building houses Les Chefs d’Aspen and other stores.

Remodeling of the old Bowman block into modern apartments after plans drawn up by architect-contractor Fritz Benedict is progressing rapidly. A new heating plant has been installed and some of the apartments have been rented already. The Bowman block, located in the 500 block on East Cooper Ave. is one of Aspen’s old landmarks and Fritz Benedict purchased it from Hans Hagemeister. The most famous part of the building is the Bowman Musee Saloon, built in the late 90s by J. L. Bowman.

The history of the Woody Creek Store goes back at least 65 years, as evidenced by this news item.

Mr. and Mrs. Jess Bogue have sold the Woody Creek Store to Mr. and Mrs. Ernest L. Jones. Mr. and Mrs. Bogue have run the store for the past fifteen years and since selling it, have moved to Basalt where they will make their home.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones have resided in the Woody Creek area for the past five years and will handle the same type of merchandise in the store as it has carried in the past.

April 1978

Times columnist Peggy Clifford captured the wistful end-of-season mood in town 25 years ago.

Aspen looks like nothing so much now as a half-struck stage set. It’s been a long run, the actors are listless, some have even forgot their lines, and the scenery is worn, a bit shabby. …

On resident players’ faces only a kind of shock blooms. Countless eyes seem to say, “What was that?”

What that was was the winter of 1978 – the biggest, fastest winter in the history of this valley.

It began hesitantly, was still warm and dry when it should have been cold and wet. The prospect of another hot, sunny winter made many people uneasy. But, as it turned out, this winter was like a confident actor so sure of himself that he could arrive only moments before the curtain went up.

It snowed, of course, and snowed, and snowed and snowed. …

All in all, with its deep, long snows, record crowds, the arrival of Fox and the departure of so many young people, the winter of ’77-78 was a watershed, literally and figuratively, hinting that springtime in the Rockies will be unusually interesting.

The following item about the death of a swimmer makes you wonder what was in the water.

A Wisconsin woman in Aspen for a ski vacation, went swimming in the Continental Inn pool March 30 and when she climbed out of the pool, witnesses said, she passed out. …

[She] was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital where she later died of unknown causes.

A report on tax returns reflected a gap between Aspen’s haves and have-nots that has never been closed.

Elmer Beamer, volunteer financial consultant to Pitkin County, this week came up with some interesting statistics about county residents who filed income tax returns in 1972.

A little more than half of the 4,841 persons filing income tax returns that year showed gross income of under $5,000, or an average income of $2,314. …

The group making less than $5,000 paid 4% of their income in taxes and their total payments accounted for 3% of the total federal income taxes collected in the county.

At the opposite extreme, there were 739 returns filed that showed more than $15,000 gross income, 16% of the returns. … This group paid 23% of their income in taxes. Their total payments accounted for 76% of the total federal income taxes collected in the county.

A cleanup initiative started a quarter of a century ago would be just as useful today.

When Aspen melts out in the springtime, all you can see is trash.

Garbage in the alleys. Broken beer bottles in the streets. Newspapers blowing in the wind. Dog mess everywhere.

This springtime is such a shocker that Mayor Stacy Standley has organized a citizen’s committee to try to find a way to clean up Aspen. …

Standley calls it his Pride In Aspen Program. …

Standley explained the need for action this week to the Aspen Times, “We’re getting to be more and more of a big city. There’s no way the city can hire enough people to pick up all the people’s beer cans and cigarette butts that get dumped around this town.


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