Aspen History 101
December 13, 2006
One of the most fun things during Aspen’s lighthearted years of the 1970s was Aspen State Teachers College, a tongue-in-cheek college founded by Marc Demmon and Al Pendorf. The college treated the whole town as its campus and taught classes such as Garaging 210 (how to put on a Garage Sale), Elementary Reading 102 (how to read the newspaper classifieds), Real World History 323 (how to adjust to the real world after Aspen), and Auto Mechanics 202 (how to start a 1949 Jeep in the winter). Marc was Dr. Slats Cabbage, president of the college, and Al was Fulton Begley III, dean of women. They sponsored sports teams and printed handbooks and T-shirts. I even knew someone who used his Aspen State Teachers College ID card to get a U-Rail pass in Europe.To reintroduce some of this fun, the Aspen Historical Society last week held an Aspen History 101 class in the Wheeler Opera House with longtime Aspenites teaching the history and concluding with a “mixer” for members of the freshman class of Aspen – the young people who have come to town from all over the world to work in the ski industry. The cast of characters teaching the history included narrator John Goss, Scott MacCracken as Miner Bill, Cara Daniel as Sarah Sterling, Dick Osur as Jerome B. Wheeler, Tony Vagneur as his own great-grandfather Jeremie Vagneur, Wendy Perkins as Ella Stallard, Bill Sitrling as The Mayor, Marc Demmon as Dr. Slats Cabbage, Polly Ross as a true ski bum, Chris Klug as a snowboarder dude, and Vince Lahey as Professor Longboards. The event was the idea of Georgia Hanson, director of the Historical Society, who was a student in ASTC back then.There have been special birthday parties lately. Klaus Obermeyer was feted at a birthday celebration held at the Sundeck, with many of his friends and co-workers enjoying strudel instead of cake. Klaus told many funny stories and yodeled for the crowd.
Billy Stolz, long a host at the Caribou Club, was guest of honor at a birthday party given by Richard Edwards. It was held in the Collins Block penthouse that was the home of the late Harley Baldwin, who rescued and renovated both the Brand Building and the Collins Block, which includes the Caribou Club in the basement.January magazines are really into featuring Aspen. The first-of-the-year issue of Cowboys and Indians has a write-up and photos of the wedding of Molly Beattie and Tom Bedell in August at their Peace Ranch high above the Fryingpan Valley. There is an interview with Woody Creek patriarch George Stranahan that includes many of George’s photographs. The article delves into the many facets of George’s reputation and personality – educational reformer and innovator, professional level physicist, cultural and artistic leader, community organizer, entrepreneurial businessman, photographer, whisky maker, rancher, social anarchist … and now a tree farmer. And another article features Dale Chihuly, who is the modern master of glass as fine art and whose work is in many Aspen homes and Aspen art galleries.
Klaus Obermeyer not only celebrated his birthday, but Colorado Expression magazine did a major article about him and his 60-year-old Aspen-based ski clothing company. Undercurrent … With all the heavy snow so early this winter, the little birds are having a hard time finding enough to eat. Every morning about three of them have gotten brave enough to hang on the window of our front door, reminding me to hurry up and feed them.