Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago
July 1903In case you didn’t know, playing with guns is a “dangerous” habit. The Times warned,Night before last there was a gunplay in the Buckhorn. Two citizens of Aspen became engaged in an altercation and one of them called the other a name. The second man procured a gun and demanded an apology. It is understood that no apology was forthcoming. No shooting was done. The gun habit is a dangerous one and somebody is apt to get hurt one of these days.There’s gold in them thar hills, or at least it appeared that way 100 years ago. The Times reported,It is reported that another rich strike has been made in Lincoln Gulch and that the ore is alive with gold and that it is a regular bonanza. The Times believes that Lincoln Gulch is all that has ever been claimed for it and that in the near future it will be second to no camp in the state.Bad boys, bad boys … what ya gonna do? In 1903, send them away. The Times wrote,Judge Gray yesterday filed an information against certain boys in the city for general bad behavior. It is understood that the mother could not control them and it is extremely probable that they will be sent to the institution which makes a business of controlling boys. The case will come up in the county court.Before the Snowmass Village rodeo brought bucking broncos to the valley, locals just rode ’em on the streets, including this young man.A small boy on a bucking burro amused the people along Mill and Main streets yesterday. The animal acted like the trick money at the circus, but the small boy will make a rough rider for he stayed with the saddle and smiled at the efforts of the unruly beast to unseat him.It seems funding for the arts has always been a challenge. One hundred years ago, music was under fire.The Aspen City Band gave what is understood to be its farewell concert in front of the Jerome last night. The music was fine and the boys play well together – but money is necessary and not forthcoming.The weather is always newsworthy, and such was the case in the summer of 1903.The climate of Aspen this summer is delightful. In the past there has been but one drawback and that not a very serious one. In the summer time it is frequently the case that Aspen is dusty. Not dusty like Pueblo, but fair to middling dusty. This year just enough rain falls to keep the roads in good condition.July 1953The dusty days of summer in Aspen were just a memory 50 years ago. The Times wrote,Aspen’s streets are oiled. After several weeks of waiting for equipment to arrive, Aspen’s streets were very quickly and efficiently sprayed with a light road oil last weekend and from now on to the end of the season, Aspenites and visitors will be practically free of the blinding, swirling dust.Stuart Mace was well-known for his prize-winning team of Huskies. Now he was in the news for another venture. The Times reported,This hole in the ground is the start of a long cherished dream of Stuart Mace who has planned for years to research on Alpine flowers at Toklat Lodge at Ashcroft. This high altitude green house will be 15 by 38 feet with only the high peaked glass roof above the surface of the ground.Stuart plans to do things with several of the alpine flowers but especially with the blue gentian which he hopes to develop into a commercial plant that can be grown in greenhouses in all parts of the country. There is a a definite place in the flower world for a blue flower such as the gentian, he says.Aspen was on the map, literally, in 1953. A small city was established at Sparky’s Trailer Camp last Monday when 24 trailers were parked there belonging to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey and to its employees. …The 26 members of the U.S. C. & G. S. unit are engaged to establish exact latitude and longitude of certain markers and monuments in this and other sections of the United States as a basis for a complete and accurate mapping of the whole country.Markers to be established by complete and accurate surveys will be Sopris, Castle, Treasury and other high peaks in the Aspen area.Forget the latest best seller; the Good Book was the latest addition to the local library 50 years ago. The Times simply stated,A new book on the shelves of Pitkin County Library is the revised standard version of the Holy Bible.Aspen City Hall … the Double Diamond of 50 years ago?Free square dancing for everyone is being held every week in the Aspen Armory from 8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The dances are sponsored by the Entertainment Committee for Institute and Humanities students and all costs are paid by the Aspen Institute.”We hope all residents of Aspen who like to dance will join us on these Saturday nights,” said Mrs. Grosvenor Cooper, sponsor of the dance.And this week’s “Business of the Week” …The Aspen Art Center came into being with a chance visit to Aspen by its founder, Louis Wille, in 1951. …The Art Center, located at the corner of Bleeker and 1st streets, provides classes for adults and children in painting, sculpture, ceramics, leathercraft, and wood cuts. …Both Mr. and Mrs. Wille give instruction in the art classes, and they use the method of teaching that a true understanding of art comes from doing it yourself.July 1978To four-lane or not to four-lane? That was the question 25 years ago (and ever since, it seems). The Times offered this update,Dist Highway Engineer Dick Prosence told the Basalt Chamber last week that the highway department will recommend no new construction on Highway 82 east of Wingo Junction unless there is an “attitude change” in Pitkin County.Many Aspen residents and Pitkin County officials have been critical of proposals to extend the four-lane highway into Pitkin County.Prosence said money for highway improvements is too tight. If there is opposition, it will be spent where there is no opposition.And more transportation news …Senator Floyd Haskell, (D-Colo), has urged the Urban Mass Transit Administration (UMTA) to act promptly on a plan to ease transportation problems in Pitkin County.In a letter to Richard Page, administrator of UMTA, Haskell noted that county officials have been waiting for a response from the agency in order to implement a busway program between the city of Aspen and the airport.Pitkin County originally proposed a light rail transit system connecting Aspen with the airport and Snowmass. UMTA also held up a decision on that project until Haskell intervened to expedite a 1976 planning grant for a transit alternatives study. The study, begun in August 1976 and completed in the summer of 1977, concludes that a busway is the most cost effective project for the county.A controversial cloud-seeding program got the thumbs down from the ski corp 25 years ago. The Times reported,Efforts by the Denver Water Department to arouse interest in a privately-funded cloud seeding program in Colorado’s central mountains next fall and winter do not have the support of the Aspen Skiing Corporation.The Denver Water Department has indicated that it would pay $27,000 toward the $92,000 cost of a cloud seeding project …James Ogilvie, manager of the Denver Water Department, said the project should produce an additional 150,000 acre feet of spring run-off for use by Eastern Slope water users.Ogilvie added that he expected ski resorts and communities to contribute the remaining $55,000 for the project.However, ski corp general manager Tom Richardson stated flatly that the Aspen Skiing Corporation had no intention of participating in the project. “We’re going to let nature take its course,” he told KSNO reporters.There was a time that volunteering in the valley had tangible benefits: ski passes. Of course things were starting to change 25 years ago. The Times reported,The Community Service Ticket Committee announced at its recent meeting that the application format for the community volunteer lift ticket will change from individual applications, as in past years, to group applications submitted by the service organization leaders.”In order to maintain the esteem of this award and its continuation as a meaningful honor, the committee will have to rely on the expertise of the various organization leaders,” stated committee chairman Jim Ward. Founded six years ago by the Aspen Skiing Corporation and the Aspen Highlands Skiing Corporation, the community service ticket program attempts to honor residents who contribute a significant amount of personal time toward civic betterment in the greater Aspen/Snowmass community.
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