Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago | AspenTimes.com
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Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago

August 1903

What to do in Glenwood Springs? Take a much-needed bath of course.

A.S. Thomson and John Bowman visited Glenwood yesterday to see the road race, and incidentally to take a bath. Mr. Thomson was so little accustomed to bathing that he forgot to take off his clothing, but put his bathing suit on over the rest of his garments and walked into the pool. He did not discover his mistake until a friend asked him what made him so dropsical.

Difficult was booming 100 years ago with word of a gold strike. The Times reported,

The report of the strike as announced in Difficult has created no little stir. It is now stated positively that there is no doubt of it and that the strike is a fine one and promising. Difficult Gulch is about nineteen miles from Aspen by road, and there is a good road that goes the entire distance. … This is certainly a gold formation and the finding of ore three feet thick with a big spray that they know where it is and who the owners are. Difficult Gulch will be as great as many another promising camp which has blossomed out into glory after years of failure.

The Quiet Years were just around the corner, but The Times and the townsfolk were doing everything in their power to prevent Aspen’s downfall. In two different stories, the Times wrote,

One of the prominent mining men of Aspen made the statement in the office of The Times last evening that he was willing to bet that in five years from today Aspen would have double the number of people in it that it has now. The Times would be glad to mention his name, but he bought the reporter off. Seriously speaking, The Times believes that he is right and that his prophecy will come true. …

The Times is now preparing a pamphlet to be distributed all over the state and nation. It will be a handsome booklet advertising the city of Aspen and the county round about. It sets forth all the many advantages of living in this clime and land, and will doubtless have its effect. The work is being done under the instructions and order of the Commercial Club.

Now a symbol of the Aspen of old, Hannibal Brown started making the news in 1903.

Hannibal Brown met with a sad accident yesterday while carrying a tray full (of dishes) across the street. He slipped just as he reached the sidewalk, and the dishes and their contents were spread in artistic confusion over a wide area.

Forget the full moon … how about a comet to get people going wild?

An exchange says that a comet is now visible to the naked eye near the big dipper. As a result there should be an increase in the marriage licenses soon. Anything in the star line always brings the young folks out in the moonlight.

August 1953

The rodeo is now a staple of Aspen’s summer season. Fifty years ago, it was just getting its start. The Times wrote,

Aspen will have a two-day rodeo, August 29 and 30 to be named the Aspen Silver Stampede according to Whipple Jones, secretary and treasurer of the newly organized Aspen Saddle and Bridle Club, a nonprofit Colorado corporation.

Already this week the ground has been leveled and construction started on the club grounds located 1/8 mile west of the Maroon Creek bridge on Highway 82 west of Aspen. …

While the first event sponsored by the club will be the Aspen Rodeo, several other activities will be sponsored throughout the year. Among them will be horse shows, riding instruction and practice roping, jumping and rodeos.

Future Aspen Institute president Bob Craig continued to tell of his experiences in climbing K2 in Pakistan. Here he wrote to friends Tish Klanxhja and Mario Lalli,

I am running out of your matches, I fear; however, I am saving one box for the higher camps, so you will be well remembered on the mountain.

We are 80 miles from our departure point, Skardu, the capitol of Balistan, and the journey thus far has been one of almost fantasy-like quality. The mountains are almost beyond description and the intersection of these magnificent peaks with cultures old and primitive gives an intensity of experience seldom achieved. …

Big news for hunters in 1953 …

The Colorado Game and Fish commission announced the first hunting season on Bighorn mountain sheep for this state in 68 years, for 11 days, Sept. 3-13 inclusive. The season will be limited to residents of Colorado, to Bighorn rams with horns having a half curl or more, and to certain areas.

A total of 169 Bighorn permits will be issued. Two areas are located close to Aspen.

One hundred years ago, Difficult was alive with gold-seekers. Fifty years ago, it was partiers that kept the area hopping. The Times reported,

Nearly one hundred persons, members of the Aspen Elks Lodge and their guests, enjoyed the annual picnic Saturday evening at the Difficult Camp grounds. A delicious fried chicken dinner with all the trimmings was served, games were played, and prizes given to the winners. Following the picnic the crowd adjourned to the Elks Home where dancing was enjoyed until a late hour.

August 1978

Season ski passes have always been newsworthy. In 1978, the county commissioners got in on the action.

Pitkin County Commissioner Joe Edwards Monday told District Ranger Tom Bell that the Forest Service should include issue of the season pass in its ski area approval process.

He said high-ranking Forest Service official Zane Smith has established as agency policy the fact that season tickets will not be required for area approval, but that the agency could consider the season pass issue as part of its overall economic analysis.

Edwards said the lack of a pass here has had a negative impact on the availability of help for local businesses, and he said the Forest Service should consider that impact before it issues new ski area development permits.

“The only reason someone comes here to work for $500 a month is to be able to ski,” according to Edwards who said that employees in that income bracket simply cannot ski if it costs them $15 per day.

The District Attorney’s office continued to make headlines, even after the firing of Frank Tucker.

New District Attorney Chuck Leidner introduced himself to Pitkin County commissioners at their meeting Monday and said he planned to eliminate one attorney from the Aspen office.

Leidner said that he and Steve Hagen, who handled district court matters in Garfield County, will prosecute felonies.

Leidner was appointed by Gov. Lamm to replace Frank Tucker after Tucker’s conviction June 21 on two felony counts of embezzlement of public funds.

The ski-town rivalry between Aspen and Crested Butte has a long tradition, as evidenced by this article in The Times,

Aspenites know that their governments have been trying to control growth for a number of years, but to a recent visitor from Crested Butte, their efforts have been unsuccessful.

Last week the urbanization of Aspen caused “cultural shock” to one visitor from Crested Butte, Gil Hersch, who described his experiences here in an article in the Crested Butte Chronicle.

Among his other comments Hersch stated: “There was no question that we were in culture shock. The contrast between Crested Butte and Aspen was overwhelming. However, the contrast between Aspen and Third Avenue in New York City was hardly noticeable. It was as if the city had been transplanted in the mountains.

“The more we though about the people in the street, the more Crested Butte came into perspective. Aspen is a city; it is manmade. When you are in its streets, the mountains disappear. People become more important in that kind of environment and their creations and possessions paramount. …”

Local planners were talking about floor area restrictions 25 years ago (and they’re still talking about it today).

Despite a negative recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission several weeks ago, the city will proceed with plans to adopt some form of floor area ratio restrictions for houses and duplexes in residential areas.

After studying the matter for over a year with countless meetings, study sessions and public hearings, the PZ decided last spring against recommending FAR regulations, but to ask the council to study creation of a H-Historic district instead.

In January, the planners agreed with a suggestion by PZ Chairman Chic Collins that provided for restrictive FAR regulations for the residential districts with provisions that those wishing to exceed the base ratios would have to apply for special review.


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