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

August 1903

A picnic of a hundred years ago included an unusual type of race that probably couldn’t be repeated today – you’d be hard- pressed to find a group of fat women in Aspen.

The picnic yesterday at the old power house grove was a great success as all termed it who were fortunate enough to be there. The day was ideal for picnics. The table was loaded with the best that could be found. Hot coffee, good enough to make a man’s mustache curl, was made. A water melon the size of a small tub lay waiting for dessert. When the waiter went for it he found to his disgust that the small boys had been there first and nothing remained but a few rinds in the bushes. After dinner there were athletics by the children and a race of three heats by and between the fat and lean women. The fats won the first two heats. The leans claimed that they had been handicapped by too much dinner. The prize has not yet been awarded. The crowd finally dispersed feeling that they had had a very pleasant entertainment.



Aspen’s summer social season was certainly in full swing. The paper reported,

Yesterday was certainly a gala day in Aspen. There were three receptions and two parties. Many of the ladies put on their best bibs and and tuckers and sallied forth to pay calls during the afternoon, and the evening saw a goodly number of buggies and carriages, enjoying the air.




To the relief of firefighters, an ongoing fire in one of the local mines seemed to be relenting.

Reports from the fire in the Smuggler are to the effect that it is looking better than it has for a week. The smoke has drifted out and there is not so much now. The gas is also lighter and there is less to combat for the men who venture down into the mine. It was learned last evening that several men went into the Smuggler yesterday and came out again without having suffered any ill effects. This means that the gas has diminished, whether the smoke has or not.

The Times was not reluctant to speak up in support of the town’s four-legged population.

One of the greatest curses of children is cruelty to animals. Some children seem to have cruelty bred in them and nothing is done to eradicate it. The Times has called attention to this matter more than once and it believes that it has accomplished some good. Boys especially sometimes regard a stray cat or dog as legitimate prey for them. Animals have as much right to live as boys.

Sometimes a good long soak in a hot spring is all one needs to feel healthy.

Freeman Hunt has returned from Glenwood Springs. He says that he took the baths there for some time, having been a sufferer from rheumatism and general debility. He gained flesh surprisingly and is now feeling fit as a fiddle.

August 1953

Fifty years ago, local wranglers were preparing for the rodeo, an event that continues today in Snowmass Village.

The Aspen Saddle and Bridle Club will hold its second work day next Sunday when all who want to come to work will be furnished free beer and soft drinks. After the work is finished those with horses can practice roping calves. …

Rodeo officials report that the contract for the lights has been let and this work is to be completed well before Aug. 29 when the first performance takes place.

In tandem with the rodeo was the rodeo queen contest, a component that no longer lives on locally.

On page one of this issue is printed an entry blank by which ladies and girls who wish, can enter the Silver Stampede Rodeo Queen contest.

The contest is open to all women and girls who live in Pitkin County or whose parents maintain a home in the county. There is no age limit and the contestant must furnish her own horse and riding equipment.

And, in keeping with the Western theme, square dancing was also on the agenda in Aspen.

The music school will again sponsor a square dance at the Armory Hall Saturday night to which the public is invited.

David Barbee will be the caller.

The current home of the Aspen Art Museum used to house the first hydroelectric plant west of the Mississippi; in 1953, however, the plant entered its last stage of existence as the Holy Cross company took over providing electricity to Aspen.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has issued orders dated August 7, 1953, approving the sale of the Mountain Utilities Corporation’s electric generating and distribution system in Aspen to the Holy Cross Electric Association of Glenwood Springs.

Also dated August 7 is an order approving the transfer of the Aspen water system from the Mountain Utilities Corporation to a new company called the Aspen Water Company …

Holy Cross is paying $225,000 for the Aspen electric property and they have agreed to build a $60,000 line from Basalt to Aspen and bring power here from the Public Service Company’s high line there. They also have agreed to spend $60,000 on rebuilding the distribution system in Aspen.

After the high line is built to Basalt the Holy Cross plans to junk the hydro plant in Aspen.

The Thrift Shop continues to thrive today; 50 years ago the efforts of its volunteers helped provide the local hospital with modern equipment.

The Hospital Thrift Shop has donated two valuable pieces of equipment to the Pitkin County Hospital recently. These are an oxygen tent and a sterilizer.

This equipment is comparable to that used in the largest and most modern hospitals. The gifts are made possible by the day after day work of volunteers in operating the Thrift Shop and also by the generous donations and consignments of merchandise by citizens and visitors.

August 1978

What goes around comes around: 25 years ago Aspen developed Blackcomb, which was then purchased by Intrawest. Now Intrawest has established a presence in Aspen, as the company has been selected to build the proposed new base village at Snowmass.

Involved in several ski areas in this country and abroad, the Aspen Skiing Corporation may build and operate another one in Canada if a decision made last week by the Board of Directors bears fruit. …

This is to be adjacent to the existing village and resort of Whistler in British Columbia. Whistler is at the base of Whistler Mountain which has a vertical rise of 4,400 feet, one gondola, seven double chairlifts, two T-bars and a skier capacity of 5,300 at present.

The mountain to be developed is called Blackcomb and has a vertical rise of 4,000 and has been master planned for a capacity of 12,000 skiers. …

An idea that eventually came to be passed into law – a smoking ban in restaurants – was first broached.

After a sparsely attended public hearing Monday at which Ute City Banque restaurant owner Jerry Michael attacked the idea of establishing no smoking sections in local restaurants, the Pitkin County Clean Air Board resolved to attempt an air monitoring program to determine just how smoky various restaurants are.

Members of the board are pushing for some sort of regulation that would either ban smoking in restaurants entirely, or establish sections where non-smokers could avoid cigarette smoke.

Their aim, they say, is to protect the rights of non-smokers to breath smokeless air, not to infringe upon the rights of smokers.

The following account detailed the accomplishments of a speedy father-son cycling duo.

Aspen’s cycling Grewals placed eighth and 17th, respectively, in two separate events at the national cycle championships held July 29 in Milwaukee.

Jasjit, 42, finished among the group of breakaway sprinters that crossed the line first in the veteran’s competition, and though his time was only a tenth of a second behind the winter, he placed eighth.

Alexi, 17, recorded the 17th place finish in the junior class for 16-18 year-old riders. …

Alexi, who recently was selected as an alternate for the junior national cycling team, has now left school to pursue a full-time cycling career, his father said.

A longtime local, Robert Grueter, who became a judge in 1978, has gone from handing down sentences to distributing wine.

Pitkin County has a new county judge, Robert P. Grueter, 45, it was announced this morning, Thursday, Aug 10, by Governor Richard Lamm.

Grueter replaces John Wendt whose resignation, effective Aug 1, was announced several weeks ago. …

Wendt, who recently moved to Hotchkiss with his wife Dorothy, former Aspen City Attorney, was Pitkin County Judge for eight years.

Asked about his policies as county judge, Grueter told the Aspen Times that he had no preconceived policy. “I think each case must be tried on its merits,” he said.


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