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

Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago

August 1903

Much like today, with the end of summer came the beginning of the school year. The Times wrote,

The small boys are listening with dread for the first sound of the school bell. They have had a jolly vacation for three months and if they are like most boys, they do not hanker to return to dry studies and quiet school rooms any sooner than they have to. However the time is approaching when the bell will ring and they will be summoned to resume hard work at their books. A week from Monday is the first day of school. As that happens to be Labor Day also, they will be merely expected to report at the school house, get their assignments and places and may then enjoy the rest of the day as they desire.

It was happy hour at the Times.

Thursday Frank Kissling, agent for Golden Beer, left one dozen bottles of the product of the state, and the people of the office did not delay to sample the goods. The man who is considered an authority on beer declares that it is as good or better than the product farther east. The courtesy was appreciated by The Times force, and the beer was as good as the courtesy.

Silver was in the news 100 years ago, with these two stories appearing in the Times,

It is said that the cause of the sudden and almost unprecedented rise in the price of silver is the great British demand. If the British will kindly keep on demanding the people of Colorado will be much obliged.

A noted geologist once said: “Draw a straight line from Waunita to Pitkin. Then go to the center and prospect east of that line for a radius of a mile. A number of mineral bearing formations coverage at this point and here should be opened some very rich mines. It is the best territory I know of for prospecting.” The Bowerman strike is in this circle.

Before there was the noon whistle, there was the mine whistle. The Times wrote,

Last evening a prolonged whistle from the east end of town startled the sleeping babies and made the nervous women press their hands to their temples. It whistled and whistled and kept on whistling until the men began to inquire the cause for it. It seems that the Mollie mill has run out of ore and had a little steam left, which they proceeded to utilize in whistling. For a time all sorts of wild rumors of death, fire and accident were flying about the streets, but it was finally learned that it was nothing but a sort of mill swan-song. Might as well wear out the whistle as not.

August 1953

The headline said it all: “Never underestimate the power of women!”

Last Wednesday a committee of women met to discuss ideas and plans to fight the dam project to be built here in Aspen. An open discussion on the pros and cons was held. We need every visitor and resident to help us fight the Roaring Fork Diversion plan, which will eventually destroy Aspen and surrounding communities on the western slope.

The five year boom is not worth the fifty year bust!

The Aspen Institute and its music festival received high praise 50 years ago.

To the Editor:

May I use your column to pay tribute of the Aspen Institute and to all who make it possible.

I have visited most of the music festivals in Europe and the United States – but – nowhere have I found what you have here.

Aspen is unique – in that it combines the finest quality of music, in a great variety of forms, plus discussions of public affairs, involving a variety of points of view. All this in a setting of mountain beauty that induces health of body and spirit.

Too many artists in our time have felt that public affairs were not of their concern and too many business leaders have felt that art was not of their world. Here, at the Aspen Institute, you have a fusion of both which is so important to the whole life of our country.

Anyone who knows Aspen realizes that this has come about through the vision and untiring effort of Mr. Paepcke and his associates.


Arthur Bennett Lipkin


Birmingham Symphony

August 1978

A photo essay on the county fair included this commentary on life in the Roaring Fork Valley,

Aspenites may think of themselves in summer as super sophisticated cultured people. But most people are glad there is still downvalley. They like the ambiance of the ranch country.

Nowhere was that more evident than at the Pitkin County Fair when a cross-section of over 1,500 Aspenites turned out to milk cows, catch calves, buy and sell livestock, show off canning and cooking skills.

Or just sit on the fence and watch it all.

Now an integral part of Aspen’s intellectual offerings, the physics institute was still growing 25 years ago,

Sixteen years ago three men joined forces and began plans for a new think tank in Aspen, independent from the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies; it was to be an esoteric center devoted to the science of theoretical physics.

For the first six years the physics center was tied to the Institute, but in 1968 the center split off and became its own independent nonprofit entity. The second building was erected in 1967 by an outside group connected with the Fermi National Accelerator Labs.

Three years ago, according to acting president of the center, Paul Fishbane, the center began raising funds to erect one more building. Last Friday, Aug. 18, the center held an open house to initiate its final building in the complex.

Growth management, it seems, has always been newsworthy. The Times wrote,

Local efforts to control growth are apparently successful this year, reports from the city and county building departments indicate.

They show construction values were well below those of last year, both for July and the seven months ending July 31. …

Both Aspen and Pitkin County adopted growth control plans during 1977 and some people attribute the construction activity last year to anxiety by developers to launch projects before the plans could be fully implemented.

Following two rapes, the editors of the Times offered this opinion,

Many of Aspen’s young adults work in the business of Aspen’s night life. If they don’t work in the night life of Aspen, they are attracted to it. It is part of their lifestyle.

Many of these young adults live in Silverking.

And in between town and Silverking is a dark uninhabited area. A dark and dangerous area.

Two rapes occurred there during the past two weeks.

Granted that it is reasonable to expect women to take precautions and not walk alone at night. It seems reasonable that if they don’t have private transportation, they should catch the bus.

A city bus runs through the area every 20 minutes, connecting town to Silverking. The last bus runs at 12 midnight.

But the night life in Aspen does not close at 12 midnight. Most restaurant people are still working. The bars close at 2 am.

One of the women reported the last bus passed her by. So she walked. The other woman was attacked when she walked home at 1 am.

The city should run buses until Aspen realistically closes down. And that is more like 2 am than 12 midnight.

This year a group of local climbers were turned back on Mt. Everest; in 1978, a local climber was also denied a Himalayan summit. The Times reported,

A quartet of American climbers including Aspen’s Michael Kennedy has returned after a tantalizingly close but unsuccessful attempt upon the 23,400-foot summit of Latok I, an unclimbed peak in the Karakoram range of the Pakistani Himalayas.

The group made a technically difficult, alpine-style attempt on the mountain, one of the precipitous Biafo Peaks. They spent 26 days on the route and reached an elevation of 22,900 feet before storms and illness suffered by one member of the party forced them to retreat.

“Now, when I look at pictures of how close we came, I feel frustrated but on the whole I’m satisfied with our achievement. We did 99% of what we set out to do and it was only bad luck that stopped us.”

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