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

Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago

September 1903

One hundred years ago, the first day of school fell on Labor Day. The Times entreated,

School begins tomorrow, but the scholars will not be deprived of their holiday. They will repair to the school houses and have their assignments given to them. They will then be dismissed until Tuesday morning. It is important that they all be on hand on Monday as several matters will be explained to them by their teachers at that time.

A new school year means new classes, new books and new teachers. The Times published the examination questions given to aspiring teachers “believing they will prove of interest to the Aspen public.” Ten questions each were given in the subjects of grammar, history, natural sciences, physiology, geography, and theory and practice. Five questions each were given in reading, school law, and civil government and constitution of Colorado. Here’s a sampling of the knowledge required for teaching school in Aspen 100 years ago.


1. What is grammar? What is rhetoric? Define etymology, orthography and syntax.

4. Give likenesses of the infinitive and participle to each other. Give differences between them.


1. Show briefly the result of the following on American history: (a) Exploration of the Cabots: (b) Exploration of La Salle and Marquette: (c) Capture of Constantinople by the Turks: (d) Wars of Napoleon and England.

3. Explain three important compromises of the the constitution of 1787.


1. Give cause and frequency of tides and their effect in gulfs and bays. Draw the earth, sun and moon in a position that produces the highest tides.

6. Define combustion, cohesion. Distinguish chemical action and physical change.

10. Define mesa, alluvial, talus, geyser, estuary.


4. Is it advisable to use vigorous physical or mental exercise immediately after a hearty meal? Give reasons for your answer.

6. Write what you can of the growth and power of the use of narcotics and stimulants.


2. Give outline for a biological sketch and write such a sketch on any one of the following: Roosevelt, Cleveland, Lowell, Whittier.

5. Describe some methods for securing correct expressions.


1. Give the formal steps in instruction according to the Herbartian idea, and illustrate their use.

4. Can school government be made a preparation for the pupil’s life as a citizen of a republic after he leaves school? How?

Aspen’s citizens turned out to welcome their new schoolteachers, as this account rhapsodized,

Last night about three hundred of Aspen’s finest assembled at the high school building to meet the new teacher and professors, to enjoy a musical program and to part in the festivities which followed the more formal portion of the evening’s entertainment.

The night was beautiful with starlit skies and smiling moon. The air was seductive and balmy and enticed many out who would otherwise have gone to bed early. …

The dance which followed was a delightful little occasion. … The only thing which to the writer seemed improper was the repeated singing of love songs before all that bevy of youthful and beautiful school ma’ams. It is apt to have a bad effect on the schools later, for some of them may wed some Aspen young men and retire, leaving the youngsters to their fate.

September 1953

Today Jazz Aspen Snowmass draws crowds from far and wide for its end-of-summer event. Fifty years ago it was the rodeo!

The Aspen Silver Stampede was a success both as to number of spectators and quality of the show. More than 3500 persons passed through the gates of the two-day show last week-end, filling the judges stand, bleachers, and filling every available foot of the top rail of the arena. …

The parade Saturday morning was one of the largest and best rodeo parades staged in Aspen in many years. The parade was under the chairmanship of Had Deane.

The Times was eager to promote upcoming events in September and keep the energy high. Incidentally, the car races were held on a course laid out through the streets of town.

With the closing of the Institute program with the concert next Sunday, Aspenites can look forward to two important events scheduled for the month of September.

The first event will be the Aspen Road Race, set for the 19th and 20th of this month. … On Saturday afternoon will be the official inspection of all cars entered in the race with the Back Seat Drivers Race at Wagner Park.

On Sunday, the first race of the day will start at 12:12 when the women drivers will show their speed. …

At approximately 1:45 the men’s race for over 1500 c.c. displacement will begin and this is 35 laps. The course will be 1.8 miles instead of the 2.2 miles of last year. …

The second event of the month will be a three-day trap shoot on September 25, 26, and 27, sponsored by the Aspen Trap Club at the club grounds about 2 miles west of Aspen on Highway 82.

This alarming news brief concerned a story about which The Aspen Times had been following throughout the late spring and summer.

Radio and newspapers reported that Bob Craig was injured Wednesday of last week in a fall in the mountain climbing expedition in the western Himalayas. Bob, who owns a home in Aspen and has written several letters to the Times which we have published, is a member of the third Karakoram Expedition which is climbing K2. He was seriously injured and is suffering from frost bite. Another member of the party was killed in the fall.

A letter to the editor added a different perspective to a controversial water project proposed for the North Star property.

May a new voice be heard on an old subject? We are FOR the Aspen Dam and the Frying Pan Arkansas Project. …

First, we believe the Aspen Dam will be usable as a recreation area, ideal for fishing and an asset to the scenery. Nature is often at her best when aided by the skillful, “artificial” hand of man. …

There is no denying that the local fight against the project has been sparked by a few local men to protect their own private interests. …

As we recall the people of Aspen have never been asked their opinions; they were only asked to join in the shouting against the dam. …

Sincerely yours,

The Coopers

Rocky Mt. Lodge

An item from the Aspen Society column noted,

Billy Marolt celebrated his 10th birthday with a party for his friends in his parents’ home on West Bleeker.

September 1978

Twenty-five years ago the Pitkin County Library was going through the growing pains experienced by the Basalt Library today, and asking some of the same questions asked today.

The Pitkin County Library is outgrowing its walls. It is equipped for 20,000 books. It is now crowded with 25,000. But too many books is only the beginning of the problem, according to librarian Foxy Kirwin and the library board of directors.

The solution, they maintain, is a new and larger library. …

Five locations are being considered as possible sites. The site now occupied by the Aspen fire station is one currently favored by planning consultant John Stanford and several members of the board. Another alternative is the historic Sardy home next to the present library. The Conoco gas station on Main St. is also being considered, as well as the county property down below the courthouse. The final alternative is to expand the present library with a second story. …

Questions have also been raised as to future expansions, and the criteria used for such renovation. “What about 10 years from now?” asked Mona Frost.

“Ten years from now, books may be on the way to being replaced by microfilm and video. We don’t know what kind of space will be needed. How much can we psych out the needs for the future?”

You know it’s autumn when roommates can’t resist engaging in a little touch football, sometimes requiring police refereeing.

Two people were arrested for second and third degree assault after a squeeze play resulted in one person getting stabbed in the back, and the other a sore pair of testicles, Assistant Police Chief Rob McClung said.

[T]he “squeezor” was charged … after alerting police to the fact that he and his roommate got into a scuffle at the Snowchase Lodge, McClung said.

According to the report [the roommates] quarreled and got into a fight. [The first roommate], hereinafter referred to as the “squeezor” grabbed [his roommate’s] testicles, and wouldn’t let go, McClung said.

[T]he squeezee grabbed a pair of scissors and stabbed the squeezor in the back twice. … When the squeezor let go, the squeezee came to the police department to report the incident.

This letter to the editor was a to-do list, before cell phones and the ARC. We’re still working on the buses.

Aspen desperately needs more public telephones. There are only 5 or 6 outdoor phones in the whole town – and not many more inside. You must also be lucky to find one that works. Please install another 20-25 telephones. …

The Aspen buses “stink” polluting the beautiful clean air here. Can’t something be done to reduce pollution by city buses? …

Make Moore public pool an all year facility. For about $10,000 a year a bubble dome could be erected over the Moore public pool for the winter – and serve hundreds and thousands of residents and tourists in the winter. … A big jacuzzi should also be added to this facility.

Concerned Citizen,

Elijah David Herschler

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