Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago
September 1903A great bicycle race – the precursor of todays’s Aspen Cycling Club races, perhaps – was stirring up excitement a hundred years ago.September 20th will furnish bicycle enthusiasts on the Western Slope the most exciting road race which has ever been pulled off in Colorado. A rivalry has existed between the different winners of the road race which has been held between Basalt and Glenwood every year until lately. A purse of $200 has been hung up by the citizens of Glenwood to be competed for by Buffehr of Leadville, Beard of Fruita, Hanson of Aspen and Broughton of Glenwood. The Colorado Midland will as usual run a special race train, which will keep pace with the riders, and the entire race can be watched closely from the train. Very low rates are made for this trip.Not only was the race drawing interest, but at least one wager against the Aspen contestant was made.A gentleman was in the city yesterday offering to bet fifty dollars that Hanson would not win the road race. The road race takes place on Sunday, the weather permitting. The money was hardly up before a number of Aspen sports were on hand to claim it. The people of Aspen are enthusiastic about Hanson. He is a young man just in the prime of his strength and ability as an athlete. He attends to business and leaves tobacco and booze strictly alone. He works hard and has muscular development that will tell when it comes to the race.Meanwhile, a trio of local hunters left for an aptly named destination to embark on the first hunting trip of fall.Dr. Mollin, E. L. Peisar and Fred Pierce departed for Rifle yesterday morning and thence they will plunge over the range and get into the White river section as speedily as possible. This snow should bring the deer down and make fine sport for the lucky ones who go there at the precise psychological moment. What they won’t do to the deer isn’t worth telling.Locals stepping up to the plate for other locals in need is a longtime Aspen tradition, as evidenced by the following account.On Thursday those charitably inclined people of the city who desire to aid a family in distress will bring their offerings to the room on Mill street just south of Charles Ohlman’s harness shop. …Mr. Jessen has been singularly unfortunate. He has five little children to look after, and the last accident has deprived him of the sight of one of his eyes. It is feared that the other will be so affected that he will lose that also. His life was spared but his work as a wage earner and provider for his large family has been rendered most difficult and trying.The people of Aspen have never failed to respond when the call of suffering has reached their ears. They are known for their liberality and generosity. And especially in this case should this trait be manifest. September 1953With freshly oiled streets, car racers were ready to go; the more interesting event, however, could have been the one for anyone intrepid enough to race up Aspen Mountain.Sports car racers and fans will gather in Aspen from all over Colorado this weekend to participate in the Third Annual Sports Car Race sponsored by the Aspen Sports Car Club.The course has been oiled this week by city equipment under the direction of Marshal John Loushin. The cost of the oil used on the course was met by the sports car club according to an agreement they made several months ago. One of the chief objections to the races the last two years was the heavy cloud of dust raised by the racers on unoiled streets. …At 10 a.m. Saturday morning will be the Treasure Hunt Race for Jeeps up Aspen Mountain to the Sundeck. The entry fee will be $2.00 for each car. Any and all jeeps or any other car that thinks they can make the trip is eligible.As many Aspenites are aware, our local fire company has celebrated its 50th anniversary this year; the actual date of organization was September 11.The Aspen Fire Protection District was organized at a hearing at the Court House last Friday, September 11, by District Judge Clifford H. Darrow. …The first board of directors of the district was appointed and they are: Laurence Elisha, to hold office until the first biennial election; Albert Bishop and Samuel Howell, to hold office until two years after the said election; and Eugene Mason and Sam Stapleton, to hold office until four years after the said election.A proposal to divert water from the Fryingpan River to the eastern side of the Continental Divide drew diverse reactions on the letters to the editor page; the following opinion came from D. H. Gerbaz.It is unfortunate that people make snap decisions before studying an issue carefully. I refer to the letter to the Times sent in by “The Coopers,” relative to the Frying Pan-Arkansas diversion project.The writer of the letter seems imbued with the idea of the “great recreational value” of the proposed Aspen reservoir and compares it with the Granby reservoir. I wonder why he didn’t compare it with the Lincoln Gulch reservoir, which it will be much more near in appearance. I trust he nor anyone else with a sense of natural beauty considers that reservoir anything but an eyesore, along with the canals scaring the edge of the mountains.The proposed reservoir will be retained by an earth filled dam, built in the near vicinity of a heavily mined out area.Who is to know whether there will be seepage, a blowout beneath the dam, after it has reached its fullest capacity? …If the Frying Pan project with all its extravagance is enacted, it will be [sic] opening of the door to further and more devastating diversions.September 1978A drug bust of 25 years ago took many by surprise – including the sheriff’s department.The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Police were called in at the last moment to assist Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents in a two man arrest for possession of cocaine and possession with intent to sell, Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Haynes said. …The entire incident took place at the Holiday Inn Sept 10 at 6:40 pm … Five DEA agents came to Aspen, unexpectedly, they told sheriff’s police, to make the arrest.Haynes said the DEA agents had expected to make an arrest in Denver but were instead called to Aspen at the last minute and therefore did not have time to brief the local police.Three sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene after the initial arrests were made to smooth over ruffled feathers. Haynes explained that Holiday Inn guests and employees were not aware of the presence of DEA agents and only observed the flashing gun and agents breaking down the door …Haynes said to his knowledge this was the biggest drug bust of narcotics in Aspen. However, it was learned, in 1972, 143 kilos of marijuana were confiscated in a drug arrest with an estimated street value of $112,000.Federal agents estimated the drug value in Sunday’s cocaine bust at somewhere between $62,000-$90,000.A cigarette machine at the airport, in light of efforts to ban smoking in other public places, was the butt of some pointed criticism from a county commissioner.After reluctantly approving a new airport vending contract that will result in the re-installation of a cigarette machine at the county air terminal, the Pitkin County Commissioners Monday appropriated money for an advertising campaign designed to promote the concept of establishing no smoking sections in area restaurants.Although Commissioner Joe Edwards termed it “ridiculous” to approve a contract that would put the once-banished cigarette machine back at the airport when the county Clean Air Board is making a vigorous attempt to curb smoking in public places, his two colleagues, Bob Child and Michael Kinsley, approved the new contract with D & H Vending anyway.The vendor speculated that it “isn’t fair” to deny air travelers the right to buy a pack of cigarettes; an assertion Edwards dismissed scornfully.”The whole direction of the county is to ban smoking in public places,” Edwards said. “To be pandering to a negative direction is silly.” Hunters were asked to lay off the phone system in the absence of more suitable targets.With fall and the hunting season upon us, Mountain Bell is issuing its annual plea to hunters – please don’t shoot phone wires and cables.Gene Krill, Mountain Bell manager, says while it may be hard to believe, some people use telephone cables and glass insulators for target practice.”Some small communities have lost telephone service because hunters used telephone equipment for target practice,” Krill said.Sometimes, he said, lines damaged during hunting season are not detected until winter when water seeps into the cable. During the winter, repair work is hindered because of the inaccessibility of some areas.
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In an Aspen “oasis for the drunchies,” time melts away, writes Foodstuff columnist Kaya Williams.