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

Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago

September 1903

Before the ski industry, there was the spud industry. The Times offered this report from the potato patch.

“Talk about potatoes,” said Gene Grubb of Carbondale. “I have the record crop this year. I have ordered 20,000 sacks to take care of the output of 140 acres, and if the weather holds good for three weeks more, I shall need 5000 sacks more. You should see that potato field. Standing in the center of the field you can hear the ground groaning and cracking as the spuds expand and force room for themselves in the hills. We have the banner potato section of the state and I have the banner crop of the banner section.” Mr. Grubbs expects to clean up $20,000 from his crop of spuds alone this season.

In other food news …

Day before yesterday was fruit day for the Midland. They brought 7850 pounds of fruit alone, not counting hen fruit, to the city on that day.

In an account of the Midland road race, a Leadville columnist also decided to take aim at an Aspen spectator at a local baseball game.

The miserable misogynist who wrote up the road race for a Leadville paper attacks one of Aspen’s girls as follows: “There was not much attention paid to the game between Aspen and Glenwood. It wasn’t much of a game anyhow, but the grand stand’s attention was centered upon a young woman rooter from Aspen. She made herself a great deal more conspicuous than anyone else and it was remarked that her brother, who was pitching for Aspen, should have taken her home and spanked her, though she certainly looked old enough to know better.” This viciousness was published in the Evening News Dispatch of Leadville.

Some things never change …

Beautiful days. …

Real picnic weather. …

Better times are coming. …

Don’t run the home town down. …

Aspen is the best town in the state. …

September 1953

Water has always been a hot topic for Aspenites. Here they discussed reclamation and Western Slope water rights,

About forty persons interested in preserving water for development of the Western Slope met six members of the powerful House Sub-committee on Reclamation and Irrigation Saturday afternoon at the Hotel Jerome. …

Lee Chalfant, president of the Pitkin County Water Protection Association, led the argument stating that Aspen and Pitkin County and the whole western slope was about to be deprived of a prime resource without Congress knowing all the facts. He stated that the west slope is not against reclamation projects if the costs are reasonable and that due consideration is used for the future development of western Colorado.

Dewey Williams, county commissioner from Garfield county, said that water would be important in the future development of oil shale in that county [and] that water should be held in reserve for that purpose.

Mr. Thomas J. Younge, attorney, Grand Junction, and representing the Chamber of Commerce of Grand Junction, explained that western Colorado has come out a poor second in water battles because of concentration of wealth and power in eastern Colorado. The west slope has been forced through their representatives on the Colorado River Water Conservation board to accept unfavorable compromise after compromise. He said that projects and compromises don’t work out in practice as they appear on paper.

The school carnival was a fine way to liven up the off-season.

The Annual Aspen School Carnival, sponsored by the P.T.A. September 26 at the school house, will be an event in which both parents and children can partake and enjoy. …

All sorts of exciting and tantalizing performances, stunts, and prizes are being offered by the concessions. …

The Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the Wheel for Fortune …

Another special attraction will be the Beauty Contest held in the T.V. concession room. The title of “Miss Aspen” will be bestowed upon the beauteous winner.

Are you planning to study medicine? Mrs. Kurt Bresnitz has announced that in her concession they will perform surgery on a live person and remove organs. …

Another way to keep town happening – a car race. The Times reported this from the finish line,

An estimated 3,000 persons were in Aspen Sunday to see the Third Sports Car Race. There were no injuries and only a very few minor accidents such as when one car hit a curb too hard and bent a rim.

Stands run by the 4H Club were sold out of pop and hot dogs early. Spectators almost universally respected the no crossing streets during the race and everyone obeyed orders to keep out of restricted areas and kept back well off the street at other places.

Get your axe and go …

The Aspen Ski Club wants volunteers to help cut brush on the lower part of the F.I.S. downhill course. Earl Eaton will be at the bottom of the T-Bar at 9:30 Sunday morning, September 27th, waiting for you! Please bring an old axe if handy.

Before The Little Nell, there was the Little Nell Cafe. The Times wrote this in its Business of the Week column,

New owners of Little Nell Cafe are Mr. and Mrs. Paul Steuri who bought the business and building on July 30 from Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Smart who have operated the cafe for the past two years. …

The couple was married in July and immediately bought Little Nell Cafe which they will operate year ’round. At this time their hours are early evenings until 3:00 a.m. on week days but on Sunday they close at midnight. During the regular winter and summer season they will be open for all regular meals as well as after the shows in the evenings.

Little Nell has been quite popular with the young people and others wishing a snack or soft drink later in the evenings with juke box available for entertainment.

Looking for a good read? Check out this blast from the past.

Have you read any good books lately? If not, try the Aspen Public Library for these very new arrivals: “The Poor Man’s Guide to Europe” by David Dodge, “Bridges to Toko-Ri” by Jas. A. Michener, “Come My Beloved” by Pearl Buck, “The Fields of Home” by Ralph Moody, and “The Bonanza Trail” by Muriel Sibell Wolle.

September 1978

Today, many of our local rivers are catch-and-release only. Twenty-five years ago, the concept was a novelty, as evidenced by this article.

Members of Trout Unlimited and fly fishermen of the county were elated last Thursday when the Colorado Wildlife Commission, meeting in Aspen, designated two miles of the Fryingpan River below Ruedi Reservoir as catch-and-release water.

“When you fly fish,” Aspen TU member George Odier said, “you have the choice to kill or release the fish alive. The fly doesn’t kill the fish, and 90% of fly fishermen choose to release the fish. They feel that a fish of good size is too valuable a product to kill.”

The Fryingpan stretch becomes the second in the state to be designated for a catch-and-release program and the first on the Western Slope. (The other is on the Platte River.)

Now a backcountry skier’s paradise, Little Annie basin was almost a commercial ski area. The Times reported,

County Commissioners Joe Edwards and Michael Kinsley voted Monday to let residents express their support or lack of support for the proposed Little Annie ski area on the November ballot (Bob Child was vacationing).

Commissioners were given a petition with 1,322 valid signatures requesting that they recommend conceptual approval and move to a site-specific consideration of Little Annie.

Rather than go to the site-specific study, commissioners opted for an initiative election. …

The voters have to decide, Kinsley said, whether the benefits are so great that the potential for greater growth is okay – because “there is no question that Little Annie will mean growth.”

Little Annie would have a 3,900 skier-a-day capacity to start, growing to 7,500 a day. It would have a cable car running from a Ute Avenue location near the Gant to a terminus stop on Richmond Hill.

The demand for more skiing exists, and the developers argue that Little Annie would rectify the mountain-bed imbalance that has skiers driving from lodges in Aspen to ski at Snowmass.

It seems budget woes are nothing new to the local schools, nor is the fight to keep special programs available to local schoolchildren.

Superintendent of schools Richard Lee addressed the school board in a Sept. 25 meeting, on the issue of the 1979 budget.

“The community and the school staff face the challenges of supporting worthwhile programs in the schools,” he said, “when much of the country is cutting programs and letting the chips fall where they may.”

“We have to support good programs,” he continued, “and we have to defend the warranted expense of those programs.”

The preliminary 1979 budget presented by Lee and finance director Joe Tarbet is more than available revenues. “The real crunch came this year because of declining enrollment,” said Lee.

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