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

October 1903

Editor’s note:

Copies of The Aspen Times from October 1903 until 1911 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archdddives and the Pitkin County Library’s microfilm reels. Therefore, in order to continue our journalistic history of Aspen, we will copy excerpts from The Aspen Democrat, the Times’ competitor newspaper 100 years ago.

Boys will be boys … even 100 years ago.

The young boys from the east end who are continually making themselves a nuisance around the depot on their way home from school every day at noon and in the evening are becoming unbearable and if they continue to be a nuisance the officials will have them taken in charge and make an example of a few of them to stop them from bumming around the depot. Yesterday they became extra smart and decided to throw rocks at the switchmen to see how close they could come to hitting them while the engine was in motion. Their aim was true and as a consequence one of the switchmen suffered a gash under the chin, cut by a rock threw at him. This is a dangerous practice as is also one of the lads beating the train into the depot and should be stopped which it will be if the boys continue to congregate there and play their pranks. So beware boys and take warning.

Under the headline, “A Proper Resolve,” The Aspen Democrat reported on a big change for local schoolchildren.

The school board is to be complimented on its decision that all children of legal age must hereafter attend the schools of district No. 1. It is the law and it is no more than proper that it should be carried out and rigidly enforced.

It is sometimes considered a hardship to have compulsory education, and yet when looked at in the right light it is the salvation of the country. …

Unless they are compelled to go to a great many of them will not take advantage of the privilege thus afforded them. …

The law wisely insists that the little ones shall have the opportunity and between the ages of six and fifteen children may be forced to got the public schools.

Football season was in full swing in Aspen, with plenty of encouragement in local papers not to miss the action.

Don’t fail to see Saturday’s big game. …

Support your High school foot ball team Saturday by your presence at the game. …

The game Saturday will be on of the best articles in foot ball ever seen in this city. …

Would you like to see your home team win? Come out and root Saturday and they will win. …

The High school boys deserve much credit for their persistent efforts put forth during the past two weeks. …

As Aspen’s retailers debate how to promote the town today, so did they Commercial club in 1903. The Aspen Democrat wrote,

There has been an apparent cessation of the good work by the Commercial club lately. … This is too good a club composed of our most staple business men and enterprising and liberal citizens to be allowed to discontinue. The town needs the impetus and push of just such a club and their past work is a shining example of what they can do in this direction.

Now is the time to get out literature putting forth the good points of Aspen and the opportunities that abound in our immediate vicinity. …

The citizens of Aspen should encourage this club and aid it in every respect and manner possible, for we are immediately benefited.

October 1953

Good advice 50 years ago; good advice today …

If you drive at night, chances are you commit one of the deadliest of all highway errors. You overdrive your headlights which, according to State Patrolman F.E. McHenry, means you drive too fast for the distance you can see with car lights.

He also took occasion to warn drivers against wearing sun glasses to cut down glare from an approaching car’s light.

“Sun glasses will cut down the glare, all right,” he said, “but they also reduce your own vision at the same time. Don’t wear them at night!”

A longstanding Aspen tradition, The Thrift Shop was underwent a few changes in 1953. The Times reported,

The Thrift Shop workers stated that the shop is expanding its operations and that in the future it will be known as the Hospital and Community Thrift Shop.

In voting expansion, the workers pointed out that since its founding three years ago it had helped pay salaries of the hospital staff at a time when payroll demands could not be met by either tax money or donations. In addition to this aid, the Thrift Shop has set aside funds for improvement to the hospital obstetrics ward and donated funds for the already purchased oxygen tent, refrigerator, humidifiers, and filing cabinet. In addition to the past aid, funds have been set aside for emergency help to the hospital.

No, it’s not a typographical error. Land in Aspen really was affordable 50 years ago.

Filed for record last week in the County Clerk and Recorder’s office is the real estate transfer of the Cerise Ranch owned by Frank L. and Blanche L. Cerise to Friedl Pfeifer. This property is located about one mile west of Aspen on the highway. Revenue stamps of $44.55 indicate that the price paid was slightly more than $40,000.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year is the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale. The Times wrote this about its opening,

Anne and John Holden announce the opening of the Colorado Rocky Mountain School on September 16 with seventeen students and a staff of nine. The students come from eleven states. … There are four girls and thirteen boys in the group, ranging in age from 13 to 18 years.

October 1978

Some things never change …

Aspen’s cost of living index is 52% higher than Denver’s and also higher than those in four other major Colorado ski resort communities, the City Council learned Monday.

The information was contained in a memo from City Manager Mick Mahoney asking the council to reconsider a recent decision to limit cost of living pay raises for city employees to 4%.

Using the cost of living in Denver as a basis with the number 100, the survey gave other living costs as 152 for Aspen, 147 for Breckenridge-Dillon, 136 for Vail, and 129 for Steamboat Springs.

Of the six items incorporated in the cost of living index – food, housing, utilities, transportation, health and miscellaneous – Aspen had the highest index in four.

Of course the price of ski passes does change …

Area employers will be able to buy season host ski passes for their employees this winter, the Aspen Chamber of Commerce and Snowmass Resort Association have announced.

The $250 passes ($125 refunded at the end of the ski season) enable the bearers to ski for $4 per day at Buttermilk, $5 per day at Snowmass, and $9 per day at Aspen Mtn. …

Host pass holders will be able to ski on Aspen Mountain for a half day validation fee of $5. … Initiation of the half day host pass validation for Aspen Mountain would be on a trial basis … it would be in effect daily after 1 pm.

Captain Clean was making a difference in Aspen 25 years ago, as evidenced by this article,

Aspen was awarded third place honors in its small cities class in the Keep America Beautiful contest, city official learned this week.

Winner of the Keep Colorado Beautiful award in its class, Aspen finished the national contest behind Laurenburg, NC, second place, and Culpeper, VA, first place.

Aspen’s entry to the state and national contest was prepared by Environmental Health Officer Tom Dunlap and consisted of clippings and other details about the Pride in Aspen Campaign, launched last spring, and its figurehead, Captain Clean.

School was back in session, but not without a debate over the sports in the Middle School. The Times reported,

A study group has been established to investigate the feasibility of starting a competitive sports program in Aspen’s Middle School.

The study group was formed by the Aspen School Board at its regular meeting on Oct. 9, after a group of parents and Booster Club members requested that competitive sports (interscholastic games between schools) be offered to students in grades fifth through eighth.

Jim Gibbons read a statement from the Booster Club and also submitted petitions containing 200 signatures … both supporting the competitive sports program. …

Teacher Willard Clapper stated, “Kids want to sacrifice. They want discipline. Intramurals are just for fun … they are essentially boring. Competitive sports teach kids to make compromises with their time, they teach a kid self-discipline. And self-discipline is something that people have lost the knack of.”


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