Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago
October 1903Editor’s note: Copies of The Aspen Times from October 1903 until 1911 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives and the Pitkin County Library’s microfilm reels. In order to continue our journalistic history of Aspen, we will copy excerpts from The Aspen Democrat, the Times’ rival newspaper 100 years ago. Much as it’s been this year, autumn in Aspen 100 years was glorious, as evidenced by this article,Sunday was a gala day, the sun shone radiantly all day giving the earth the freshness of spring time. All those who possibly could enjoyed the outdoor air, numerous parties taking drives out into the beautiful surrounding country. It was a rich harvest for the livery stables, as every rig in town was rented. One of the gayest parties to go out was about a dozen young people of the city, who, taking their lunches with them, went up Hunter Creek and enjoyed a chestnut roast. They took cameras with them and rambled over the mountains taking views of all the pretty scenery in sight and roasted and ate chestnuts to their hearts content. It was indeed a most delightfully spent day.It wasn’t wolves killing cattle back in 1903, it was a local woman. The Democrat reported,In the case of Abigail Leavitt charged with poisoning a cow, the defendant was bound over in the sum of $200. Failing to secure the bonds she will be confined in the county jail until this morning at 10 o’clock when she will have a hearing before Judge Hall’s court. Halloween has long been a wild holiday for Aspenites, leading the newspaper to warn,Tomorrow night is Hallowe’en and the city council in view of the fact that the younger set of the city enjoy life on this night by destroying other people’s property and carrying on hilariously, have appointed several extra policemen to patrol the city and prevent damage, so the Bogie-man will catch you if you don’t watch out. …In another column will be seen a notice from the city council to the effect that all persons destroying property Hallowe’en will be prosecuted. This is the right action, as this thing of destroying property and raising Cain just for fun is getting too thick and all smart Alexs who attempt to destroy or mutilate property should be taught a lesson.October 1953Before upscale boutiques took over downtown Aspen, there were places like The Emporium. The Times wrote this of its grand opening,Aspen’s newest business place is The Emporium opened for business last Friday in the old Assay Office next door to the Conoco Station at the corner of Main and Galena Streets.Owned and operated by Ed Smart, former owner of Little Nell Cafe, The Emporium will handle miscellaneous household articles and wearing apparel that has been purchased at auctions in eastern merchandising centers. Smart says that every article he offers for sale in The Emporium is brand new in original packing or cartons and is not damaged in any way. And at prices way under what you would pay for the same article on the regular market.Who needs exotic outdoor education trips and fancy field trips? Kids 50 years ago found the Jerome a worthwhile adventure.Ice cream cones, the elevator, the switchboard and the teletype at the Jerome Hotel delighted the children from the sixth grade with their teacher, Mrs. Frost, last Monday. The fourth grade with their teacher, Mrs. Blair, were the Hotel’s guests the previous week.The Times heralded the arrival of one of Aspen’s more colorful characters.Winter is really here! Ralph Jackson is back in town! Bicycle! French Renault! Skis!The local hospital was the subject of two different stories, both focusing on its fund-raising efforts.Pitkin County Hospital is no exception to the general rule that most hospitals operate at a deficit. The Pitkin County Hospital is kept open the year-round only because of the generous donations of Pitkin County residents and friends. Several thousands of dollars are added to the budget each year by the Hospital Thrift Shop, and Pitkin County this next year will levy 1 mill instead of .6 mill as in the past years. This 1 mill will raise slightly more than $5,000 for the support of the hospital. …Saturday, November 14th has been selected as the date for the annual Pitkin County Hospital Dinner and Movie by the Hospital Board. …Wild game will be served through donations from local hunters and in the past there has always been deer and elk on the menu and mountain sheep was served one year due to the poor eyesight of a hunter who mistook the protected sheep for a deer. …The price of the dinner and show will be $3.00 with practically all of that amount going directly to the hospital.October 1978Under a photo of a jampacked sidewalk, the Times wrote this caption:You know it is building up to the ski season when you see crowds in front of The Aspen Times, waiting for a newspaper and hoping to find a job or a place to live in the classified ads.After years of debate, the notion of a ski area in Little Annie basin was being handed to the local electorate.Members of the Pitkin County Planning & Zoning Commission (PZ) voted unanimously yesterday to recommend the county commissioners deny approval of the proposed Little Annie ski area at conceptual stage.The motion recommended that all ski proposals to the county – including expansion lifts at Snowmass and Highlands – be considered at one time.Also recommended was a study of the county’s need for additional ski capacity. …The action being taken by PZ may prove to be moot since the question of whether the Little Annie proposal should move on to the more detailed “site specific” stage of a joint review process involving the county, city, state and Forest service is already on the November ballot. Aspen made national – and international – headlines for, what else, its party-town reputation. The Aspen Skiing Corporation has won permission from the provincial government of British Columbia to develop a major new ski area adjacent to the existing Whistler Mountain Ski Area, which prompted a pandering Vancouver journalist to report that “`Sin-city’ Aspen turns to Whistler.”According to Jes Odam in the Vancouver Sun, however, “Aspen is the international year-round resort the provincial government is using as a pattern as it prepares to pour millions of dollars of public money into transforming the Whistler area into a major resort.”Hopefully, he has some grasp of British Columbia realities. After a fact-finding visit to Aspen last week, Odam reported that Aspen “is the place many call the sex, drug and booze capital of the ski world.”Another Aspen headline grabber, Sal A Mander, was back in the news in an interview with reporter Andy Stone.Stone: Sal, could you please tell us something about your qualifications to run for office?Mander: I’m glad you asked. In fact, I’m as qualified to run for office as any politician in the country. As a newt, I’m used to crawling on my stomach when necessary, which is something that every politician needs to be prepared for.Furthermore, my two favorite hobbies are drinking beer and chasing women. And you’ll have to admit that those are vital qualifications for any politician. And, finally, since I do have a little chameleon blood in me, I’m prepared to change my political colors whenever necessary. In other words, I’m shifty, which is a major requirement for every candidate.Locals were gearing up for their favorite holiday 25 years ago … Halloween in Aspen rivals Mardi Gras in New Orleans for bizarre costumes and wild times. Thousands of people from near and far crowd Aspen’s streets. And they are all in costume.This Halloween, parties and events are scheduled all over town. A magician plans to escape from 30 feet of rope knots while suspended from the Hotel Jerome. Some people have been planning their costumes for months. And Darth Vader masks are still a hot item.The Hotel Jerome will be the setting for the Hobgoblin Halloween Fete. The entire hotel will be haunted by monsters and visions of varying sorts. …The Paragon is hosting an old-fashioned Halloween Carnival, with festivities such as a cakewalk, apple dunking, fortune telling, and a spook house. …Many of Aspen’s bars and restaurants will feature special Halloween drinks and dishes, as well as music. A burger joint hosting a champagne reception? Only in Aspen. The Times wrote,Burger Bros of Aspen is a new eaterie specializing in gourmet junk food at reasonable prices. It is located in the Aspen A’s, where Donny’s Dog House used to be.New owners Charles Fichman of Brooklyn and Lee Robinson of Beverly Hills held a grand opening last week, with champagne and gourmet hot dogs.
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In 1895, the fad sweeping Aspen for women was to dye their hair red.