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

Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago

May 1903

Social life for women in Aspen a hundred years was a bit limited compared to today.

Day before yesterday Lizzie Gordon was arrested by Office George James on the charge of frequenting saloons. She was taken before Judge Scanlan and pleading guilty was fined five dollars and costs. This is the first case tried before the new police judge.

As today, business leaders in Aspen were trying to come up with ideas on how to revitalize the town.

Last evening the members of the Commercial club met in room 11 of the bank building to elect officers and to discuss ways and means for aiding and improving the city. …

One of the principal matters for discussion was the hotel. The Jerome has been practically closed for some months as far as the dining room is concerned and otherwise it amounted to nothing more or less than a rooming house.

It is understood that the building is in bad shape and needs repairing. …

Another matter discussed was the persuading of the railways to build a new depot. …

There are plenty of things which may be done, and sometimes there is a danger that too many matters will come up and nothing be done.

If you feel like doing nothing but staring at the sky and mountains now that warm spring weather has finally arrived, know that you’re carrying on a long tradition.

Yesterday the weather was more than warm – it was hot. The ladies with thin waists almost believed that their backs were blistered. The wind was still and the sun shone in steady silence. An air of languor pervaded the town.

Spring fever came with its attendant ills, and spring fever is no joke. Spring fever is akin to typhoid and rheumatism and a number of other things. It is not dangerous to life or limb, but indulged in too long, it brings a train of evils in its wake that are hard to break.

For instance, spring fever may be classed as legitimate laziness.

A longing to lie on the green banks of the purling streams to do nothing, to think nothing, but just to allow the sensuous sounds of nature percolate into the inner consciousness of being characterizes it. Spring fever is the love of doing nothing. It comes with an aching and yawning and that well known tired feeling.

And, as always, The Times continued to champion Aspen, though what kind of reforms might “kill” the town isn’t clear from the following item.

We were told on the streets yesterday that Aspen was dead. We cannot see it that way. The city does not look half as dead as one might reasonably expect, considering the fact that a number of alleged reformers have been trying to kill it. …

It is noticeable that the men who declare that the town is dead and who drift away to find live towns, generally come back with their views considerably modified and changed. They discover that Aspen is very much alive and that it is the best town for work, wages and living that they are able to find.

May 1953

This spring’s abundant snowfall has meant stellar skiing in the backcountry; 50 years ago adventurous Aspenites were also hiking for some May turns.

Bob Craig, Bob Lewis, Jim Snobble and Werner Kuster climbed part way up the west face of Mount Hayden on Saturday. They took the route up Conundrum Creek and report fair skiing in the big bowl on the way down.

The Times carried the news of a new medical facility that was being built; today that location is the site of the Colony restaurant and the Popcorn Wagon.

Dr. Robert Barnard announced recently the formation of the Aspen Medical Center which will house his own offices and those of Dr. Hans von Fumetti who will begin his practice in Aspen about July 1.

Last week, construction was started on the pumice block building across the street south of the Opera House on the southwest corner of the intersection of Hyman and Mill streets. …

Fritz Benedict is the designer.

Dr. Barnard purchased all of the lots from the corner to the Prospector Lodge and a small barn on the property will be torn down very soon. A tennis court may be constructed on the space between the new office building and the Prospector Lodge.

Though Aspen High’s graduating class was small, the event still attracted a commencement speaker; the subject of his talk sounds less than inspirational.

Dr. Kenneth E. Hansen, Professor of Education at Western State College at Gunnison will give the commencement address for Aspen High School at the regular commencement Friday, May 22 in the Opera House. The subject of his address will be “The Loneliness of Leadership.” …

Members of the graduating class of the Aspen High School are: David Barbee, Harry Ilgen, Ann Hollenbeck, Ted Armstrong, Sigrid Braun, Kenneth Broughton, Ferne Brown, Roberta Johnson, Sarah Jane McGill, and Muriel Sandstrom.

The featured “Business of the Week” put the spotlight on a building that is still familiar to Aspenites, though today it houses a yoga and pilates studio.

The Mesa Store, which stands on the corner of Fourth and Main Streets, in the west part of town, is one of the older business houses in the City of Aspen.

Before the present two story frame building was constructed a grocery and meat market was operating in a small frame building on the lots west of the corner. … The store was known throughout the valley as The West End Grocery, which carried a full line of staple and fancy groceries, meats and vegetables.

At a later date the business was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Barnes, who then sold it to Mr. James Gould (one of the earlier owners) and Mr. Julius Zupancis, who renamed it The Mesa Store, and conducted a flourishing business for several years. …

While returning from a vacation and business trip to California, Julius met an untimely death in an auto accident near Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mrs. Elizabeth Borstner, a sister of Julius, and his son, Louis Zupancis, then assumed management of the store, and it has been conducted since by Mrs. Borstner.

The Hotel Jerome, spruced up since the item that ran in 1903, got a new manager.

Mr. Walter Paepcke spent several days in Aspen this week. He was accompanied here by Colonel H. R. Dutton who will be manager of the Hotel Jerome. …

Col. Dutton is the former owner of a hotel at La Jolla, California, and comes to Aspen highly recommended. Mr. Blair has formerly been with the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

May 1978

The Fourth of July celebration in Aspen 25 years ago would be a quiet one, in light of the following item.

Aspen will forego its traditional fireworks display this coming Fourth of July, it was decided by the City Council during its regular meeting Monday.

City Manager Mick Mahoney reported at the meeting that members of the Volunteer Fire Department, who usually handle the fireworks, had told him they were “willing but not eager” to provide them again, but would need a $2000 contribution to do so.

During a brief discussion of the report, council members pointed out that they had agreed last year after the rowdy celebration not to permit a parade or beer sales in the park and had nothing in the budget for fireworks.

When no one from the council moved to donate $2000 for the fireworks, the group went on to other business.

We recently heard nearly the last of the infamous trolley cars from Portugal, when the city of Aspen gave them away; 25 years ago, Aspen was just getting introduced to them.

The Music Associates of Aspen announced recently tickets will be sold this summer from a turn-of-the-century trolley car, to be located in Rubey Park.

The trolley, one which could easily have run on Aspen streets during the mining days, was built for the city of Lisbon, Portugal, where it has been running for the past 75 years and was purchased by a small group of Aspen businessmen.

The county embarked on an effort to see that equal pay was provided for equal work by county employees, after it was accused of gender bias.

Pitkin County commissioners voted Monday to hire a special consultant to work with Phyllis Kenny, personnel director, on job reclassification in the county.

Job descriptions and titles will be examined closely along with salary scales to make certain that there is no sex bias.

Commissioners Bob Child and Michael Kinsley also approved initiation of an affirmative action program to make certain that women are getting their fair share of the county jobs.

The action was prompted by County Clerk Julie Hane, who made a study of women in county jobs and concluded that job descriptions and salary scales do not always compare. …

“The county,” Hane said, “misclassified not only the employees in the clerk and recorder’s office, but also the majority of females into the lowest paying, lowest rated categories.”

Hane said job descriptions must incorporate actual duties performed and move away from stereotyped titles.

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