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

December 1903

‘Twas the week before Christmas in Aspen’s downtown, and a merchant named Eddy made sure of no frowns.

Santa Claus in all his glory was the main attraction in the city yesterday especially to the young children who thronged Eddy’s emporium all yesterday afternoon in their anxiety to get a few words with the treasured gentleman and to receive one of the small presents which he was giving to the young boys and girls. It would have done your heart good to see the happy throng of children gathered at the store and the fun that they had with dear old Santa.



The paper reported on Christmas Eve,

There will be a general scramble and high old time this afternoon in front of Eddy’s store when the young boys assemble there at 4:30 to win the prize which Mr. Eddy will give the boy that gets the largest number of balls that will be thrown into the street. It will be more fun than diving for nickels in the pool and it is understood that the prize will be worth working for.




And a firsthand account appeared Christmas Day.

Well, it was a sight worth seeing, the happy, anxious and interested look on the face of every young lad gathered in front of Eddy’s store yesterday afternoon to take in the scramble for a present … Before the time set for the affair a large number of lads had assembled and their presence was known by the whoops and yells and childish fun. But the real fun came when the balls were thrown out into the crowd. The boy that secured the largest number of balls secured a fine drum for his work, while the lad with the next greatest number was presented with a handsome silk handkerchief.

In winter 2003, influenza has been epidemic in Colorado. In 1903, it was smallpox.

Commissioner Harkins recently returned to the city from Redstone where he had been to look after the reported smallpox epidemic and see that the necessary precaution be taken to prevent its spreading. Redstone is too far away to cause the Aspen people any uneasiness and besides Commissioner Harkins has taken the necessary action to enforce a strict quarantine.

The sentiments expressed in the Christmas Day editorial 100 years ago could be repeated today.

A merry, merry Christmas to one and all of our readers!

A happy day full of earth’s blessings. A day of smiles and sunshine, happy children, re-united families, a time of forgiveness and a time of peace. …

From the reports of the merchants. Christmas sales have been far better than expected although the tendency has been toward useful rather than ornamental or fancy presents. …

Open your hearts with the spirit of Christmas and see that everyone around you has something to be happy over. It is astonishing how your own happiness will be double … Be mindful of this and though you can give no costly presents, remember that a sunny smile, a cheering wish, a helpful hand, will gladden and comfort a sorrowing heart and are often times worth far more than anything you could buy.

December 1953

Ice-skating and music go together like sleighing and jingle bells.

Aspen ice skaters are badly in need of more records to play over the loud speaker while skating. Anyone having any foxtrots, waltzes, or two step records that they are not using, if they will please take them to the warming hut or contact Mike Garrish, it will be greatly appreciated.

An Aspen Christmas tradition continued with the announcement,

The Aspen Lodge No. 224, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and James N. Parsons are again cooperating to bring to Aspen children the annual Christmas Day Show. Everyone both young and old are invited to attend.

The show is scheduled to begin promptly at 2 o’clock Friday afternoon at the Isis Theater. Booked for this special event is a “Lassie” film that has entertained millions of children in the past and will not fail to do so again. In addition there will be two cartoons.

A new ski season in Aspen brings new businesses.

Rene Baudet and Max Meier have leased the dining room and kitchen located at 734 West Main street from Guido Meyer for one year and will open their restaurant for dinner Thursday.

The interior has been renovated and is ready for a busy winter season by two men who have been trained in some of the best hotels in Switzerland. …

These two young men will serve breakfast and dinner on a regular basis and will welcome visitors and local citizens alike at the Swiss restaurant.

Waterman’s opening of their new store and service station was well attended by locals and visitors last Friday and Saturday.

Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy Waterman, owners and operators of the famous Castle Creek Station Store and Cabins report that 190 persons registered for the Florence gas range that was offered as the grand prize. …

Representatives of the Phillips Petroleum Company were at the station during the two days servicing cars with Philips 66 gasolines, motor oils and free air and windshield wipins. Cologne was given to every woman entering the store, cigars for the men, and lollipops and balloons for the kids.

Mrs. Virginia Blanning will open her Tea and Curry lunch room at her residence on Christmas Day.

Mrs. Blanning, a resident of Aspen for the past ten years, will specialize in tea and curry, which will be served as a complete dinner with soup, vegetables, tea or coffee, and dessert.

Another speciality at the Tea and Curry will be deluxe toasted turkey sandwiches which will be served with french fries and salad. …

Mrs. Blanning has proved herself quite a carpenter and decorator by completely furnishing her dining room with tables, chairs entirely made by her with hand tools and power saw. …

Tea and Curry Dining Room is located at 222 W. Hopkins. Sufficient space is available to comfortably seat about 30 persons.

December 1978

A favorite destination in the Castle Creek Valley announced a change in its operation.

Isabel and Stuart Mace are legends.

With their self-reliant life in their Toklat Lodge in the wilderness, dressed in their fur parkas and driving their dog sled teams, they personified the breed of young people who came to Aspen after World War II to build their own kind of lives. …

Over the 30 years, their lifestyle has undergone changes, and now they are planning another change.

“We seem to operate in 10 year cycles,” explains Stuart. “The first 10 years were spent running Toklat as a guest lodge, with guest staying here, having three meals a day, and taking dog sled rides or cross-country tours.

“The second 10 years we had our Toklat Restaurant in town (now the Chart House) and still did the dog sled tours.

“The last 10 years we just served evening dinners here at Toklat and finally let our dogs go (to Krabloonik and are now under the care of Dan MacEachen at Snowmass Resort).

“Now we are starting our fourth 10 year period with a new plan. We will no longer serve evening meals, in fact we’ve taken out the dining room … and turned it into a gallery where every two weeks we will display a new show of works of art or photographs.”

Instead of the restaurant, there will be a pot of wild mushroom soup on the woodstove, lots of homemade bread and homegrown sprouts, and Stuart’s blends of tea.

This might have been a good idea during the recent Thanksgiving weekend at the Aspen Pitkin County Airport.

The Aspen Chamber of Commerce is formulating plans for an Airport Host Program, which will be designed to ease the visitor’s arrival and departure at Aspen’s Sardy Field. …

The program will center around volunteers who after working a day at the airport will in return be given a one day ski pass by the Aspen Skiing Corporation.

The program entails hosts and hostesses going to the airport on Saturdays, and days when planes are delayed due to inclement weather. Volunteer hosts and hostesses will circulate among the people to help out, and ease the communication strains that often occur during the peak days at the airport.

Aspen’s present-day educational and sports campus received a big boost 25 years ago.

If a federal grant is reaffirmed for $100,000 Aspen will acquire another seven acres next to Iselin Park, the city council decided during its regular meeting Monday.

Acquisition will come through purchase of five acres from James E. Moore for $200,000, plus a gift of two acres from Moore.

Several years ago Moore gave the city two acres on which it built the pool at Iselin Park, which now bears his name. In addition, Moore gave the city one acre in the tract between the pool and Maroon creek in 1971. …

[Recreation Director Ted] Armstrong told the Aspen Times that the seven acres, with the one acre received last year, would hold one or more playing fields.


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