Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago
Editor’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.
A sensational story on the front page, usually reserved for state, national and world news, once again reminded valley folks that liquor and firearms are a lethal mix. The newspaper confidently took on the role of judge and jury.
Yesterday afternoon Harvey White was shot and instantly killed by Geo. A. Morrison, owner of the El Jebel ranch, which is about four miles west of Basalt. …
As owner of the El Jebel ranch, Mr. Morrison has had the property cut up into sections with horse and building on each section, which he leases out to various parties. …
Early yesterday morning Mr. Morrison saddled up his horse for the purpose of making a trip to Harvey White’s house in order to see about collecting his rent. Owing to the fact that he is something of a taxidermist, he took out his 30-30 rifle and strapped it on to his saddle, thinking he might possibly run across a coyote or some other animal suitable for mounting.
After arriving at White’s ranch, Morrison found him at home and began to speak about the rent due him. White, who showed he was somewhat the worse for liquor, started in to abusing Morrison and finally said he would get his gun and kill him. White stepped into the house and returned to the door with his gun cocked and loaded and aimed at Mr. Morrison.
… When Morrison saw the deadly intent of White he realized instantly he was a case of kill or get killed and jumped behind a haystack and ran for his rifle on his horse which he had stabled in White’s barn. Securing the gun he stepped to the barn door just as White was coming around the haystack. Morrison took immediate aim and fired killing White instantly.
Mr. Morrison at once gave himself up and went to Judge W.H. Harris and related the circumstance of the shooting. …
There were no witnesses to the shooting but owing to the new fallen snow it was easy to trace the tracks of both Morrison and his horse, and at no time were any tracks found closer to the body than thirty feet which goes to show that upon the finding of White’s body which was lying on its back with the cocked and loaded rifle beside it, no one had been near him to cock and load the rifle and place it beside him, all of which goes to prove and bears out the statement as made by Morrison.
Another item to make the front page had a Glenwood Springs, Colo., Jan. 16 dateline and reported,
At the meeting of the city council scheduled for February 1, the name of this city will be changed to Glenwood Hot Springs. … This is the result of the recent organization of a Boosters’ club which is booming the town as a summer resort.
Following warnings of smallpox in Redstone and scarlet fever in Basalt in December 1903’s newspapers, this alarm came from beyond Hunter Pass,
Word was received in the city yesterday from Leadville that the undertakers were kept busy, there being so many deaths from typhoid fever, which is raging in the Cloud City at the present time. There has been from eight to ten funerals a day for the past week.
Today The Little Nell hotel and Ajax Tavern provide gourmet dining at the base of Aspen Mountain. Fifty years ago a photo in The Aspen Times of a small, unpretentious building in the same location ran with this caption.
The Little Nell Cafe, owned and operated by Paul and Humby Steuri, has provided a sun porch where skiers may eat their lunch and rest between runs. Wind breaks on each side of the porch make it a cozy place to watch skiers on Little Nell slope. The front of the cafe is decorated with eight shields or coat of arms representing eight of the twenty-two cantons or states in Switzerland. The other fourteen will be mounted both outside and in as soon as Paul has time to get them made and painted.
A fund established to send Aspen’s top junior skier, who had been selected as an alternate on the alpine ski team, to Europe was announced on the front page.
A fund called the “Send Max Marolt to the World Championships” has already been started. Every effort will be made … to send Aspen’s top junior skier to Europe where he will participate in six top races and then on to Sweden for the World Championships in Falun and Are.
The kick-off event will be a subscription dinner at the Golden Horn next Saturday evening. Owner Steve Knowlton has donated his place for the event. After the dinner, everyone present will adjourn to the downstairs room where a pair of Head skis will be auctioned off as well as a lot of other quality ski equipment.
The price of the dinner will be $8.00, but each will get a marvelous dinner as well as make a fine contribution to the expense fund.
The library announced a new acquisition, noteworthy not only because the books were to become classics, but also because the illustrator was a local.
The Pitkin County Library is announcing, proudly, that they now have a complete selection of the “little House” books. For you who are not familiar with this series, they are written by eighty-year-old Laura Ingalls Wilder. She writes about her own history and of the many people who settled in the middle west.
Garth Williams, now a resident here in Aspen, is the illustrator of these books. Mr. Williams has … traveled many miles seeking information about the household furnishings of that period and spent hours going through old newspapers and family albums to obtain a background for his illustrations.
The tradition of home-grown champion ski racers continued in 1979. The paper noted,
Three more Aspen products have headed to Europe to compete in World Cup and Europa Cup ski racing as part of the US Ski Team.
The three, Dave Stapleton, 19, Mike Farny, 18, and Mark Tache, 19, are among 18 men and 18 women selected for the January competition in Europe.
Also on the team, of course, is Andy Mill, 25, this country’s top-rated downhill racer.
Another group of skiers competed for skiing accolades in their own back yard.
A trio of Aspen skiers set a record of sorts Saturday when they skied all four of the area lift mountains the same day, requiring just 31 minutes of actual ski time for the four descents.
It took them exactly four hours and 39 minutes for the entire enterprise, according to group spokesman Leon Fell, and they demonstrated the mettle of local transportation by riding the buses to and from all four areas.
Fell admitted afterwards that he and his companions, Bob Busse and Michael Herndon, are not normally bus riders, but he said all three were surprised by the efficiency of local bus systems. …
Fell now plans to submit a record of the achievement to the Guinness Book of Records to see if he can get recognition from that chronicle.
Under a headline proclaiming Night Fever, the paper reported in a photo essay on the thriving nightclub scene 25 years ago.
Do people really come to Aspen to ski? Or do they come for the nightlife and the notoriety, even for an evening, of being among the beautiful people?
It is hard to tell this season. But one thing is for certain. Saturday Night Fever is alive and well every night of the week. …
The disco circuit has music and atmosphere for every taste.
At one end of the spectrum are the Tippler and Rebecca’s. Graceful elegance prevails, and silver spike heels are not uncommon gliding across the lighted floors.
The other extreme is Chisolm’s Saloon, where the blue jean crowd can be found executing contemporary square dance twirls to real live country music.
And then there is the Paragon, where everyone goes to see and be seen. It is part of the Aspen Mystique
But we all know that it is really not the wicker or the stained glass, or the sawdust floor. It is not even the throbbing disco beat.
It is the people who go to them that create the discos. And Aspen’s have a magic all their own.