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

Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago

January 1904

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.

The Aspen Democrat had been following a typhoid outbreak over Independence Pass, and at last was able to offer this explanation for the deadly rash of illness,

It is rumored that the cause for the typhoid fever which is at present raging at Leadville has been found. Rumor says the body of a man who was drowned in the reservoir was found. It is not known how long the body has been lying in the reservoir but long enough to decay and cause the typhoid germs in the water.

Mayhem of a different kind was taking hold in Aspen. The paper reported,

Yesterday morning, Mr. Breach caught some boys stealing gloves from in front of his store on Hyman avenue and he caught them and took them up to the city jail. Although the boys turned the stolen goods over to the city jailer, and one of them has been a fit subject for the reform school for the past four years, for some unknown reason that official turned them loose. The citizens of Aspen are getting tired of these youthful thieves and ruffians and it would appear that it was about time that they were taken in hand and put where they will not influence other boys who are not entirely bad.

Of course not all young Aspenites were bad boys. In fact, one young man was praised on the pages of the Democrat.

About 1 o’clock yesterday a bright, full-faced, big-eyed and honest little chap stepped into the Democrat office and said:

“Say, Mister, yesterday I found a sled in the middle of Monarch street and I took it home, cause I thought it was mine cause I found it out in the snow in the middle of the street. But here is the sled,” and the little voice choked with disappointment.

This is the sled advertised for and which was claimed to have been intentionally taken from in front of Mortland’s store, but after knowing the little man that brought the sled to this office, we are certain that he found the sled, as he said, in the middle of Monarch street and he did just right in taking home his find. He certainly did right to return the sled after knowing who the owner was.

The Democrat commends the little man and compliments his parents on having such an honest, straightforward boy.

January 1954

Evidence of Aspen’s increasing popularity as a tourist destination came in the form of a new Chamber headquarters. The Times reported,

On last Saturday afternoon, the Aspen Chamber of Commerce held open house to officially mark the opening of the Chamber’s first headquarters located near the Isis Theater. About sixty people visited the office during the afternoon hours.

The building needs a number of finishing touches and these are gradually getting done. The officers and board of directors wish to take this opportunity to gratefully thank every citizen who helped in the erection of these headquarters, however large or small their task may have been. All time and work was donated by the splendid cooperation of civic-minded Aspenites.

Now a small part of Aspen’s annual Winterskol celebration, the crowning of the Queen was once big news. In fact, 50 years ago it made the news in Denver.

From the large number of entries from college groups and ski clubs all over the country, five young ladies have been invited to the Aspen Winterskol as contestants for Ski Queen title. Big news is that from all these entries Aspen’s Joan (Joe) Culloden is one of the contestants. Joe is from Milwaukee, Wisc., and was on the Varsity Ski Team while attending the University of Colorado. She is now a member of Aspen Senior Women’s Team and is being sponsored by the Aspen Ski Club. …

David Mayer is in charge of radio and television publicity and has arranged for the girls’ and Steve Knowlton’s appearance on a Denver TV show.

Aspenites have always been known for their generosity, and the pleas of a local up-and-coming ski racer was the cause du jour in 1954.

The sum of $1350.00 was raised last Saturday evening at the Golden Horn for the Send Max Marolt to Europe Fund. … A significant thing is the fact that by far the largest part of this fund was raised and contributed by Aspen people for an Aspen citizen. …

The money was raised to send Max to Europe is of course important, but we must not overlook the fact that without the support by the townspeople and the school system of the Junior Skiing Program, the Ski Club would be unable to provide the traveling expenses and excellent coaching we now have, both of which are necessary in order to produce skiers and racers of the caliber of Max Marolt.

January 1979

Now the governor of California, it seems Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to the top may have begun ” at least in part ” in Aspen. The Times announced,

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Mr. Universe, is in Aspen and will be at Hobart Fancy Foods for an autograph party on Friday.

Schwarzenegger will autograph copies of his book entitled Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder.

Was this from the 1979 Aspen Times or the 2004 Aspen Times? You be the judge.

As the Aspen and Pitkin County real estate market tightens, new devices have come into use to keep sales going ” time sharing and fractional interests.

In time sharing, a property is sold for a specific time period, say January and February.

Fractional interests involve more than one person buying a single property jointly or as tenants-in-common. …

Ultimately, said Don Helmich, president of the Condominium Manager’s Assn, fractional interest sales could wipe out tourist accommodations in Aspen. The persons buying the shares would be unlikely to rent the units. …

This trend of empty units could logically expect to increase as the market values of real estate continue to increase. What are the socio-economic impacts, 10 to 20 years from now? What are the impacts on sales tax revenues, the social impacts if most tourists are owners rather than renters, the impact on remaining lodge accommodations?

Aspen’s reputation as a party town was growing, thanks in part to articles like this one,

Another round of allegations about drug use in Aspen aired last week by KMGH Channel 7 in Denver has provoked new and angry denials from embarrassed local officials.

KMGH reporter Bill O’Reilly, who claimed in November that Aspen is the country’s fifth largest cocaine distribution center, had his credibility bolstered last week when a spokesman for the Aspen Valley Improvement Association (AVIA) read a statement affirming there is “a drug and narcotic problem in Aspen” that is “a detriment” to the community.

The statement claims that this “drug and narcotic trafficking is hurting the business of this community as well as our national image,” and it calls for greater cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Armed with that statement, O’Reilly and his camera crew barged into the office of city attorney Ron Stock last Wednesday, and the city official’s refusal to make a comment provoked a comic-opera chase through City Hall that appeared on the TV station’s news broadcast the following day.

And the city’s response:

Aspen Police Chief Rob McClung has requested a meeting of city and county officials tomorrow morning to discuss possible legal action in the wake of Channel 7 reports on drug activities in Aspen.

McClung believes the stories about extensive drug trafficking in Aspen are inaccurate and exaggerated and wants to resolve the question of whether legal action should be taken or the issue dropped.