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

Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago

January 1904

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’ competitor newspaper 100 years ago.

The good old days in dentistry were nothing to wax nostalgic about. The Aspen Democrat reported,

Lew Carter was taken to hospital last evening with a broken jaw bone caused by having a dentist pull one of his back teeth. The roots of the tooth were crooked and bent outward and in the attempt to pull it the jaw bone was broken.

Ironically, this ad appeared a few days later. Well, perhaps there is something to be nostalgic about: the fees for dentistry.

Dr. Milton, dentist of Leadville, is at the Hotel Jerome for one week. His prices are a follows: A full set of teeth on rubber plate $7.00, gold fillings from $1.00 up. Amalgam fillings 50c to $1.00. Gold Crown and bridge work $5.00 per tooth.

Many original settlers continued to depart Aspen in search of silver and gold.

Word which will be of much interest to numerous Aspen people especially mining men acquainted with the Gillespie family, formerly located in this city, has been received from Bert Gillespie. He writes that he departed the fore part of last week for Dutch Guianna [sic], South America, where he goes to accept a position as superintendent of a large mining property.

But many more stalwarts stayed in the district, working their claims to hit the next mother lode. The paper heartened,

Jack Atkinson and Frank Coston, after a short recreation trip to this city, leave again this morning for the Little Annie mine where for months they have been pushing development work energetically. However, the outlook has changed but very little, but they still have hopes and are keeping right at work. They are going on the advice of the Irishman: “Always put in another shot after you quit.”

Today it’s the Ultimate Taxi; in 1904 it was a sleigh ride!

These cold, bracing evenings with plenty of snow are just right for sleighing parties and none realize this fact better than the young people who can appreciate a fine time together and know enough to keep warm. Consequently Friday evening Julius Smith and Ralph Stitzer entertained a number of young friends by giving a fine sleigh ride. A big sled drawn by four horses was in order and with the tooting of horns and singing of songs the gay party were off. After riding all over town for several hours making themselves known, the merry crowd repaired to a restaurant and enjoyed an oyster supper. They went to the home of one of the party and spent a few hours in social dancing. It was indeed a splendid evening’s enjoyment and every guest had a genuine good time.

January 1954

The winners of the Wintersköl parade were announced. The ongoing controversy of water diversion to the Front Range, earnestly reported in The Aspen Times throughout 1953, was humorously depicted in the parade.

The honors go to the Aspen Public Swimming Pool, owned and operated by Mr. Len Thomas. The float showed Night Marshal Jim Parry in an individual steam bath with Phil Brady attending him in a white terry cloth robe. Misses Ellie Mims and Marsha Sehm were supposedly reclining around the pool, with Bob Card ready for a little water skiing.

Second prize goes to the Little Percent Taxi Co., owned and operated by Natalie Gignoux. Natalie is being pulled by one of her drivers, Ted Mueller, and showing all the comforts that go with a taxi company.

Third prize was won by Fred Fisher, operator of the Fix it Shop. Freddie’s ingenious idea was to put an outdoor motor on a bath tub, which was fixed upon skis and have it self propelled. There not being enough snow to completely cover the street, he had to have the assistance of Mrs. Shady Lane and her jeep to pull his amazing float here and about. Freddie’s slogan was, “The Rape of the Roaring Fork” or “Who Pulled the Plug?”

One of Aspen’s first mountaineers, a survivor of a tragic climbing expedition on K2 and writer of the book, “Storm and Sorrow,” documenting the adventure, announced a new venture.

A mountain and fishing guide service, under the direction of Bob Craig, will begin operation this June … and it is contemplated that the Aspen Sports Shop will be its headquarters.

It is felt that much of the back country of Aspen does not receive its due so far as mountain travel is concerned. People say on one hand that the terrain here is not suitable for mountaineering, yet when one asks what they have climbed, the answers are surprisingly vague. Craig, a veteran of 17 years of mountaineering and guiding experience in the U.S., Canada, Alaska and the Himalayas feels that we must try to discover how much mountain climbing can really be developed here. It seems it might be a wonderful countersport to the intellectual and artistic enterprises of the summer season.

The Aspen Society page included an item about the writer of a new column called “Around Aspen.”

Mrs. Jim [Mary Eshbaugh] Hayes was guest on honor at a pink and blue shower Monday evening at the home of Gladys Chesley. Assisting the hostess were Eudora Autrey and Virgene Anderson. Other guests were E.J. Obermeyer, Lynn Wille, Berta von Fumetti, Wilma Gann, Dorothy Helmkamp, Hildur Thurston, Ruth Ringle and Mary Weldenhaft.

January 1979

It was a big snow year in 1979. The paper crowed,

Practically the entire state experienced above average precipitation during December, and more than half of the weather stations in the western two-thirds of Colorado received more than double the average precipitation.

Nolan Doesken, assistant state climatologist at Colorado State University, said … precipitation totals are also above average along the Front Range and across the San Luis Valley. The eastern plains are still drier than usual, “but their moisture situation has improved.” …

Aspen had about 229% of average, according to a precipitation map that accompanied Doesken’s report.

Be careful what you wish for: Another item in the paper inevitably noted,

Cloud seeding in Colorado has been halted by State Natural Resources Director Harris Sherman because of above-normal snow accumulations in the four major drainage basins around the state, potential wildlife problems and hazardous driving conditions. …

The firm that had been seeding the Roaring Fork Valley, Western Weather Consultants of Durango, had temporarily suspended its operations two days before because of avalanche hazards.

The local seeding project had been financed by the Aspen Chamber of Commerce, the Snowmass Resort Association and the Aspen Highlands Ski Area.

A glowing profile by a smitten Mary Eshbaugh Hayes filled an entire page under the headline, “Arnold Schwarzenegger: born with positive thinking.”

An interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the body builder.

How did I get this assignment, I thought.

Because it was Friday afternoon and all the guys on the staff were out on “skiing assignments.” That’s why. …

I figured he would be too much muscle. That his head would probably also be too big from all his success. …

Schwarzenegger was six times Mr. Olympia, five times Mr. Universe, once Mr. World.

He laughed and said he actually is down to 215 pounds from 250 pounds and works out one hour four times a week instead of four hours every day.

He’s more into being a movie star these days than being a body builder. …

He was tops in body building and now he is concentrating on being tops in the movies. That’s where his positive thinking comes in.

Schwarzenegger is thoughtful, “I was born with positive thinking but I didn’t know what it was at first. … I have a lot of joy … I have so much confidence I knew I could reach my goal.” …

He said he always felt different. He felt destined for greatness. …

He told me, “Once I identified my positive thinking, I use it now in everything … in acting … in my book. I wrote the book with the attitude it would get on the best seller list. And it did.” …

I took my [copy of his] book and walked away, thinking what a refreshingly nice guy he was.