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

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’ competitor 100 years ago.

The Aspen Democrat showed its conservative colors with this proclamation,

A deplorable condition at present exists in Aspen and that condition arises from the fact that several of our young men think it necessary to use language unbecoming a heathen and a scallawag. And when these same young toughs open their gates of foul vituperation when assembled at some point on the main thoroughfares they seem to think they own the universe and do not restrict or lower their foul talk even upon the approach of ladies. It would be fitting if some man of herculean strength take this young mob in hand and bump their heads together at some time when they are hard to continue their slimy conversation while ladies are passing. Or what would be better still would be for Marshal Brown to arrest them as fast as they break the bounds of good citizenship and throw then in the cooler … At any rate let something be done to purify the atmosphere where it is necessary that ladies should pass.

One hundred years ago, the miracle of modern medicine came in the form of the X-ray machine. The Democrat wrote,

Several days ago, by means of the x-Ray, the bullet was located in the limb of Master Joseph Walsh and photographs were taken showing its location. Yesterday Drs. Robinson, Lof and Twining extracted the ball by the aid of the photos and the little patient came out of the operation in fine shape and it is now thought he will improve rapidly.

As is the case this year, the avalanche danger was on the rise in 1904. The paper reported in two different articles,

A snow slide of no small proportions was attracting a great deal of attention on the streets yesterday as it could be plainly seen from town. The slide came down just above the trail going to the Durant near the entrance of the tunnel. But fortunately it descended where no one was injured although several were badly scared.

All fear that William Brown and Phil Palmer, the two log cutters up Maroon, had been killed in a snow slide, was dispelled yesterday when the gentlemen arrived safe in town at noon. Anxiety over their safety was gaining considerable headway and had they not arrived yesterday a party of men would have gone in search of them today. The gentlemen report having seen eighteen slides while on their way home yesterday from their logging camp, a distance of eleven miles.


Aspen has long been home to up-and-coming competitive skiers, as evidenced by this article in the Times,

Aspen Juniors went to Winter Park last Saturday and Sunday for the Divisional Junior races and the results speak for themselves.

Placing first and second in the Class I boys in the combined were Melvin Hoaglund, winner of last year’s National Junior Championships, and Keith Marolt. David Ringle, the only other Aspen boys in Class I. suffered falls to push him down to 11th place in the combined.

Sally Moore and Carolyn Slavens of Aspen took second and third respectively in Class I girls event.

As a result of these divisional races and the individual past record in other races, the boys and girls have been selected to go to the National Junior Ski Championships.

Of course not all young Aspenites were into skiing. Here the Times reported on the artistic side of things,

The Aspen annual contest to determine the winner of the Lions Club Music Scholarship promises to be a headline event for Aspen. …

Fred Fisher has promised to produce one of his exciting and inimitable acts, which always pleases his audience.

Sepp Uhl and Sepp Kessler, accomplished yodelers and guitarists, will present their fascinating vocals, which never fail to gather applause and encores.

The Melody Miners, Aspen’s own barbershop quartette, who were the sensation of the “Winterskol” show will again harmonize their ballads in a skit which Walter Matthew, their manager, claims will stop the show.

Add to this the wonderful and enthusiastic talents of Cherie Gerbaz, Myrna Patton, Sylvia Sardy, Darrell Stapleton, Judith Ringle, Greg Feinsinger, Pauline Frost, Sally Moore and Bob Moynihan, all competing for the honor provided by the Aspen Lions Club and you will discover an evening of thrills, laughs and the best in entertainment.


Now a local tradition, the Town Race series got its start 25 years ago.

The Aspen Highlands Ski Area has initiated a town ski racing league with 20 six-member teams currently participating in dual course competition every Friday afternoon.

According to Buzz Fedorka, the area’s director of racing, a total of 25 teams is sought, and the races will continue through the last Friday of the ski season. …

According to Fedorka, the league will feature A and B divisions for both men and women. Competitors who do not belong to teams can race as individuals, he said.

He said the ski area wants to give local skiers the chance to enjoy ski racing and to promote the sport.

The Music Festival, which today houses students at its own Marolt and Burlingame apartment complexes, was wondering what it would do about its housing problem in 1979. The Times wrote,

The Music Associates of Aspen (MAA) has a three-fold problem, faculty housing, student housing and an overall long range problem on what to do with its operation in the next five years.

MAA board member Jean Jaffee told the chamber the number one problem is faculty housing. Rents have increased the availability of rental units have also decreased she said thus leaving the MAA in a quandary.

Another chronic problem the MAA faces each year is student housing. Jaffee told the chamber there are more than 800 students who come out to Aspen every summer. …

Chamber president Ernie Ashley asked Jaffee about the MAA’s possible plan to move to Snowmass. “There are more things available for the faculty and students at Snowmass,” Jaffee said. “We don’t utilize Snowmass now. The musicians don’t want to go out there. We are trying to get some to go out there now.”

The editors of the Times sounded off on an always controversial issue: water rights.

If a river in Colorado runs through private property does the property owner have a right to prevent people from floating in the river even though he does not own the water in the stream?

According to tradition in this state, he does. But the tradition and a recent arrest and fine for trespassing are being contested. The outcome will be of interest to all Colorado fishermen and boaters.

In many states, including Wyoming, the local courts have already ruled that persons may float or float fish on streams even when surrounded by private property if they do not touch the bank or riverbed. Such a ruling has yet to be made in Colorado, and local police are often called on to apprehend stream users by owners of property along them.

We think Colorado’s Supreme Court will have to agree with those in other states who have found that property owners may own the land adjacent to a stream, but have no title to the water flowing through the land. They therefore have jurisdiction over those who walk along the bank, but should not have the right to prevent others from floating on that water.


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