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

Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago

June 1903Aspen’s famous biking duo returned to town after yet another lengthy road trip. The Times reported,Sunday afternoon two tired and dust stained heroes entered the confines of Aspen. A close observer might have distinguished the faces of Ted Cooper and “Doc” Parsons under the coats of dirt, tan and blistered skins. They have been gone for about three weeks. They crossed the range to Gunnison and then went through Salida and thence through South Park to Denver. They rode the snow most of the way. Then they took the good roads to Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The wind was so strong that they could not continue south and so they returned to Florence and thence to Cripple Creek. After they had visited the gold camps they went down to Florrisant and then to Buena Vista. They toiled up the grade to Leadville and passed through Ivanhoe-Busk tunnel, stayed over night at Sellar and dragged themselves through Basalt and then on up to Aspen. It was a hard trip but they made it in triumph.If this were the law today, imagine the problem of prison overcrowding …Yesterday morning an information was filed against J.S. Wilson and some woman charging adultery. Both pleaded guilty to the charge and the judge sentenced them to pay the costs and to spend thirty days in the county jail. It is believed that if they will agree to leave town and stay away permanently, the jail sentence may be left off.Of course Mr. Wilson and his mistress weren’t the only ones with love on their mind. The Times wrote,The twenty odd students from the mining school of Columbia University, New York, reached the city yesterday by way of the Midland, and when they marched down the street the Aspen boys felt that their time had come. It is all off with them until the boys from the east leave. The girls won’t look at such a common thing as a town boy now for a while.Imagine life without the Internet, fax machines and cell phones. How about no phones at all?The telephone service in Aspen is an excellent one. If you don’t believe it try it in some other city operated by some other company. It is reasonable and it has become almost a household necessity. The Times believes that everyone should have a phone.Some things never change, like bears making headlines in spring.The first bear story of the season has come in. It is reported that Ben Holland and Mr. Barker, who are ranching near Avalanche creek, succeeded Monday in shooting a large black bear in that vicinity, weighing nearly 750 pounds, with a fine skin which they will probably put in the hands of a taxidermy.June 1953Now an integral part of the Aspen community, the local ski club was still making a name for itself 50 years ago. The Times wrote,The Aspen Ski Club will meet for the purpose of election of officers and for discussion of plans for the coming ski season.Aside from the election of officers, most important business under consideration is the planning for an improved junior and senior skiing program. …The activities of the club, in addition to the purely sports part, are very important to the industry of skiing here, and skiing is Aspen’s only industry, other than agriculture, for five months of the year. Also making a name for itself in 1953 was the town of Aspen – as a movie backdrop.At the Chamber of Commerce meeting Friday evening, members were unanimous in favor of approaching the movie industry as to future movie-set business for the Aspen area.The Chamber appointed Frank Myers to head a committee which will draw up a prospectus of statistical information, pictures of the area, and selling points to present to the studios in an effort to encourage the movie industry to use this area for future picture-making.Much as it is today, the Wheeler was Aspen’s cultural hub. This caption ran with a front-page photo:Pictured above is the Wheeler Opera House which plays a large part in the summer Institute program of Aspen. In the third floor opera room are given evening lectures, seminars and some concerts. The second floor has many practice rooms and office space, while the main floor houses Pitkin County Library and Beck & Bishop Food Market. In the basement of the building is the Berko-Henry photographic studio.Also like today, the topic of water was on people’s minds. The Times wrote,Governor Thornton and the State Water Conservation Board approved the contract with Leeds, Hill and Jewett of Los Angeles, engineers to survey the water resources on the Western Slope.This survey is believed to be the most important water survey undertaken in Colorado in years.The study will have two main objectives:1. Determination of the exact amount of water in various basins of the Western Slope from the beginning of any record to the present.2. Present and potential uses of water on the Western Slope, including additional acres of irrigable land and industrial developments, such as future coal hydrogenation, oil shale and paper pulp mill plants.June 1978Debate raged over lift ticket prices, which is hard to believe considering they were only $15 a pop. The Times reported,All four Aspen ski areas will charge $15 per day for lift tickets as a result of a Tuesday decision by White River National Forest Supervisor Tom Evans.Evans said the decision was based on the Forest Service policy allowing “free market competition” to determine the price of lift tickets and the fact that the rate hikes requests were not “unreasonable.”Evans then acknowledged that the standard of “reasonableness” is nebulous.”Reasonable doesn’t necessarily mean cheap,” according to Evans, who said he wished prices were lower so his own kids could do more skiing.He said, however, that it is up to individual area operators to determine a lift ticket price that will cover expenses and that the market will bear.Sal A Mander was back in the news, and not for his political aspirations. The Times wrote,Aspen Times cartoonist Chris Cassatt was granted a name change to Sal A Mander in Glenwood Springs District Court this week.The change, according to the newly-dubbed Mander, was purely for business reasons connected with his weekly cartoon strip, also named Sal A Mander.When pressed for further comment, Cassatt-Mander complained of a headache and said, “No comment.”No Fourth of July in Aspen? That was the plan 25 years ago. The editors of the Times had to this to say about the holiday cancellation.Having decided that last year’s Fourth of July mob scene was a bit more than Aspen could handle, the city has decided that there will be no official celebrations this year. Parades, picnics, fireworks, and all other similar events have been canceled in hopes of avoiding large rowdy crowds in the city.While we are not entirely certain that this was a wise decision, we are ready to accept it as an experiment.What we are not ready to accept, however, is the fact that no plans have been made to publicize that decision.We feel that if the city is determined to go through with its plans to “cancel” the Fourth of July, it must go all the way and spend the time and money necessary to spread the word that there’s nothing going on in Aspen this year on the Fourth.Otherwise, the problems we face might be much greater than the ones we are trying to avoid.