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

Aspen’s history: 25/50/100 years ago

April 1903

The Times printed the following item from one John O’Donnell, in the wake of an apparent power struggle between Aspen’s mayor and the town marshal.

Owing to the trouble, real or imaginary, between the mayor of the city of Aspen and the city marshal as to which has the authority to control the police force, I have refused to longer serve as a police officer in this city. As an American citizen, I wish to be free and untrammeled, and I will not wear the collar of any man.

The first of May was celebrated in grand style a century ago.

Last evening the youth and beauty of the city gathered at Armory hall to attend the May Day ball given by the Ladies of the G. A. R. …

The May Pole dance by twelve little misses from the “desolated” schools was a beautiful part of the program and excited much comment, and all of it was complimentary. …

There was a large attendance and the floor was in splendid shape. The music was up to the highest standard and everybody enjoyed the occasion immensely. Ice cream was served by the hostesses during the evening. Not one untoward incident marred the festivities.

The Times continued to run optimistic reports that Aspen’s faltering economy would rebound any day.

The town seems rather quiet considering the price of silver. A gentleman of the city yesterday accounted for this in the following manner. He is of the opinion that a great many people decided to leave town and were saving up their money for the departure expenses. He thinks that now that they discover that times are going to be better than ever, they will stay, and inside of another month Aspen will be a crackerjack.

Despite the slow business climate, Aspen continued to attract popular entertainers to the Wheeler.

A whirl of excitement has attended the announcement of Young Corbett’s approaching visit to this city next Monday night, May 4, at the Wheeler opera house, whither he comes with his All Star combination of vaudeville artists. … The feature of the evening will be a four-round boxing exhibition by Young Corbett and “Kid” McFadden, his sparring partner, or a similar exhibition with some local man of the featherweight class who may care to attempt to stand against the sturdy little champion.

For local green thumbs came this piece of curious advice.

Plant your flower seeds today while the sign is in the light of the moon, and you will have plenty of blossoms. One of The Times correspondents states that this is a sure winner. The custom comes from Germany and what the Germans don’t know about flower raising isn’t known.

April 1953

A native Aspenite became a victim of battle in the Korean War.

Funeral services for James Everett Bionaz will be held this Monday, May 4, with church services at 10:00 a.m. at St Mary’s Catholic Church followed by military services at the grave. Burial will be in Red Butte cemetery. …

Jimmy died March 3 of a hemorrhage after receiving a chest wound in Korea. He was born September 15, 1932, in Aspen.

Fifty years ago, Aspen was gearing up for a school board election at the beginning of May, and there was a healthy selection of candidates.

At this writing, six persons have indicated that they want to be voted for at the school board election next Monday, May 4th. Those filing for the East Aspen membership are Frank Loushin, druggist at the Aspen Drug Company, and Dr. Robert C. Lewis, Jr., who is running to succeed himself.

For West Aspen division of the school district, three men have indicated they are in the race. John Benninghoff, manufacturer’s agent for sports wear and sports equipment; Henry Stein, rancher; and Rudolph Pecjak, carpenter and builder.

For the South Woody division, Rene Duroux now completing a two-year term on the board has declared his intention to seek reelection to succeed himself.

With today’s proliferation of private planes out at the airport, an item like the following wouldn’t draw any notice.

If you’ve been wondering whose airplane that is which has been circling over town the past few weeks, it’s Don Randall’s new Beech Bonanza which he recently got under his dealership.

The plan will carry four persons, has a cruising speed of 175 miles an hour and has a range of 1175 miles.

A large regional music competition for school bands and choruses attracted a lot of interest from Aspenites.

Most of Aspen seemed to be in Grand Junction last Friday and Saturday when the Aspen school band, mixed chorus and girls’ glee club competed in the 27th Annual Music Festival. …

Aspen’s score in the three events was band playing 4, sight reading 3, and marching 3, girls’ glee club 2, and mixed chorus (class D) 2.

The Aspen band marching and playing in their new Alpine styled uniforms was in a class this year with much stiffer competition but did a creditable job since the opportunity of marching practice is limited at this altitude.

The mixed chorus sang …”It’s a Grand Night for Singing” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” both by Rogers-Hammerstein.

On Friday evening the girls’ glee club sang, “Younger Than Springtime” by Rogers-Hammerstein and “Lift Up Thine Eyes” by Mendelssohn. …

Most of the more than forty parents and seventy-five students returned to Aspen Saturday evening with some of them staying over and returning Sunday.

April 1978

Twenty-five years ago, The Times described a spring skiing ritual that, as recently sighted tracks can attest, is still popular today.

The lifts are closed, town empty – everyone has gone to Mazatlan, Hawaii, home to Peoria. But a few people – well, call them fanatics -still haven’t had enough, and who can afford the Bugaboos? …

6 am last Sunday saw five people crossing Castle Creek and donning skis and skins for the tour up Hayden Peak. Four hours and four thousand vertical feet later the fun began: the first few turns confirmed that the snow, while hardly ideal, was skiable. Wind-packed powder and breakable crust gave way to delightful glass-smooth corn snow, and the skis stayed on right to the river.

And with all that sun and effort, what better way to end such a day than a few cold beers in the company of friends, watching the sun go down over Mount Sopris.

The Times ran this tidbit about a high-profile potential homeowner who apparently wanted to come to Aspen to keep a lower profile.

A recent story in a Hungarian newsweekly in Cleveland said that the Shah of Iran is buying a $2 million parcel of land near Aspen as a hideaway. …

A London newspaper also recently called the Aspen Times to inquire about the same rumor.

To date, there are no official confirmations of the reports.

A prominent local whose death The Times noted last week was mentioned 25 years ago for funding a softball field on his ranch.

The W/J Cowboys and Cowgirls will begin practice April 29 on a new softball field on ranch property, with an adjoining volleyball area. …

The new area, “Ziegler Field,” is being financed by Wink Jaffee, and will be an asset to the city which is short of practice and playing fields.

A series of letters appeared defending another prominent local, including this missive from Aspenite Dick Clarke.

It seems to be a popular pastime to take pot shots at John Denver. And it’s been a continuing pastime by various elements of the national media to take pot shots at Aspen. I’m delighted that John Denver, with sensitivity and conviction, is airing some of the good things about Aspen. More power to him!

The Times reported that Aspen’s city council voted down a resolution related to the quest for women’s equal rights.

A resolution which would have prohibited the city from spending money for travel in states which have not ratified the equal rights amendment was rejected by the City Council Monday.

Prepared by the local chapter of the National Organization for Women, the resolution had been adopted earlier in the day, with amendments giving authorities some flexibility by the Board of County Commissioners.

Mayor Stacy Standley, however, stated that he would support a resolution favoring the ERA, but did not feel the city should limit its ability to conduct public business by adopting the proposed resolution. …

After a brief discussion a motion to read the resolution was defeated by a four-to-two vote.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User