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Headlines from the past

March 1903

March usually brings a wealth of entertainment to town; a hundred years ago, residents flocked to the Wheeler Opera House for a performance of a play imported from New York.

Mary Tudor, as portrayed by Effie Ellsler, in “When Knighthood Was In Flower,” is a vixen, but she is not always vixenish. She possesses love and tenderness when her heart is stirred. She has a will of her own as Miss Ellsler portrays her. She is determined to have the man of her choice, come what may. Miss Ellsler paints the complexities of the character with a deft touch. The production is under the direction of Frank L. Perley and he has spared no expense in having costumes and stage accessories of the most gorgeous and elaborate character.

These days most public battles of opinion get played out on the letters to the editor pages, but as the following news item shows, some Aspenites used to have it out on the streets.

One of the socialist orators created a diversion on the streets of Aspen yesterday by making a speech in support of his doctrines. One of the dissenters, and there seemed to be a number of such, interrupted the speaker with questions several times and later, the interrupter became engaged in an altercation with another man. For a while it looked as though there would be a fight, but the appearance of Marshal Walsh put a stop to hostilities. The doctrine of the brotherhood of man does not seem to have permeated all classes in Aspen yet.

Long before environmentalism was in vogue, obviously, The Times ran an editorial encouraging hunters to go after “pests” such as bears, wolves and mountain lions.

All the deer the ranchmen kill will not depopulate the ranks of the deer of the state. It is the fellow who wants to kill all he can so he may brag about it later is (sic) the man we must fear and check.

If we could only get them enthusiastic over killing bears and wild cats and wolves and mountain lions no harm would be done. However, they prefer to slay the animals who run from them rather (sic) tackle a dangerous proposition.

We suggest that the state pass a law prohibiting the shooting of bears, wolves, lions and such, and perhaps that will incite the imported sportsmen to deeds of daring against the pests. They do love to disobey the law and are willing to pay for it.

As the recent warm weather and resulting snow melt reveal piles of dog droppings and other forgotten trash, we can identify with this century-old commentary.

These warm and sunny days have a tendency to make the town look dirty and dingy. While there was a white snow coverlet over everything it looked all right. A person could chuck the contents of the coffee pot and the dirty water out in the back yard, in the conscious security that the next morning it would all be concealed by the beautiful snow. But now the past acts of uncleanliness are come to light.

March 1953

Fifty years ago, the Atomic Energy Commission considered Aspen a potential source of radioactive ores.

Mr. Charles Bromley and Mr. Fred Boyd, representatives of the Atomic Energy Commission, have left Aspen after completing a series of diamond drill test holes in Smuggler No. 2 tunnel.

The work of drilling 700 percussion feet total in holes of 15 to 27 feet in depth at varying angles from the tunnel, was done under contract by Herron Brothers who have most of the district under lease from the Brown and Hyman estates.

So far more than 3,000 pounds of samples have been sent to the testing laboratory in Denver. That Aspen should have radioactive ores comes as a surprise to a great many people especially to old time miners who were after the old standbys – silver, lead and zinc.

Before today’s expansive school campus existed, the proposed addition of three rooms and a gym to the Red Brick School was big news.

In one of the most important board meetings of many a year, the Board of Aspen School District No. 1 (Re) last Monday evening, voted to seek approval of a $120,000 bond issue to finance a building program of three additional school rooms and an auditorium-gymnasium at a special election of the qualified voters of the district. …

Architects estimates have indicated that the three classrooms will cost approximately $45,000 and the auditorium-gym will cost $55,000 for a total of $100,000. The extra $20,000 in bonds is a safeguard that IF the construction costs under a contract costs more, that money will be available to finish the project.

On his way to becoming one of Aspen’s longtime residents, ski shop manager Shady Lane was honored as “Businessman of the Week.”

One of Aspen’s enthusiastic mountain climbers is William (Shady) Lane who is partner and manager of Knowlton Sports Shop. Peaks climbed by Shady in this area include Maroon, Pyramid, Capitol Castle, Grisley and Red Butte.

Shady is a native of Cheyenne, Wyoming and received his early schooling there, and following high school graduation he attended Colorado School of Mines in Golden. The (sic) came World War II and Shady served with the 10th Division Mountain Troops with three years overseas duty in Italy.

After discharge from armed service, he attended the University of Wyoming. One day in December 1946 he came to Aspen to ski and liked it so well here that he stayed on. He was on the ski patrol three years, a ski instructor one year, and has been manager of Knowlton Sports for three years. The shop specializes in all types of ski equipment and has a ski repair shop.

March 1978

A photo spread titled “The Day the Stars Came Out” featured participants in a high-profile local ski race, which drew such luminaries as Clint Eastwood, Steve Martin, Cloris Leachman and Marlo Thomas. As the Times graciously noted:

The first John Denver Celebrity Pro Am brought a galaxy of stars to Aspen last weekend. Some could ski. Some couldn’t. But they all tried.

“Real” racers were in the news, too, as two speedy skiers who are still familiar to Aspenites had impressive showings in World Cup competition.

Aspen’s David Stapleton recorded a remarkable 22nd-place finish Saturday against the world’s elite in a World Cup slalom at Stratton Mountain, Vt.

The day before, Stapleton finished 39th in a World Cup giant slalom at Stratton.

Monday, Aspen’s Mark Tache placed 31st in a World Cup giant slalom at Waterville Valley, NH.

The pair left for Europe Tuesday to compete in the remainder of the Europa Cup race series with the US Ski Team.

Preserving the character of downtown Aspen, parking problems, local businesses closing … though they read straight out of today’s headlines, these issues were already at the forefront 25 years ago.

The Mall Commission voted to preserve the character of Aspen’s downtown commercial core and to brick more streets at the regular meeting of the group on March 7.

Committee members stated that they want to see the downtown area remain a mix. A viable shopping area for both resident and visitor.

They decided, however, that they cannot consider expansion of the mall until City Council addresses the problem of parking.

The committee voted to recommend to council that Rubey Park be used for a parking structure and a transportation center, that acquiring the Chase property across the street be considered as an addition to the transportation center, that the City of Aspen should acquire the Sinclair property at the corner of Galena and Cooper and make it into Independence Square. …

Voting on the issues were regular Mall Commission members Jon Busch, Gary Plumley, Curt Baar and Pete Stone. Alternate members who voted were Andre Ulrych and Kent Bigelow. …

Baar, Ulrych and Plumley led the discussion on the character of the downtown commercial core. …

Ulrych stated, “Two years ago we were concerned over what the Rio Grande area shopping center would do to the downtown. Now we are beginning to see the scope. It could make downtown strictly tourist oriented and local businesses will be driven out.

“You can see it happening on the Hyman Ave Mall. Businesses keep changing and the only ones coming in are tourist oriented. Unless something is done right away, the character of downtown Aspen will drastically change.”


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