Mining Mention: Important strikes in Queen’s Gulch
In celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Aspen Times, we are printing a story or two from each year the newspaper has existed – 125 historical selections in 125 days. This series is being done in conjunction with the Aspen Historical Society. Sunday we reprinted the very first edition of the Times from 1881. Today, we move ahead to news from 1882. This article from March 11 of that year was headlined: “Important Strikes in Queen’s Gulch.””No part of Pitkin county has in the past attracted more general attention from prospectors and sight-seers than Queen’s gulch. The view from Tourtelotte’s Park, looking south, can scarcely be surpassed in Colorado. Beginning at the head of the gulch is a beautiful flat, a continuation of Tourtelotte’s Park, that stretches away in a gradual rise to Richmond hill. On the right hand ascending the gulch are heavily timbered slopes furnishing abundance of the finest mining timber. All that part of the gulch not covered with trees shows a green carpet of fresh, sweet grass, and young groves of Aspens. Probably it was the beauty of the country that first led the restless prospectors to search for valuable ores in this quarter, or it may be, reasoning from the direction of the veins in the Swedish Queen, Eva Bella, New York, Louise, Evening Star, and other mines, the conclusion was reached that the same vein must cross the gulch, and if sufficient development were done, the mineral would be uncovered. Not withstanding this logical reasoning, the miners have had considerable trouble in starting in the right places, because there is little on the surface to indicate the exact place to dig. It is astonishing how much work can be done in close proximity to a vein and yet no discovery be made.”This has been the case of many who have put their money and labor in prospects in this gulch, yet but very few have been discouraged, and the discoveries recently made will, no doubt, serve to hasten others to begin work once more with renewed hope and vigor. …”Leonard and Green have renewed work on their valuable property known as the Wheeler Cut-off. This fraction adjoins the Chloride, Ruby and Little Giant, and is a splendid location that can not fail to develop paying property. The development work at present consists of a 30-foot shaft, with a tunnel from the bottom some 20 feet and shows a large body of soft iron ore that carries a few ounces in silver. Now that work has begun once more, we expect to chronicle an important discovery before the snow has departed.In general”The recent rich strikes of mineral in the vicinity of Aspen has put energy into everybody. We venture to say that ten men are working on the hills this spring to one last spring. This is partially due to the early opening of the season. Our weather this spring, though cold and stormy last week, opens up with little snow and fair weather.”Mines and residents’ comings and goings dominated the news in 1882. When not discussing those issues, the Times covered the dominance of Republicans in a story later in March headlined, “THE ELECTION.””The election, Tuesday, like all others held in Aspen, passed off quietly, good nature seeming to be the order of the day. A crowd averaging fully one hundred men remained around the polls the entire time, the work and amusement consisting of soliciting voters for their friends, betting on the result, and joking with each other.”The principal fight in the contest centered on the mayor, the demo-citizens doing all in their pow’er to secure that position, which added to the well-deserved popularity of their candidate, he being personally known to most of the voters, and the bitter personal animosity which was exhibited by many soreheads against the republican candidate put the latter gentleman at a disadvantage, and resulted in his defeat.”The contest for clerk and recorder between Colin Timmons and Fred Bernoudy could not but force the impression upon the observer that it was altogether one-sided. …”For trustees, Milton Babcock’s election was conceded from the first. Of Messrs McPherson, Elrod and Slagle, it was supposed that the latter gentlemen would stand the least chance [they were all Republicans]; yet the result showed the contrary, Mr. Slagle receiving 177 votes, leading Elrod 4 and McPherson 27 votes.”The Times also published a helpful chart detailing the election results and little things like the names of those in the mayor’s race. J.W. Tanfield bested Ed O’Connell, 156 votes to 140.
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