People of the Times
Charlie’s Aspen Mountain manager’s office had bulldog pictures on the walls. In the ’70s when the Ski Corporation was called the Ski Corps, he tried to control the anarchy of too many ski bums. His window looked out on the morning mob of skiers, where he liked to stand behind his desk in rubber irrigating boots and comment on the parade of pesky locals, as they snaked by the party deck of Little Nell’s before going up the old Nell chair to the Bell Mountain lift.One winter he battled the original bra tree under the Bell lift, telling the lift department to keep the “goddamn tree empty.” They hooked out the offending lingerie from the lift with a long bamboo rig every morning, but people visited the thrift shop and got more, in larger sizes, and Charlie knew a losing battle when he saw one.Skiing, he lifted his inside foot in the one-time ski racer style of his era, and offending locals knew that a big bottle of red wine might get them out of trouble next time. – Tim Cooney
William Henry Jackson, 1843-1942W. H. Jackson dedicated most of his adult life to some form of photography. He started his career learning the trade in portrait studios in the East and then moved to Omaha to set up shop in 1868. Wanderlust grabbed him whenever he was tied to his shop or to city life, so he eagerly signed up with the Hayden Geological Survey in 1870 and ultimately spent 10 summers with Hayden. Jackson was a self-taught landscape artist influenced by Sanford Gifford and Thomas Moran – landscape artists, friends and colleagues on the Hayden survey expeditions at various times. In 1873, the Hayden team arrived in what is now Colorado, which led to the collection of Colorado scenes for which Jackson is well-known locally. In 1880, Jackson hired a photographer to run his portrait business in Denver and traveled around the state building a stock of pictures that supported his family in good style. After the crash of the silver standard, the economy struggled and his profits fell. Jackson accepted a commission from 1894 to 1896 to tour the globe filming railroads. When he returned to Denver in 1896, he was almost bankrupt due to broken promises of payment and diminished sales at home. In 1898 Jackson sold his complete collection of negatives to a firm in Detroit that held the exclusive North American license to use a Swiss Photochrom process, a lithographic method that produced realistic color prints from black-and-white negatives. Jackson and his family relocated in Detroit where he became a full partner in Detroit Photographic Company.- Georgia Hanson
A truly interesting woman, Heather has done more things in life than many think about. She’s done the usual – been married, raised kids, lived in the West End Victorian – but there’s more to Heather than just the usual. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, she owned and operated Aspen Copy Service, ran a telephone answering service out of the Wheeler Opera House, and traded a few horses around – in essence, a heck of a businesswoman. In addition, as Master of The Hounds for the Roaring Fork Hounds, she was instrumental in organizing the Roaring Fork Hounds Pony Club for school kids (still teaches there every Tuesday). Heather drove a brave, old, yellow Dodge pickup truck into absolute exhaustion hauling her horses and expertise to almost every horse show there was in the valley and beyond. The horse “scene” in the Roaring Fork Valley wouldn’t be anywhere near what it is today without the indefatigable and affable Heather Tharp, working quietly and diligently behind the scenes. She’s a true horseman. – Tony Vagneur
This town has always been shaped by it eccentricities and its eccentrics. My old, good friend Ivan Abrams comes to mind. I loved the smell and feel of his bookstore. With a potbelly almost always warm with tea water on top, with great books that only Ivan seemed to have, and a listening post that only a deep pull on his pipe would interrupt. I did not know that he had roomed with Brando and knew Jack Kerouac from NYC days. I did not know that he was a Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford. I did know that he was always interested in the person who was in front of him in his store. Sitting on his front porch watching Aspen change in a changeless setting of solitude was a prime pleasure of being downtown. Not the Jerome or the Onion, but Ivan’s sphere.Ivan changed over the years from a classics scholar and deep reader of Dostoyevsky to a New Age believer in the star Sirius and other extraterrestrial subjects. To visit him in later years was to be subjected to his belief in the bead and beads he called Crazy where the future was laid out. His major impact was on the people who visited him in the shop, from wandering hippies to very curious intellectuals, to young people in need of solace and courage, to down-and-out souls, to people just downtown looking for a good place to visit. Ivan loved Lincoln Creek, and I had the good fortune to help him collect wood up there the fall of 1966. Without Ivan around, Lincoln Creek has never been the same. Without the Quadrant Bookstore, Aspen is not the same. – Andy Hanson
Nancy Oden first came to Aspen with her parents in 1947, as part of a group of Chicagoans who got together to take the train to their favorite resort.In 1964, she and her three children moved permanently to the valley, living on her brother’s ranch in Old Snowmass. That’s where she met Bob Oden, orthopedic surgeon extraordinaire, married him in 1967. They have a daughter, Beth.But Nancy had so much more to accomplish. She became Chief of Credentials when Aspen landed a World Cup race, because she was one of the few people who’d traveled with the U.S. Ski Team (when Bob Oden was the team doctor).She has been involved in the Aspen Community Theatre since 1978, because, she says, “I loved to sing.” She has since worked tirelessly both on and off the stage and is on their board.Also, in the ’70s, she worked for Fred Lane, who ran the Lemonade Stand for the Music Festival. When Fred became too ill to continue, Nancy took over and has been CEO of the Stand ever since. Her list of volunteers has grown from 23 to 140 names, and the Fred Lane Scholarship Fund helps support music students. She is also a life trustee of the Aspen Music Festival and School.You’ll recognize Nancy next summer at the Lemonade stand, selling cookies and lemonade, her waist-length braid swinging jauntily.- Carla Peltonen
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