People of the Times |

People of the Times

Alberta Moore

As a newly married young woman, Alberta Lund Moore first came to Aspen over a snowy Independence Pass on Dec. 29, 1936, in a Model A Ford with a rumble seat. The pass closed right behind them, and Alberta found herself a resident at the Hotel Jerome. Her husband Jim became a barber, and in the early 1940s they bought an old building at Main and Monarch, and opened “Moore’s Court,” Aspen’s first motel. Alberta washed and ironed the sheets by hand. She remembers a time when Jim, sitting in his old leather chair in the barbershop, told her they had a $7 electric bill due the following day. They did not have the money. Alberta told him he would have a good day at the barbershop, and sure enough, he made just $7. When Alberta went into labor with their first child, Sally, Jim had to borrow Albert Bishop’s car to get her to the old hospital on Red Mountain. It seems their Model A had burned up on the corner of Second and Main due to a gas leak.Alberta has been an incredibly loving, honest and hardworking woman her entire life. She has volunteered at the Thrift Shop for almost 50 years, and is still going strong. Stop by and see her there every other Thursday. She may be too busy to chat!- Cinnamon Moore Hughes, granddaughter

The exploits of the movers and shakers in Aspen History are well documented. But what of the everyday prospector? How did he see the good, and not so good times? What did he do for amusement, what did he purchase, read and eat? An invaluable set of daily diaries by Charles (Charlie) Armstrong, has given us answers.Charlie arrived in the region in May 1880 and lived in a cabin on the banks of Castle Creek. He watched the mining communities of Highland, Ashcroft and Aspen evolve almost from their inception. His diaries describe daily activities as he watched the first railroad train arrive in Aspen, attended events at the Wheeler Opera House and managed to travel to Chicago for the World Fair of 1893. Abe Lee, a fellow prospector and discoverer of gold in what would later become Leadville, was often a houseguest. Charlie hunted, fished, planted vegetable gardens and had a serious problem with alcohol. A surveyor by trade, he was intimately familiar with the silver mines in Pitkin County. In later years he helped survey many of the irrigation ditches still in use today. Not rich or famous and never married, Charles Armstrong saw it all, and left us with an amazing record not previously available to fans of early mining history. Curious? Check out “The Lost Journals of Charles S. Armstrong” by Christian Buys. – Larry Fredrick

Fritz Stammberger was more than the young Austrian printer for The Aspen Times. He was big, powerful, movie-star handsome – and one of the premiere solo mountain climbers in the world. He could be seen running up Aspen Mountain in midwinter with no gloves or hat to “toughen up.” Once, in the post office, he appeared bruised, battered and swollen. “Chust a little snowslide,” he grinned. I was in a car full of partyers when it slipped partway off the edge of Red Mountain Road. Like Sisyphus, Fritz jumped out and held the car on his shoulders until help came. When a large old cottonwood was destined for cutting across from the Times office, Fritz chained himself to the top branches in protest. In his early 40s he disappeared while on a solo climb in the Afghan mountains. He had married Janice Pennington, of TV’s “The Price is Right.” She never stopped searching. After the Iron Curtain fell, she learned that he’d been working for the C.I.A. and was killed fighting alongside the Mujahadin against the Russians.- Martie Sterling

Henry kept a street-level office in the Epicure Building with a Frederick Remington original in the window. He bummed cigarettes as if he couldn’t afford the matches to light them, and his face always lit up when he saw me – not so much because he liked me, I don’t think, but because he knew I had some smokes. His nemesis appeared to be Edgar Stern (Sears Roebuck and the founder of Starwood), because Stern had more money and got more recognition for his philanthropic efforts than Henry did – at least in Henry’s mind. I used to tease him about his $2 million ranch with its 40-cent gates, until he replaced them all (the gates).He started the first bottled-water business in Aspen, back in the 1950s, using actual Mill Iron ranch spring water to fill the jugs. He was a regular guy who liked to be known as a rancher.- Tony Vagneur

What can you say about John Colson?Just exactly this: He’s a reporter.Oh, sure, you can say a lot more. He’s a character. He’s a traveler. He’s a motorcycle rider (on the rare occasions when his bike is running). He’s a troublemaker. He’s a ranter and a raver and a rager. He’s a pain in the butt. And that takes us back to the essential point, because being a determined, dedicated pain in the butt is what makes John Colson one heck of a good reporter.Over the years, Colson has been promoted (if “promoted” is really the right word) to editor a couple of times and publisher at least once. But sooner or later, every time, he’s begged … no, he’s demanded that he be allowed to go back to being a reporter.It’s not that he couldn’t handle being an editor or a publisher, if he really wanted to. Colson’s as smart as they come and he could do damn near anything he wanted to. But that’s the point. He doesn’t want to be an editor or a publisher. He doesn’t want to be anyone’s boss. He doesn’t want to be part of the “establishment.”

He just wants to be a troublemaker. A ranter, a rager, a pain in the butt.He wants to be a reporter. And that’s exactly what he is. A damn good reporter. Which is just what this world needs. More reporters. Fewer editors.Rage on! – Andy Stone

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