See the history to appreciate it | AspenTimes.com

See the history to appreciate it

Dear Editor:I’ve read about many interesting things in the Aspen Historical Society archives. For example: The Aspen Daily Times of March 1894 advised that travel on West Main Street was not recommended for mud scows that drew less than 4 feet. “Concierges” kept a chained bear behind the upscale Clarendon Hotel in 1887. The bumpiest street in town went to the whorehouses (why fix them; they’ll use the street anyway). The Victorian belles of Aspen enjoyed fencing. Chewing gum was the latest rage. And Guinness stout was available, even then, at the Gem Saloon. My point is that those who remember history are destined to appreciate it. Which brings us to the importance of voting to support the Aspen Historical Society in their continuing effort to help us remember who we are. An institution that is already in place and which contains so many interesting treasures should not be hobbled because of some ideological mindset about no new taxes, privatizing, or counting on nonprofit contributions as an alternative. Basic staff needs to be paid to keep open the museum and the historical archives on a daily basis. Before the city allocated emergency funds to maintain our bonanza of history, the archives were only open for several hours a day, for a few days a week, and staffed by volunteers who often had to cancel appointments because of real life responsibilities. Remember that we approved more money for the library a few years ago when they couldn’t afford to stay open.I’ve spent many enjoyable hours in the archives researching stories in the old newspapers, letters, out-of-print history books, clippings, photos, and with the helpful skeleton crew there who know their stuff. If you are a fence-sitter, visit the museum and the archives and see what a wonderful assets we have. Please vote yes on 5D, 5E and 5F.Tim CooneyAspen