This week in Aspen history

One b/w photograph of two boys riding in a two-wheeled cart that is hitched to mule, circa 1900.
Aspen Historical Society/Courtesy photo

“Caught stealing coal,” proclaimed a headline in the Aspen Daily Chronicle on Sept. 25, 1890. “Some people in town, not content with obtaining all the coal necessary for their own uses from the coal dealers, have concluded to go into the business of wholesaling coal to other parties. One of the largest dealers in town has been missing coal from his bins for several days and set about to discover the parties taking it, and he soon came across some boys who had about 500 pounds of his coal in a cart to which a burro was hitched. When the boys saw the dealer coming they ran off and left their burro, coal and cart in possession of the coal dealer, who took charge of the rig and started for his office. The coal dealer had quite a time getting his capture home, for the animal, like the rest of its kind was very slow and stubborn. As the coal dealer slowly came up the street, pulling the burro after him, a large crowd gathered about and made a variety of exasperating remarks and suggestions and freely offered their advice as advice is always offered to people in trouble. Three boys who had gone into the coal business for themselves were selling their stealings to the dives on Durant street and the load captured was the third one they had taken and were about to dispose of for their own benefit. Shortly after the capture, the mother of the boys appeared at the coal dealer’s office and settled for the coal, and the kindhearted dealer promised not to prosecute the case.”

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