A proud place
December 14, 2007
Due to the prodigious amount of snow and the equally prodigious amount of holiday hassles that have piled up around my casa, I did not get to this past week’s Aspen Times Weekly until yesterday.
You may find it unseemly for a writer whose column appears each week in The Aspen Times to publicly rave about The Aspen Times, but, unseemly or not, I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway.
The current edition of the Aspen Times Weekly featured a number of stories that I would recommend to anyone who cares about this town and its history. They were not political or preachy, they were simply informative and evocative of times past when this town was arguably, no, inarguably, a better place.
The first thing I read was a letter to the editor from one Morgan Smith of Santa Fe, N. M. Morgan reminisced about his fatherin- law, Robert O. Anderson, who passed recently. Anderson was a big figure in American business, the oil business in particular, and a huge figure in the development of the Aspen Institute. Morgan remembered meeting Anderson at the ” Red House at Second and Francis” that the Andersons had purchased for $ 13,000 in 1955. This reference and his subsequent letter brought me back to a simpler time when Aspen was a simpler place.
Next was a piece by Tim Willoughby, who grew up in Aspen, and recently found a telephone book for the Western Slope circa 1904. His story about the land lines and the mines was fascinating and again made me long for a simpler time in these parts.
A little further along was John Colson’s excellent cover story on the winter of 1976. It was a winter with little if any snow and the memories of those who were here reflect how different the town was then from now. Of course there were economic repercussions from the drought, but Tim Cooney’s line about everyone ” just going to The Pub for a drink” seemed appropriate to ‘ 70s lifestyle that was in full force.
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Christin Cooper, yes, she was referenced in this column just a week ago (full disclosure: I don’t know the woman), ran the second part of her excellent look back at the Roch Cup races. The way she described Aspen as a ski town made me want to live here then, in the 1960s, before commercialism changed the sport and this town forever.
Not that the past was the focal point of the entire issue. Stewart Oksenhorn, the man of the many words, asked some folks who would know, what they are looking forward to in the near future. Jim Horowitz, John Busch, Lewis Teague and others expounded upon the great art, movies and music that are coming our way this winter. It made town sound like a cultural mecca.
And then there was a closing column by John Colson called ” Hit and Run.” Credit where credit is due. John expressed his negative take on the recent redesign of the daily edition of The Aspen Times. I tend to agree with the curmudgeonly Colson that there is enough change in this town, and the homogenization of the daily rag is antithetical to all of the good feelings that I had as I went through this issue. But most important, the paper had the good sense not to censor one of their own. They took a ” hit” and let it ” run.”
The Aspen Times is an institution. For more than a century they have published good work and chronicled the comings and goings of one the most unique communities in America. It may be unseemly to pat them on the back in these very pages, but so be it. I’m proud to put print in this paper.
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