When Aspen was sleepy

As we enter the “offseason,” it’s a good time to let our new folks know of the many changes that have occurred over the years. Travel in and out of Aspen has certainly changed! During the 1930s and ’40s it was by a once-daily mail train consisting of a passenger car behind one or two stock cars of sheep and cattle.

Lodging was available at the Jerome just up the hill from the depot on Mill Street. Home-cooked meals were available at Angie’s cafe. And for a cold beer, it was local Red Onion saloon.

With the first snow of winter, it was time to hunt rabbits or deer on Owl and Brush creeks. School days were at the old Washington and Red brick schools. During the war, the school population was just over a hundred kids. My class of ’49 consisted of seven boys.

If you were in need of medical assistance, you had your choice of only one or two doctors in town. The old Citizens hospital is gone! Now only a memory for us old folks!

Growing up in Aspen during the “Quiet Years” was a time I now cherish. A time of simple pleasures and tranquil moments. But those bucolic times are gone forever.

Now the rich and famous seek their pleasure in Aspen. Large homes occupy every plot in the valley. Slick ads fill the daily papers with photos puffing million-dollar homes for sale. Sadly, Aspen has become more of a commodity than a community. But to all who still have roots in Aspen, may you continue to cherish and preserve the simple joys of being good neighbors and citizens. The little house at 1020 E. Cooper Ave. that has been advertised in your paper; I rented that little house from the Snyder family for $50 a month! Yes, indeed, times have changed!

Jim Markalunas