Basalt historians seeking pre-1940 photos
The Aspen Times
When Bill Hegberg pieced together information for 12 interpretative signs for a walking tour highlighting the history of Basalt two years ago, he realized how true it is that pictures are worth a thousand words.
A panel called “The Splendid Spud,” for example, wouldn’t have been the same without a picture of an old flatbed truck delivering stacks of sacks of spuds to a railroad freight car.
That made Hegberg and other members of the Basalt Regional Heritage Society realize how a valuable resource is disappearing with the passing of older midvalley residents. They have launched an “aggressive” effort to collect as many family photos as they can find from prior to 1940.
Members of the society will come to homes to collect photos, scan them and return them in a matter of days, Hegberg said. If a person doesn’t want the photos to leave their sight, the heritage society members will scan them right at the home, he said. Either way, the photos remain with the families. Digital versions will be held by the Basalt Regional Heritage Society.
If the family wants the photos to remain private, they will honor the request. Otherwise, the old photos will be added to an online archive the heritage society is building. They will also be used in future history-oriented projects.
Hegberg said he compiled close to 200 photos from various sources when he worked on the Basalt History Tour. The panels were installed at various locations downtown in June 2014.
The heritage society volunteers have names of 11 longtime midvalley families they intend to contact for photo collections. They are compiling more names.
“We just don’t want to lose the pictures forever,” Hegberg said.
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Current Basalt officials say the town government has violated the Colorado Taxpayers’ Bill of Right by increasing the property tax mill levy over the prior years 10 times since the mid-2000s. Two former mayors contend the mill levy could be adjusted in any given year as long as it didn’t exceed the mill levy in 1994. It’s a $2 million question.