Our History: ‘60s were eventful but not turbulent in Glenwood
The Post Independent this year is celebrating local institutions’ anniversaries — including our own — with a special feature many Sundays through the year. The PI traces its roots back 127 years, but our publication volume number is 125, while the White River National Forest looks back on 125 years and Colorado Mountain College marks 50 years.
Today we offer the eighth installment of Post Independent history and the events it chronicled locally in the 1960s.
One of the most turbulent and triumphant decades in American history, the 1960s, also saw a fair amount of change and progress on the home front in Glenwood Springs and Garfield County.
It was in 1967 that two long-standing institutions, Colorado Mountain College and the Sunlight Ski Area, were founded.
In 1960, the reorganized Roaring Fork District RE-1 was formed to oversee public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.
Lucian Allen was the first superintendent of the newly formed district. Serving on that inaugural school board were Cliff Kimminau, DRC Brown, Kenneth Balcomb, Price Chase and Harold Pabst, as reported in the pages of the Glenwood Post.
The Post — now the Post Independent — has gone by various names and often changed its publication frequency throughout its history of roughly 125 years.
By the 1960s, the Post was into its third decade of ownership by the Samuelson family.
Brothers John H. and James B. Samuelson were editors and publishers of the weekly Post, published on Thursdays until the latter part of the decade, when it switched to a Wednesday publication. John Samuelson and his wife, Angie, bought the paper in 1966 and together published it until its sale to Stauffer Communications out of Topeka, Kansas, the following decade.
A string of competing weekly, semi-weekly and even daily publications went up against the Post during the ’60s, including the Glenwood Springs Sage. It was started by Aspen newspaperman William Dunaway in December 1959, and later merged with the Morning Reminder to become the Sage Reminder, according to records kept by the Glenwood Springs Historical Society.
In the mid-1960s, Martin Vanderveen was editor of the Sage, a position he kept until June 1967, when the paper was sold to Allen D. and Charlotte Maggard and merged with their Morning Reminder to become the Sage Reminder. That paper published five days a week until April 1969, when it reverted to a semi-weekly. Al Maggard still resides in Glenwood.
The semi-monthly Glenwood Gazette and High Country Gazette also published for a short time in 1968-69.
Meanwhile, the Post kept a weekly record of happenings in Glenwood Springs and greater Garfield County, with news columns from Carbondale, Basalt, Aspen, New Castle and Gypsum.
There was also a society page, and a page dedicated to news from the local schools and Glenwood Springs High School sports.
Early in the decade, the Post featured a “Public Figure of the Week,” and on Jan. 7, 1960, that person was Erie E. Hubbard, “known around town as county assessor.”
“A baseball fan, Erie played with the Glenwood Springs Town Team, The Glenwood Sluggers and spent one season with the Rifle Town Team …”
His nephew is longtime Glenwood Springs historian Carleton Hubbard, who still resides in Glenwood.
“President John F. Kennedy, the nation’s 35th president, is dead,” the Nov. 28, 1963, issue of the Post reported in a rare break from the usual local news that filled the front page in those days.
“He was assassinated during the noon hour Friday, November 22, in downtown Dallas, Tex. Critically wounded in the same attack was Gov. John Connolly of Texas who was riding in the open-car motorcade with President Kennedy and their two wives.”
The non-bylined article went on to detail the events of that “bizaare (sic) weekend,” including the arrest of assassin Lee Oswald and his subsequent murder by Jack Ruby.
Interestingly, the national news, including the swearing-in of President Lyndon Johnson, was given equal play on the front page of the Post to a county zoning dispute.
The big national news and events of the decade gained mention here and there in the pages of the Post, but generally took a back seat to local happenings.
The only mention of the Robert Kennedy assassination in June 1968, was a brief reference at the tail end of a story about the state Republican convention in Aspen, where Richard Nixon was the favored presidential candidate over Ronald Reagan.
“The assemblage conducted a silent moment of prayer for Robert F. Kennedy, Democratic presidential candidate who had been felled by an assassin’s attack,” the Post reported.
A prayer was also said for the 50 “boys” who died that same day during fighting in Vietnam.
The July 16, 1969, issue of the Post included a picture of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin in advance of their historic Apollo 11 moon landing.
On the local front, 1965 saw the completion of the new Glenwood Springs Post Office at Ninth and Colorado, and a new municipal building at the corner of Eighth and Cooper where the downtown fire station stands today.
That same year, Colony Development Co. was busy building a prototype oil shale mine along Parachute Creek, north of the town that in those days was known as Grand Valley. It was one of many attempts over the decades to get at the elusive oil shale reserves in the region.
Early on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 1965, a methane gas explosion at the Dutch Creek coal mine near Redstone took the lives of nine miners who were working overtime so that they could have the upcoming New Year holiday off.
Rifle Gap dam and reservoir was dedicated on Sept. 8, 1967, which was a big year for news in Glenwood Springs.
The year started with a “Sunday Spectacular Fire” on Jan. 15 that destroyed two downtown businesses, including the Glenwood Café.
The weekend of Feb. 4-5 saw the dedication of the new Sunlight Ski Area, and by fall the newly formed Colorado Mountain College was staffed up and ready for students.
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A report released this month by the Center for Colorado River Studies says that in order to sustainably manage the river in the face of climate change, officials need alternative management paradigms and a different way of thinking compared with the status quo. Estimates about how much water the Upper Colorado River Basin states will use in the future are a problem that needs rethinking, according to the white paper.