Based on the above ad from the September 18, 1901 Aspen Daily Times, cigars sold anywhere other than the Brick Saloon in town were filled with weed -- which, apparently, they thought led people to make out with pigs. And people say the marijuana shop competition is tough these days.
The wonderfully hypocritical part (in hindsight, of course) is that the ad is for the Brick Saloon, now much better known as the Red Onion.
First of all, how many hundreds (thousands?) of people brought home a pig from the Red Onion over it's century-plus history due largely in part to booze? Plenty. I can count at least eight in my head, and that's just from one Spring Break trip in 2003. And while "dope" was seen as a vice, the place had been a den of inequity for over a decade at the time of this article. Back then, the place was known for heavy boozing, gambling and whoring.
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Come to think of it, not much has changed. This is Aspen, after all.
By 1901, Aspen was in its "quiet years" between the silver boom in the 1890s and the post-World War I early ski and recreational boom. Through it all, the Red Onion remained open -- at least until 2007, when the building's then-owners decided not to renew the lease on what was then the longest-running business in town. Like most things in Aspen, greed and development won out in the end. The new Red Onion opened in 2010, but it just doesn't feel the same.
For what it's worth, there's currently legal marijuana being sold just three blocks from the Red Onion. Also: the Red Onion's address? 420 East Cooper Avenue, of course.
For more of Colorado's long, wacky (and often racist) history of cannabis as told through dusty old news clippings, check out our Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule blog.