The fourteenth floor
is known as the executive floor. It contained the offices of the President and his assistant, the Vice President, the General Auditor, and the Secretary Treasurer, along with a Board of Directors' Room. Even today, the walls are the original 1929 hand-carved black walnut paneling, with some of the finest-grained pieces coming from the roots of trees. The beveled glass in the internal walls is still original. Much of the furniture, including the president's desk and filing cabinet, is original and was designed for the building.
In 1929, the fireplaces were operational; they are not today. The decor, such as the light fixtures and wood paneling, is mostly original. Former Mountain Bell President Robert Timothy
has his office next to this room. The piano now on display here was originally in the operator's lounge.
Sidebar: Vail Chair
Theodore Vail is often considered the architect of the Bell System. It was Vail, as AT&T CEO, who ordered three small Bell companies (The Colorado Telephone Company, Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company and Tri-State Telephone Company) to combine. They were merged into one larger company, Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Co. Mountain States' Board established the “Vail chair,” indicated by the bronze plate on the back. The chair was to the President's immediate right hand and was assigned to the company's longest serving director.
Board room: Albion Johnson's original picture of the boardroom features a table from the previous company headquarters on Champa Street. The custom-designed table (still in the board room today) for the new headquarters building wasn't finished in time for the new building's grand opening. When the table was finished, the top was a very large single slab of wood--too big for the freight elevator. A window in the board room was removed, casement and all. A hoist was built on the roof. The plan was to hoist the tabletop outside the building and maneuver it through the window opening. The building's chief architect said it wouldn't work; the phone company's engineer said it would. A bet was made. The telephone engineer won.
In 1974, Public Relations writer Herb Hackenburg wrote a story in MB Times
, the Mountain Bell newspaper, that described a house service man carefully screwing a hook to the underside of the board table. Why is that hook historically significant? Because it was put in place to hold the handbag of Mountain Bell's first female member of the Board of Directors, Blanche T. Cooperthwaite.
(For more images of the 14th floor, both in 1929 and in 2006, click here
Continue the building tour with the 14th Floor Museum