Panorama of 14th St lobby, 2006. Click on the image and drag to look around lobby; "a" to zoom in, "z" to zoom out.
With 45,000 customers
in and out of this business office each month in 1929, the Curtis entrance was conveniently designed for customers to pay their bills in person. One hundred and ten employees, known collectively as the Commercial Department, served customers. Six teller cages ran along the north side, with offices and counters available for interviews. Counters extended along the east side for stenographers and order writers. Order checkers' offices were also on this side. Tellers used a pneumatic tube delivery system to deliver payments to the Commercial Office on the 9th floor. (For an interview with one of the customers who paid his family's phone bill here around the time the building opened, click here
Now, the Curtis St. entrance is locked and is referred to as the "ghost lobby"; it is unused and most of the teller cages are long gone (and the wrought iron around them has been moved to decorate the employee break room on the fifteenth floor
There was also a public office on this floor serving customers who wished to make long distance or local calls from private booths; this was a separate room, well-furnished with upholstered chairs, "an air cushioned leather sofa, [and] a large library table centered with an Italian pottery vase." It included private booths and separate rooms equipped with chairs and desks, "where salesmen for
Sidebar: Operating the Elevators
In 1929, the idea of a fully automated elevator was quite new--so new, in fact, that the elevators in the phone building spooked some visitors, who expected the contraptions to be operated at least partly by hand. The phone company thus hired "elevator operators" to stand and push the buttons.
national concerns may spend several hours or an entire day calling up their customers." A library of phone directories was also found on this floor.
The 1,510 employees of the phone company used the entrance on 14th St. (the only entrance open today). Both lobbies were (and are) adorned by magnificent murals painted by Colorado artist Allen True; more about the murals can be found here. Today, the 14th St. lobby is as far as you can get; due to security concerns (since the building is still a working central office owned by Qwest Communications), visitors are not allowed into the building without an escort.
For more images of the main floor, both in 1929 and in 2006, click here
Continue the building tour on the Even Floors