Location: Denver, CO
Started: 1881
Sold to/Ended: Under orders of AT&T’s Theodore Vail, Colorado Telephone Co. basically merged with Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Co. and Tri State Telephone Co. to form Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Co. in 1911.

The owner of this certificate, Frederick O. Vaille, was the founder and only president of the Denver Dispatch Company that began telephone service in Denver in 1879. With 161 customers (including the Rocky Mountain News), this was the 17th exchange in the nation to open, and was one of the largest in the world.

By the time Vaille purchased these shares, he was serving as the Colorado Telephone Company general manager. With his friend, fellow Harvard graduate, and original financial backer, Edward R. Wolcott, serving as the president.

Vaille had traded his Denver Dispatch American Bell franchises for Colorado Telephone stock. At the time this certificate was issued, Vaille owned 6,193 shares of the Colorado Company. Edward Wolcott was well established in Denver when Vaille began the phone company. Wolcott was a major player in the banking, insurance and the gold and silver ore smelting businesses. Edward’s brother, Henry, became one of Colorado’s first United States Senators. Vaille married the Wolcott brothers’ sister. Edward built the historic Equitable Building, at Champa and 17th Street. About the time as these shares were put on the market, Vaille retired from the phone company and returned to his boyhood home in New England. After two years, he missed Denver’s climate and returned to Colorado where he spent the remainder of his life as a "gentleman" farmer in Littleton. (Vaille’s farm is the present location of the Pinehurst Country Club where his house and original barn remain as part of the property.)

The Colorado Telephone Company earned a reputation as being one of the best run of all the AT&T-owned operating companies. Replacing Vaille as the Denver General Manager was Edward Bell Field, who became the company’s president in 1903. Field supervised the merger of three Bell-controlled companies into Mountain States Tel. & Tel. in 1911.

Other histories:

return to museum entrance | THG main page
site map | educational resources
PICTURED: (above, beginning of article) Colorado Telephone Company stock certificate issued to Frederick O. Vaille (THG file photo).