Phoning It In

The Colorado Telephone Company began in 1881 in Denver and was established in Cañon City by 1887. An article in the Florence Daily Tribune on February 16, 1899 placed their rates at $3 a month. Austin L. Hatch assumed the management of the company in November 1900. At the time, according to the Cañon City Record in 1906, there were 100 phones in Florene and 87 in Cañon City. In just two years, that number jumped to 180 phones in Florence and 200 in Cañon City.

The company constructed a building at 709 Main Street in 1906 and work was set to finish by June 25. The switchboard had a capacity for 750 wires and eight operators while 15,000 feet of cable was strung to meet the needs of the community. Despite the plans for the building to be completed in June, the company didn’t get to relocate until October. The main floor held the public rooms, the managers office, and the operating rooms. Two toll and six local operators ran the switchboard. The Colorado Telephone Company merged with the Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company and the Tri State Telephone Company in 1911 to form the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company. That company operated at 709 Main Street until 1959.

Colorado Telephone Company, 1910. Object ID: 2015.009.182a-b; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center
A voucher bill for phone service at Fremont County courthouse from the Colorado Telephone Company, October 1892. Object ID: 2001.277.015; Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center

The information presented in this article is compiled using research conducted by the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.

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