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Charles A. Wolcott papers

Identifier: COU:1748


A prospector, industrialist, and entrepreneur born in 1870 in Ward, Colorado, Charles A. Wolcott (along with brothers Edward and Frank, and business associates T. S. and A. M. Waltemeyer) created and participated in enterprises such as the Rocky Mountain Lumber Company, Colorado Consolidated Lumber, Monarch Supply, and the Rocky Mountain Railway Company. These early 20th century businesses operated primarily in the Middle Park region of Colorado, though Wolcott’s ventures, particularly in mining and real estate, saw him in other areas in Colorado and other states, and also much in and around Boulder, Colorado (where he had graduated high school, married, and then resided). Wolcott’s papers consist of business materials and correspondence, ledgers, government publications and pamphlets related to various business concerns. Photographic materials accompany Wolcott’s business record. Also in the collection are correspondence, photographs, genealogies, and other materials of interest concerning Wolcott’s personal and family life. Wolcott died in 1957.


  • 1900 - 1915

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Biographical Note

1) Charles A. Wolcott of Boulder, while prospecting in Middle Park, recognized the commercial possibilities of the large body of timber stretching along the western slope of the mountains from the Grand Lake area on the north to the area about the present town of Fraser on the south. To make the project even more attractive, David Moffat was building his railroad, the Denver and Salt Lake, across the continental divide and would pass through this timber belt. Wolcott brought these possibilities to the attention of a group of men with whom he was associated in operating a number of mines in Boulder County. As a result, the Rocky Mountain Lumber Company was incorporated by T. S. Waltemeyer, Charles A. Wolcott, and A. M. Waltemeyer on Feb. 2, 1905. The fall of 1904 the Danforth holdings were purchased and a rock dam was constructed across the Roaring Fork of the Grand (now Colorado) River to provide hydroelectric power and water. In the spring of 1905 a small sawmill was set up and timber was cut, and the little camp that was the small sawmill turned into the town of Monarch.

A larger mill and box factory was begun in late 1905 and early 1906 and a dirt dam was constructed across the South Fork about a mile and a half east of Monarch with a canal to carry the logs from the lake to the mill. But getting the lumber and boxes to the Moffat Railroad, a distance of 13 miles, still presented a problem. This was solved by building a standard gauge railroad from Granby on the Moffat Railroad to Monarch. On April 28, 1905, the Rocky Mountain Railway Company was created with T. S. Waltemeyer, Charles A. Wolcott, Charles C. Bromley (of Boulder, Colo.), Thomas Keeley, J. T. Waltemeyer (of Denver), E. J. Chissell, and Samuel Rees (of Omaha, Neb.), as Directors. The line was originally to run from Granby to Monarch and then to Grand Lake, but the Grand Lake branch was never built. Similarly, later plans for extensions north to Walden in North Park, east of the mountains to Fort Collins or Loveland, Colo., and west to Hahn's Peak never materialized.

The Rocky Mountain Lumber Company later became the Colorado Consolidated Lumber Company after it consolidated with the Middle Park Lumber Company, operated by George Eastom, south of the present town of Fraser.

There were also several other affiliated corporations having common officers, directors, and stockholders: the Rocky Mountain Railway Co., the Monarch Supply Co., the Monarch Consolidated Gold and Copper Mining and Smelting Co., and the Monarch Investments Co.

All of these operations came to a sudden ending in the fall of 1908. A fire, which destroyed the lumber mill and box factory, closed down the entire works both at Monarch and Fraser. To compensate the stockholders to some extent all the timber holdings, the railroad and the remaining saw mill and lumber yards, were turned over to them. They organized the Omaha Lumber Company, a Nebraska corporation with Charles Harding, President. Apparently this firm was no more successful than its predecessor and sometime later the tracks of the Rocky Mountain Railway were torn up and sold for scrap.

Besides these Monarch Enterprises, Charles A. Wolcott was active in real estate in Boulder under the aegis of Waltemeyer and Wolcott Investments of Arizona.

2) Charles A. Wolcott was born December 11, 1870, in Ward, Colorado, to Horace Alanson and Louisa Bixby Wolcott. His parents had crossed the plains from Grinnell, Iowa, in a covered wagon, the father parting company with his family to prospect in Arizona before rejoining them in Valmont, Colorado. I was told that he walked most of the way from Arizona to Colorado before rejoining them in Valmont. There he became the first preacher for the newly organized Congregational group. Later the family moved to Ward where the father mined and prospected, while the mother kept a boarding house for miners. A cousin told me that Horace surveyed the Sawmill Hill road from west of Gold Hill to Left Hand Canyon. He also built “with the help of a carpenter” the residence at 905 Marine Street in Boulder on tracts acquired from Marinus Smith. It was originally a two-family dwelling, each unit renting for twelve dollars a month.

Charles and his brothers, Edward and Frank, attended Highland and Central schools in Boulder. In 1887 his father died, and in 1892 his mother married Peter Mandeville Housel, a widower. Charles, Edward, and Frank were associated for many years with T. S. Waltemeyer of the Monarch Consolidated Company, one of the ventures of which was a box factory and tourist resort on the shores of Monarch Lake. The trip from Boulder and back was made on horseback over Arapahoe Pass. A relative remembered one trip in which her mount, attempting to jump over a fallen log, stumbled and threw her. "Oh, it’s broken," she wailed. Charles anxiously inquired what she had broken. "My chocolate bar," she said.

Always interested in mining, Charles made a prospecting trip of several months with Frank to Alaska. Later he went to Mexico. He prospected also in Utah and Arizona.

In 1908 he married Rosetta Gordon Bell, whom he had met in the choir of the Presbyterian church in Boulder. They had three children: Evelyn, Gordon, and Roland.

For the rest of his life his mining interests centered in the hills west of Boulder, where he frequently combined work with family picnics and camping trips. Excursions on the Switzerland Trail narrow gauge railway in June after the snows had melted became the height of adventure for the children. Charles thought nothing of walking the twenty or twenty-five miles to Boulder and back to replenish supplies.

Although not a university graduate, he loved to study, and accumulated a library of over 6000 volumes of theology, history, and English and American literature. He loved the Bible and poetry, carried on a voluminous correspondence, and wrote poems himself. He enjoyed skating with his children even up into his 70th year. He died in Boulder in 1957.


7.5 linear feet (8 Boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series: Series 1: Charles A. Wolcott - Personal and Business, 1880-1954 Subseries a: General, n.d. Subseries b: Middle Park, 1897-1935 Subseries c: Boulder, 1909-1912 Subseries d: Record Books, 1906 Subseries e: Government Documnets, 1908-1948 Subseries f: Miscellaneous Materials, 1880-1954 Subseries g: Poster, n.d. Subseries h: Photographs, n.d. Series 2: Charles A. Wolcott - Family Papers, 1941-1942 Subseries a: Bixby, n.d. Subseries b: Housel, n.d. Subseries c: Horace A. Wolcott, n.d. Subseries d: Evelyn Wolcott, 1941-1942 Subseries e: Roland H. WOlcott, n.d. Series 3: Charles A. Wolcott - Oversize, 1907

Processed by: Staff Reboxed by: Leanne Glenn, October 2008
October 2008
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States