Colorado Pioneer Monument, Subscriber # 34
Joseph Addison Thatcher
Joseph A. Thatcher was one of thirty-three millionaires that lived in Colorado in 1892. He was born in Shelby County, Kentucky in 1838. Moving his way west, he attended Jones Commercial College in St. Louis, MO. With his partner, John Ralston he traveled from Kansas City to Denver. The trip took 47 days. When he arrived he turned his cattle out on the grounds that would eventually house the Brown Palace Hotel. From Denver he took the merchandise he brought to start a business to Central City. The trip took nine days, as the trip was very difficult with full wagons.
In Central City his mercantile business failed. From mercantile he moved to mining, purchasing a stamp mill. That business also failed. By now he had a basic understanding of mining, studying ores. He was able to buy and sell mines. He worked for Warren Hussey in Central City for seven years, until 1870. He then bought the business, a bank, and changed the name to Thatcher, Standley & CO. Joseph Standley and Joseph Thatcher owned the California mine in Central City. The treasure of the bank was Frank C. Young. In 1874 the name was changed to the First National Bank of Central City. Thatcher was the President, Otto Sauer was the Vice President. In 1882 Thatcher moved to Denver. The following two years, 1883 and 1884 were spent traveling in Europe.
In December of 1884 Joseph Thatcher again went into business, establishing the Denver National Bank. Those involved with the bank included Dennis Sullivan, William H. James, Edward Eddy, James B. Grant, and Otto Sauer. Thatcher remained as president of the bank until 1913.
Joseph Thatcher was on the initial Board of Trustees of the Colorado Museum of Natural History. He also held the position as the first treasurer of the museum. Eventually the North Wing of the museum, measuring 150 feet by 75 feet was donated at a cost of $75,000. His charitable gifts also aided St. John’s Cathedral, St. Luke’s Hospital and the YMCA.
Other business ventures included the Denver Union Stock Yards, Denver Electric Co., Colorado Packing Co. and he was connected to the water and gas companies.
Thatcher’s best known legacy was the State of Colorado Thatcher Memorial Fountain at the Esplanade in City Park. The monument commemorates the state and honors the qualities of Loyalty, Love and Learning. It was designed by Illinois based sculpture Lorado Zadoc Taft (1860-1936). The statue was dedicated September 14, 1918. Joseph A. Thatcher passes away on October 25, 1918. His final resting place is Fairmount Cemetery.
Thatcher’s wife, Frances Kintley of St. Louis was involved in the Women’s Club, St. Luke’s Hospital, YWCA and the West Central Territorial Committee. She wrote the Social Code of Denver.
The Thatcher Memorial as seen from Colfax Avenue, the South entrance to City Park.
Thatcher was a Mason.
His mausoleum at Fairmount cost $53,350.
Public Art Archive, website
History of Colorado, Wilbur Fisk Stone, S.J. Clark, pub. 1918
Vol II, Pg 28-30
Gilpin County, Colorado, Genealogy and History
Aspen Evening Chronicle, 10-5-1892, pg 2, column 3
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