Mr. & Mrs. Claude K. Boettcher
Claude Boettcher went against the cliché that the second generation of a wealthy family spends the money. He built up his father’s wealth. And was able to build his own wealth on top of that.
It is impossible to tell the story of Claude Boettcher with out telling the story of Charles Boettcher, his father. And if there is a sad part of the story, it comes from Claude’s son, Charles II.
Charles Boettcher, Claude’s father, was born in Germany in 1852. He came to Colorado via Cheyenne, working for his brother, Herman, in the hardware business. Charles had a successful hardware in Boulder where he moved in 1874. In 1878 he moved to Leadville to take advantage of the mining boom. In 1890 he moved to Denver, his wife Frannie, had enough high-altitude living. With a Midas touch he continued in numerous businesses until his death at 96 in 1948.
Claude was born in 1875, during the family’s happiest time, living in Boulder. Claude graduated from Harvard with a degree in electrical engineering in 1897. Claude was described as formal, stern, serious and very sharp in business. Anything he did, he did well. In 1900 he took the Grand Tour of Europe with his parents and sister. He also married in 1900, to DE Allen McMurtie of Kansas City, MO. This marriage ended in divorce.
The Boettcher clan outside the DU Chancellor’s Building.
The businesses and interests of father and son are numerous, I listed them in the form of a table for clarity.
Claude remarried in 1920. Edna Case EcEleveen became Claude’s second wife and they stayed together until his death in 1957. She passed the following year. Household chores at the mansion, located at 400 East 8th Avenue, were supported by two butlers. In 1947 he was on the list of the 64 men that ran America. He was also on the best dressed list of those in the fashion industry. When he died in 1957 he left an inheritance of $7,610,385 worth about $71,000,000 in 2020 dollars.
Claude Boettcher had one child, Charles II. Charles II did not inherit the businessman’s touch of his grand father or father. Most likely, even though graduating from Yale, he was not brought into the family businesses in the same manner as his father. Perhaps it is Claude’s one failure, not being able to nurture his only heir. Charles II was interested in aeronautics. In fact so much so Charles Lindberg was a guest, more than once, at the 8th street mansion.
Charles II became a nationwide story in 1933 when he was kidnapped by Verne Sankey. Charles II and his wife, Anna Lou, were returning to their house at 777 Washington after dinner when he was taken by gun point. Anna Lou, following instructions in the ransom note, did not call police. But, she call her father-in-law, Claude. It was Claude that paid the $60,000 in ransom. Verne Sankey was eventually caught, having the distinction of being deemed the nation’s first Public Enemy by the FBI.
Charles II’s wife committed suicide in 1941. He remarried in 1944 to Mae Estelle. He was known to drink and enjoy some gambling, passing away in 1963. Mae Estell passed away in 2001.
The original Boulder store and a close up of Boettcher’s name.
The Colonnade of Civic Benefactors
Colorado Business Hall of Fame website
Boettcher Foundation .org website
Rocky Mountain Experience
History of Brown Palace Hotel
History of founder-Denver National Bank
Find a Grave