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Italian-American Bank in Denver, CO

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Here are some photos of and other information about the Italian-American Bank and the Frazzini & Bros Grocery Store at 2136-2140 15th Street in Denver, CO. Several of these were given to me by Franklin Smith, great-grandson of Prospero Frazzini.

My main Prospero Frazzini web page contains some of these images but on this page, I will try to collect everything that I have about the bank itself.


19 Mar 2009 - Created
7 Sep 2010 -  I added two photos that were in Alisa Zahler's recent book "Italy in Colorado".
6 Sep 2014 - I received a parade photo from Ann Turk,.
9 Sep 2014 - Ann also had the newspaper death notice of Carlo diIullo who worked at the bank.

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1897 Background

From 1897 Dec 13 - How Money Now Sent Abroad Could Be Kept in this Country, Daily Journal (Telluride, San Miguel County)

1904 article in The Denver Post

1906 From the book: Gli Italiani negli Stati Uniti D'America

Aldrovandi, Luigi. 1906. Gli Italiani negli Stati Uniti d'America. New York: Italian American Directory Co. WorldCat shows only 11 copies of this book in their records. This image provided by Franklin Smith.

Prospero Frazzini & Bros (Banca Popolare Italiana) 

Nos. 2136-38-40 15th Street, Denver, Colorado 

The commercial banking firm, Prospero Frazzini & Bros., is one of the best known in the United States of America and also one of the bigger Italian institutions that operates in the west. 
The title, for so to say, of this institution is "Banca Popolare Italiana" has a capital of over 1,000,000 lire; to which is attached an agency of all the shipping companies and railways, and a notary office. 
The principle function of the Banca Popolare Italiana is the transmission of the savings of the emigrants (to Italy) and any other financial transaction. 
The foundation of the Institute boasts 15 good years of life that goes back to 1892.
The officers of said bank are: 
President - Prospero FRAZZINI. 
Vice-Pres. - Caesar FRAZZINI. 
Cashier - Felicito FRAZZINI. 
Ass. Cashier. - Antonino FRAZZINI. 
The head of the whole firm, the soul and life of the Institution, is Mr. Prospero Frazzini, a man of activity and energy and expert of "times and of things." 

They boast:
a) A main office in Denver, Colorado, at No. 2136-2138-2140 15th Street in a beautiful building of exclusive ownership, from the spacious and elegant places and that it rises in front of the new station of the Denver, N. W. & Pacific R.R. 
b) A branch in Ogden, Utah at No. 200-260 25th Street. 
c) A branch in Pocatello, Idaho at No. 138-40 South 1st Avenue. 
"Prospero Frazzini & Bros, " practices a notable commerce of imported groceries and the country; it houses a large stock of wines and liqueurs. It directly imports from Italy every specialty of the country; preserves, macaronies, cheeses and wines of the South, to the Olive Oil and the Sparkling Wines of the Central and Northern areas. 
The firm enjoys the trust of thousands of fellow countrymen and sees day by day an increase the number of its clientele.

The "Denver Northwestern & Pacific Railroad" (DNW&P) changed its name in 1913 to the "Denver & Salt Lake Railroad" (D&SL) which was popularly known as the "Moffat Road".

1906 Banco Populare Italiana 

From the book: Gli Italiani negli Stati Uniti D'America

Here are a couple of close up views of the bank photo. Left Side & Right Side. Note that when this photo was taken, the addition later added to the left of this building was not done yet. Compare to 1920 photo below.

A very poor copy of this photo appears in the Museo in SPA. Here is the cover of the book:

1906 Italian American Directory Company

1908 Moffat Road Terminals, Denver and the Italian-American Bank

Title  Moffat Road Terminals, Denver
Call Number  MCC-1104
Summary  Moffat Road station (Denver and Salt Lake Railroad, formerly Denver, Northwestern and Pacific), 15th (Fifteenth) Street and Bassett, Denver, Colorado; engine number 109 loading on track one, excursion train loading on track four, two railroad coaches on track two; trolley in distance; horse-drawn delivery wagon (Adams Express Company) backed up with supplies being loaded onto train; "Moffat Road" sign and billboard; other signs includes "White & Bower, Wholesale Hay", "Cremo Cigars", and "Drink Zang's Beer"; Frazzini & Brother (Felix & Prospero) Banchieri e Commercianti (2138 15th - Italian American bank); edge of gas expansion tank behind Moffat Depot.
Date  [1908 or 1909].
Photographer  McClure, Louis Charles, 1867-1957.
Collection  L. C. McClure collection 1890-1935

Used with permission : ©Denver Public Library, Western History Collection (
Below is a zoom in taken from a high resolution scan of the above photo.
From another photo, we can read some of the words on the side of the building. The sign reads:
Cav. Prospero Frazzini & Bros
Banchieri & Commercianti
Pittsburg, Penn.
Ogden, Utah
Pocatello, Idaho
S. Pietro Avellana, Italy
Awaiting permission to use photo

From this photo, you can see that an addition was put on the building sometime between 1906 and 1908. The addition is the part of the building on the left with four windows on the second floor and no awning on the first floor.

1910/11 Italian-American Bank Float in a Parade

Photo from Ann Turk, granddaughter of Carlo and Elivra diIullo. Received Sep 2014.
Ann indentifed her grandfather, Carlo on the left and her mother, Jeanette, right next to him with what appears to be a ribbon in her hair.

Who are all of the kids?
Carlo had four children that I know of, Jeanette, Daniel, Eugene, and Mario Carlo who who I've found sometimes listed as just Carl. Ann told me that she was told by her mother and grandmother that her uncles are not in the photo. Based on the age of her mother, Ann thought the photo was from 1910 or 1911.

I'm pretty sure that the man in the middle is Prospero Frazzini and the man on the right is (most likely) Cesare Frazzini.
 In 1911 or so, Cesare would have had 5 children under the age of 10 and Prospero would have had one child about 6 years old.
The woman in the back must be one of the wives. Prospero's 2nd wife, Jennie, died in 1908 and he did not remarry until 1914 so its probably not any of his wives.
It could be Cesare's wife Degna (who had the 5 children).

1911/12 Italian-American Bank

A 1911 May 23 article in the Pittsburg Press titled "Black Hand Band Dynamites Store" describes the explosion at a grocery store operated by Orazio Mariani in Pittsburgh. Article also states "In addition to their grocery store, the Mariani brothers conduct a branch of the Cav, Prospero Frazzini and Prospero bank of Denver, CO." The grocery store was located at 4613 Lorigan Street,

In 1912, Antonio Frazzini, a brother of Prospero died. In the 25 Feb 1912 issue of The Denver Post, it was reported "In partnership with his brothers, Antonio Frazzini was the owner of the Italian-American banks in Denver, Pittsburgh, Ogden, Utah; Pocatello, Idaho, and Rawlins, Wyoming. These cities also had branches of the P. Frazzini Brothers Mercantile company, owned by the Frazzini brothers."

1917 Bank Robbery at the Italian-American Bank

At the Colorado Historic Newspapers Web Site, I found this article:

Here is a PDF (850KB) of an article from the 26 Nov 1917 issue of the Rocky Mountain News which describes the robbery. Bradley Terry got this copy from microfilms. The photo does not show up very well.
These men from SPA were mentioned in the article:
-- Oreste Cinea - uncle of Rayna Valentine, in family tree data base.
-- Carlo diIullo - grandfather of John diIullo, in family tree data base
-- Amico diGiacomo - probably brother of Gaetana diGiacomo who married a Jacovetta. Great grand uncle of Franklin E. Smith.
-- Prospero Frazzini
-- Cesare Frazzini

These men were not from SPA:
-- Herman Mapelli  2551 West Twenty Sixth Street, a cousin of the Frazzini Brothers, Name in Italian was "Armando" - brother of Giuseppe Mapelli
-- Giuseppe Mapelli - assistant cashier, married to Maria Cioffi, sister of Degna Cioffi who married Cesare Frazzini.
-- Dr. R Albi - See his own web page.
-- Nick Caruso from Price, UT.
-- Jerry Ditallo - appears in 1910 census and WWI Draft Reg. He was born in New York. Forman of the Walker Manufacturing Company which was next door to the bank on 15th Street..
Could the robbers have been the Carlini Brothers?

1920 Italian American Bank

In 2010, I got two photos from History Colorado. These photos orginally appeared in the book Italy in Colorado, Family Histories from Denver and Beyond by Alisa Zahler. Here are two of the photos of the bank. The photos are circa 1920 and are Copyright © by History Colorado (Colorado Historical Society) and are used with permission. Click on the thumbnail photos to see a 72dpi version.

Italian American Bank and Frazzini & Brothers Merchantile, Fifteenth Street, Denver
circa 1920. CIAPA Archive

Courtesy Debbie (Spaulding) Fugate and Sandra (Morganti) Spaulding
Copyright © by History Colorado (Colorado Historical Society) and used with permission.

Photo from page 157 of the book Italy in Colorado, Family Histories from Denver and Beyond by Alisa Zahler. In this photo, the left hand one-third of the building had been added on - compare to 1905 photo above. You can order a copy of the book at the History Colorado web site.
The Italian American Bank, left to right: Cesare Frazzini, unidentified man, Felix Frazzini and Prospero Frazzini
circa 1920. CIAPA Archive

Courtesy Debbie (Spaulding) Fugate and Sandra (Morganti) Spaulding
Copyright © by History Colorado (Colorado Historical Society) and used with permission.

Photo from page 157 of the book Italy in Colorado, Family Histories from Denver and Beyond by Alisa Zahler. You can order a copy of the book at the History Colorado web site.

From John diIullo, after I asked him about the unidentified man in the  photo: "I just spoke to my mom and she said that is [my grandfather] Carlo [diIullo].  She said that she has seen similar photos and will try to find them. I will post as soon as I get them." Carlo diIullo is known to have worked at the bank and is mentioned in the 1917 bank holdup article elsewhere on this page.

1920 Bank Capitalization Increased

From an 11 Apr 1920 article in The Denver Post, the bank was increasing its capitalization from $50,000 to $100,000. The article also says "It is understood that before long the bank will remove from its present quarters to a more central location in the business district". That never happened.

1920 (circa) Frazzini brothers in front of the Italian American Bank on 15th Street

 Franklin Smith sent me this picture of Prospero and his brothers.

Left to Right: Cesare, Prospero, Felicito.
Original photo ©Franklin Smith, used with permission.

1925 Italian-American Bank

In the background is the closed bank with the advertising sign painted on the side. The sign lists branches in Pittsburgh, Ogden, Pocatello and SPA.

Title:    Victory Theater promotional parade 
Call Number:   X-24765 
Summary:    View of a parade on 15th (Fifteenth) Street in Denver, Colorado; shows trucks, a brass band, women in bathing suits, brick businesses, and signs: "The White Desert, Greatest Snow Picture Ever Made, Victory Theater Now Showing" and "The Walker Mfg. Co." 
Date    [1925] 
Creator   Rocky Mountain Photo Company.

1933 Death of Carlo diIullo

On this page, you read about Carlo diIullo who worked at the bank. Ann Turk sent me this newspaper article from 1933.

29 Sep 1933
Note that Dr. Albi was the attending doctor.

2004 The Bank and Store Building in Denver

A friend in Denver, Don Karch, and Bradley Terry, helped find the Bank building in 2004. Here is a photo:

2004 Prospero's Bank building. It is numbered 2128 15th Street. Photo by Don Karch.

Other Branches

The sign on the side of the bank building in Denver listed the branch offices -  Pittsburg, Penn., Ogden, Utah, Pocatello, Idaho, and S. Pietro Avellana, Italy. (This was from an old photo that actually showed the side wall. That wall is now obscured by the newer building built next to the bank.)

I asked Rayna Valentine to see if she could find the branch in Pocatello. I had found reference to its address in an Ellis Island manifest as 138-40 So. 1st Ave, Pocatello, Idaho.

Rayna sent me these photos:

Rayna wrote:
None of those buildings have been around for decades.  The corner of Center St and South 1st is now a plaza with single- story interconnected buildings and walkways and landscaping.  It's owned by the largest law firm in town, Racine, Olson, etc etc. The complex takes up the east half of the block to the alley and south to the intersecting Lewis Street. (Clark, of course is the street on the other side of Center which is not visible in either photo.)  The rest of the streets in the Pocatello Original Townsite are named for explorers/pioneers.   .  Lots more info than you needed!

We couldn't read anything that said Italian American Bank, either, but the big MONEY TO LEND is pretty convincing, since, under our addressing protocol 138-40 would be slightly north of mid block and that's exactly where that little building lies.  Notice the ROOMING HOUSE sign?  No actual name--as if the name of a place were secondary to advertising what it was.

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