2018 Colorado Business Hall of Fame Laureate Bios: Philip (1826-1898) and Adolph J. (1856-1916) Zang

Philip Zang was born in 1826, one of eight children of John Zang and his wife Fredericka, in Aschaffenburg, Germany. John Zang was a member of an old Bavarian family that took part in the Napoleonic wars, and joined Napoleon himself on his march to Moscow. Philip attended school until the age of 14 when he began working as a brewer.

In 1853, Philip, joined by his brother Alexander, sought opportunity in America, landing in Philadelphia. Working as a railroad hand during his first months in the United States, Philip married Elizabeth Hurlebaus, who passed away young, leaving Philip with only one child, Adolph J. Zang. Philip moved to Louisville, Kentucky, and in 1859 started the Phoenix Brewery, which he owned and operated until 1869. At that time, Philip moved to the developing city of Denver.

Once in Denver, Philip found a job as the superintendent of Rocky Mountain Brewing Company, a brewery started by John Good in 1859. Philip was married again in 1870, to Anna Barbara Buck. In 1871, Philip Zang bought the Rocky Mountain Brewing Company from Mr. Good, and by 1880, the name was changed to Philip Zang & Co. At the time, the brewery was the largest of its kind west of St. Louis, Missouri.

Meanwhile, Adolph attended private school in Louisville and studied abroad in Germany. Adolph joined his father in moving to Denver in 1869, and became a permanent resident in 1882. In 1889, Philip sold his brewery to a European syndicate and the name changed to Philip Zang Brewing Company. Philip appointed his son, Adolph, as general manager of the company, a duty he served until 1912, when he resigned to head the Zang Investment Company. Philip Zang retired in 1895, and died in 1898.

Adolph Zang was a businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist. His business prospects included Vindicator Consolidated Gold Mining Co., Zang Realty and Investment Co. and Adolph J. Zang Investment Co. As a banker, Adolph developed one of the largest financial institutions in the American west: the Schirmer Insurance & Investment Co., later renamed the German American Trust Company of Denver.

The Zangs’ mining prospects represented some of the most successful operations of the time, centering their mines in San Juan and Gilpin counties. In addition to these, the Zangs started one of the most famous mines in Colorado: the Vindicator mine in Cripple Creek.

Adolph owned a 4,000-acre ranch outside of Denver, where he pursued his passion of breeding purebred horses. Adolph’s breeds won various awards at shows nationwide. Adolph also intensely loved literature and maintained one of the most extensive libraries in Colorado.

In 1916, Adolph fell victim to diabetes, aggravated by two hemorrhages he suffered while inspecting one of his mines in Cripple Creek.

One thousand attendees paid tribute to the 2018 Colorado Business Hall of Fame laureates at the unforgettable 29th annual Colorado Business Hall of Fame induction celebration, presented by UMB Bank. The event was held on Jan. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. View photos from the event>>