Lawrence Phipps Jr.

Highlands Ranch Mansion Owner:  Lawrence Phipps Jr.

1937-1976

Lawrence Jr. was very familiar with and loved the Diamond K property and when it became available in 1937, he acquired it immediately.

He changed the name to HIGHLANDS RANCH and enjoyed his life there for almost 40 years.  He is the only owner that lived at the Mansion full time. 

All of the others had additional homes in Denver or elsewhere.

Lawrence, Sr. made his fortune working for Carnegie Steele Co. in Pittsburgh and was a Senator in Colorado from 1919-1931 and Lawrence Jr. was trained from an early age to take over the family finances which he did willingly and responsibly.

He also had many other worthwhile undertakings which included serving on the board of directors for the Mountain States Telephone Company (now Quest) from 1911-1965, management of the National Western Stock Show, and military service during both WWI and WWII.  He was known as a great philanthropist, often doing so anonymously.

The Arapahoe Hunt Club

While being an astute businessman, Phipps's  true love in life was ranching with a special fondness for horses.  In 1929 he resurrected the Arapahoe Hunt Club, a prestigious group of horseback riding hunters, many wearing the traditional red vestments (men) (women wore the black coats and aided by a band of eager English hounds pursuing coyotes as opposed to the English tradition of foxes. Per Lawrence Phipps --When the reestablishment of The Arapahoe Hunt was under consideration in 1928-1929, some people said "We have no fox, no hounds, no horses".  Little did they realize that the coyote was quite as good a quarry as a fox, that hounds could be obtained and that horses had long been of vital importance in Colorado.   Frank Kistler granted permission in 1929 for the club to headquarter and hunt at the Diamond K Ranch.  A few years later Lawrence was honored with the title of Master of the Hunt (MFH) , a position he held for many years.  The Club Headquarters, Caboose, Stables and Kennels were located in what is today's Law Enforcement Training Center area.   Horses enjoyed delightful names such as Heidi Hi, Heidi Ho, Queen and Beauty. The hounds had descriptive names such as Workman, Rolling Rock Ranter, Andy, Audrey, and Winner.  The Arapahoe Hunt Club continued on the Mansion grounds during the entire Phipps ownership.  Lawrence Phipps Jr..was considered a foremost expert on Hunt Clubs, even authoring a book on the subject. 

 

 

Ranching and Life at the Mansion

As far as we know, there was very little change in the Mansion during the Phipps’ ownership.  Elaine, his 3rd wife, did do some remodeling of the “library” which is the room in the front on the east side of the Mansion, according to an article in the Denver Post in January 1959.  The Mansion itself was known as "Headquarters" (HQ)  while the large 22,000 acre property enjoyed descriptive areas such as Front Pasture (northern border), Milk Cow Pasture (just northeast of Headquarters), Purebred Pasture (SE of HQ), Springer Reservoir (near Wildcat Mountain), East Ranch (southwest of Wildcat Mountain), Douglas Investment (Backcountry) and even Hell Hole (east of the Kennels). 

After his death in 1976, the ranch passed to his estate, which handled its sale to Marvin Davis, head of the Highlands Ventures Corporation.  It was then sold to Mission Viejo.

Lawrence and Elaine are both buried at the Bear Canon Cemetery in Sedalia, CO

 

The Young (Chum Howe) House

This property was built  in the late 30's by Lawrence Phipps  for his daughter Mary and her husband, Chapman Young Jr.   The house is located at the north- western side of the Mansion, and enjoys a commanding view of the entire front range of the Rockies.

The Young family had 7 children, and they needed a large home.  It was being built while the youngest child, Michael, was still in a stroller, and the family refered to the house as "Mikey's House" when they would visit the construction site with young Mike in his stroller.  The  brick house is quite large, approximately 3300 sq. ft. with 5 bathrooms.  Large windows and an upstairs patio face west for spectacular views.  When the Youngs moved farther south in Douglas County in 1955, the home was sold and enjoyed various owners until 1976, when Charles Howe purchased it.  Charles was known as "Chum",  The Howes owned the home until 1979, when it was sold to Mission Viejo.  The house became known as  the "Chum Howe House" .

 Mission Viejo was purchased by Shea Homes  who then conveyed the house to Douglas County in 2001. 

Douglas County transfered ownership of the Young (Chum Howe) house to HR Metro District in 2012, with the idea that it would become part of the overall "Historic Park".   

Ultimate usage of the home is still to be decided.

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SANDY CHAMBERLIN,  Highlands Ranch Historical Society and HR Mansion Docent  NOVEMBER 2020