Highlands Ranch Mansion

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Coordinates: 39°32′11.08″N 104°58′11.75″W / 39.5364111°N 104.9699306°W / 39.5364111; -104.9699306

Highlands Ranch Mansion in 1962

The Highlands Ranch Mansion is one of the most architecturally unique structures in Colorado. The Mansion offers over 22,000 square feet (2,000 m2) and contains 14 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, 5 fireplaces, a great room, a ballroom, a dining room, a library, a billiard room, a butler’s pantry and kitchen, and a private courtyard.

The Mansion was built over a number of years. S. Allen Long, a retired senator from Ohio, homesteaded the property, building a small stone house on the far east side of today's mansion, which he called Rotherwood. John W. Springer, a wealthy man with ties to politics, banking, and law, owned the ranch from 1897-1913. He transferred the mansion first to his father-in-law, Col. William Hughes, then to his daughter Annie Clifton Springer Hughes, who briefly renamed the property "Sunland Ranch". It is unknown how much of the mansion the Springer/Hughes family built, but photos from the 1920s indicate that the footprint of the current building existed by 1926.

In 1920, the mansion was purchased by Waite Phillips, an Oklahoma oil man, whose brothers started Phillips Petroleum. He appears to be the first person to have applied the name "Highland Ranch" to the site, after the Highland Hereford cattle on the ranch. Philips sold the ranch in 1926.

In 1926, Frank E. Kistler purchased the Mansion and the land surrounding it. He and his family renamed the ranch the "Diamond K" Ranch. Kistler did some extensive renovations, changing the architectural style of the facade from that of a castle to Tudor Revival style. During the great depression he had to sell the mansion due to financial problems.

Lawrence Phipps, Jr., a son of former Colorado Senator Lawrence C. Phipps, bought the property in 1937. He changed the name of the property back to Highlands Ranch. During Phipps tenure, the site became the home to the Arapahoe Hunt, which continued through the 1980s.

Marvin Davis purchased the land and the Mansion in 1976 shortly after Phipps death. Mr. Davis then founded the "Highlands Ventures Corporation" to market the property. In 1978, the Mission Viejo Corporation agreed to a two-year option agreement to finally become the official owners of the Highlands Ranch lands in 1979. In 1978, the mansion was used as the setting of the fictional Venneford Ranch in the miniseries Centennial.

Mission Viejo Corp. then began the planning for residential construction. Construction started in 1980 and the first new residents moved into their homes in Highlands Ranch in September 1981. The Highlands Ranch Mansion is now used for festivities and special events.

Highlands Ranch Metro District Now Owners of Mansion[edit]

The Highlands Ranch Metro District became the new owner of the Highlands Ranch Mansion in April 2010. The Metro District developed a projected timeline for the next couple years. The Metro District proceeded with the design of the building renovation and managed the site planning process and subsequent Douglas County approvals. Renovations to the Mansion commenced in 2011. [1]

The renovations of the Mansion cost $6 million, with another $4 million dedicated to an endowment fund that will support future operations. [2]

On June 15, 2012, the Highlands Ranch Metro District hosted the Grand Re-Opening of the Mansion. Guests received free tours of the historic building and newly added Pavilion. Under a Blood Red Sky, a U2 tribute band, performed on the lawn of the mansion while guests enjoyed local food and beverage. [3]

The mansion is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 am to 2 pm. Guests can explore the historic building and grounds, lounge in the library, or walk through the beautifully-manicured lawns. The Mansion boasts several large conference rooms for small business meetings. The new indoor Carriage House Pavilion is a perfect spot to host a conference, reception or fundraiser. The gazebo, overlooking the horse property to the south of the Mansion and the mountains to the west, serves as a wonderful outdoor wedding ceremony site. [4]

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