Conversation with Suzanne Ray

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Suzanne (Suzanna) Ray called to say she will be in the Denver area Aug. 5 - 26.  She is Lawrence Phipp's (Jr.,III?) niece. Her grandfather, Lawerence Phipps, Jr. (II?) was the last owner of the Mansion. She and her brother Gregory would like to tour the Mansion. Gave her the 'open times and suggested she let us know which day so we can meet with them. She and I have become phone buddies.  She will bring a dvd made during the tour of the Mansion, barns, etc. by KCOT? (Channel 8?)  (I am not clear on Jr. II and Jr. III.)

  • Her mother and father lived in 'Marion's cottage' while the Chum Howe House was being built. She lived in the Chum Howe House from ages 2 - 15.  1937
  • Attended elementary - 2nd year of HS here.  Mother - Mary Hart  Father - Robert (Bob).
  • Mr. Phipps daughters from 1st wife: Joan (died),  Mary Hart (Suzanne's mother) and Diana.
  • Cousin Judy.

Ask Lawrence about the name they called him - Little Lawney (Little Law knee).  Two brothers - Richmond, lives in Costa Rico and Henry (died).

Ask Lawrence if he knows anything about the following:  Elaine Oakes? Phipps (they called her Laney) moved to Wyoming to be with her brother who they called Buddy. She donated the Surrey With The Fringe On Top to the Littleton Historical Society during their 100th Anniversary. 1946?  (Or was it to the Cheyenne Museum? which I heard has carriages from the HR Mansion - how about a field trip there?)

Suzanne and other kids played in the attic, barns and dairy barns, bowling alley and tennis courts which also had a basket ball hoop (rattlesnakes in wild grass between Chum House House and Mansion).  She could squeeze between rod iron fencing. There was a gold fish pond.

Also played in what we call the Carriage House (was a 4 car garage, doesn't know who built it). Cousins played in the Coach House (carriages) located south pass the bunk houses toward the windmill. They would climb on the carriages and tell ghost stories. 

They had a structure of a wooden horse they would sit on to practice hitting a ball with a mallet (polo). There were gas pumps to fuel the cars.  They would sit under the cotton woods and climb the cherry trees in the orchard. 

There were beautiful dresses from the 1880's in the attic. They would dress up in them. They wore them to the dedication of the new school at Plum Creek. (Old school is under the Chatfield Dam.) 

She suggested asking Lawrence about the pigeon operation, sheep, Dairy Association and what was found in the access at the west end (area the girls would not go). Ask Lawrence if he knows what happened to his father's journals, accounting books, etc., and Elaine's Doll House collection. Also, ask about mother's maiden name. Called her Twoney (2 knee). She married Senator Phipps (3rd wife) Sons = Alan and Jerry   Owned Denver Broncos early 1960's. 

There was a Denver Post article about the Phipps' family with a genealogy chart. Check the Denver Post archives. 

Also, Suzanne mentioned asking if the ranch (where he lives) was part of the Cheese Ranch inherited from his dad? (It may have been a Cheese Ranch but surely not part of the area that is now HR !!!  Elizabeth would be too far away. Maybe his father bought it and gave it to him. However, we don't want to get into a financial conflict between family members that seems to exist still. There was a lot of conflict over the sale of the Mansion.)

My questions:  Sale of property from Kistler to Phipps. Why clock remained. Describe intercom system in mansion, how help got their personal supplies - did they go to Denver for personal supplies?, what did they call the help - servants?, when did it change from coal heating to what it is now? Did they call it a Mansion? What was it like living so far from a town, shops, etc.? 

Gift of the Phipps' land to the Core of Engineers (Chat

field Dam) for tax credit. 

Did he go to the Broncos games when he was young? Does he go now? Why/when did the Phipps sell the Broncos' team (if it was sold !!!).  

[Note: Marion drove the school bus. There are stories written by elementary school kids (including Lawrence's story) about the Mansion in the container DJ has. It would be good to show it to Lawrence as well as the before/after album of pictures of the Mansion in the container. May bring back some memories/stories.]

Additional Links and Resources:

Denver Post Archive Links….

This has listings of Phipps Family Archival Papers, (Not in digital form yet).

Article Date: 
Thursday, July 24, 2014