HR THEN AND NOW:
THE 70'S-DECADE OF CHANGE, AND THE ARAPAHOE HUNT CLUB
Highlands Ranch Then And Now – Program Presentation – Part 1 of 2
Highlands Ranch Then And Now – Program Presentation – Part 2 of 2
Speakers: Lawrence Phipps III, G. Marvin Beeman, DVM
Moderated by Meg Anderson and John Lake
Lawrence Phipps III, son of the last resident of the Mansion, related Highlands
Ranch and Mansion events of the 1970's, the decade of major change for this community.
This included Lawrence returning to run the cattle operations, the sudden illness
and death of his father, and the subsequent sale of the ranch to Marvin Davis, and
finally followed by the sale to Mission Viejo.
Lawrence discussed in detail how and why the ownership of the ranch had changed
hands. Starting with Waite Phillips giving the ranch to Frank Kistler as the commission
for a large oil and gas deal Kistler put together. Kistler's financial problems
in the early 30's, compounded by the drought Dust Bowl period eventually led to
Lawrence's father assuming Kistler's bank loans for the ranch in 1937.
Lawrence discussed how part of the ranch was condemned by the federal government
in the mid to late 60's to build Chatfield Dam for flood control, after a devastating
flood in 1965. Many of the ranch's hay meadows were located where Chatfield Reservoir
is now located.
Details of the filming of the TV mini-series Centennial was related at length. Some
of the actors hired to play the cowboys had to be taught how to ride. Actors staying
in the bunk house and trailers amused themselves during the two-week shoot by early
morning gambling, and widespread drug dealing and usage.
Marvin Beeman, Joint Master and Huntsman (Honorary) of the Arapahoe Hunt Club,
related exciting tales of the hounds and the horses in Highlands
Ranch, up to and including the modern day Arapahoe Hunt Club. The Hunt Club's origins
go back to the early 1900's at what is now the Denver Country Club. In the late
20's Lawrence's father asked fellow Hunt Club member and owner of Highlands Ranch,
Frank Kistler, if the hunts could occur in the wide expanses of Highlands Ranch.
Over the next 50 years hunts occurred during the winter months over the wide area
that is now known as the community of Highlands Ranch.
Marvin's father was hired in the early 30's by Lawrence's father to take care
of the foxhounds that had been acquired from England. Eventually as many of 100
hounds comprised the hunting pack.
Stables for about 50 horses and supporting kennels for the hounds were constructed
in the area south of the current Highlands Ranch Backcountry where the Law Enforcement
Training Center now exists
Soon after the ranch was sold in the late 70's the regular winter hunts moved
out east to the former Lowry bombing range, where they still conduct the hunts.
Once a year the Arapahoe Hunt Club is allowed to hunt the Cherokee Ranch and Highlands
Ranch Community Association Backcountry area.
Marvin regaled the audience with stories of how he was chased by a buffalo around
Daniels Park, and once bitten by a coyote that they were hunting. This very special
program about life and events here in HR was moderated by Meg Anderson and John
Lake, HRHS members and Mansion Docents.
Videographer: Mark Stevenson