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Historic Greystone Manor for sale for $24 million

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By Vicky Gits

One of Evergreen’s most striking and historically important homes, the 25-room Greystone Manor on Upper Bear Creek Road, built in 1918 in the style of an English Tudor mansion, went on the market in October for $24 million. Located 4.5 miles west of Evergreen Lake at 7,500 feet with views of Mount Evans, the 57-acre complex includes a half-mile-long driveway, a party building for 200 people, a carriage house with three-car garage, a 1900-era cabin, stone guest cottage and two tennis courts. Greystone is a charming relic of an age when wealthy turn-of-the-century Denverites defied the wilderness and built monumental structures in remote locations at huge expense. As a guest ranch in the ‘40s and ‘50s, Greystone became a celebrity haunt for names such as Cornelia Otis Skinner, Groucho Marx, rocket scientist Werner Von Braun and Mae West, according to the Aug. 12, 1965, Canyon Courier. At $24 million for the manor and six other living spaces, the fairytale stone landmark overlooking Upper Bear Creek became the highest priced residential listing in a six-county area in October, when it first went on the market, according to the November Devonshire Report. The manor house is 12,806 square feet and the pavilion consists of 5,746 square feet. Total living space is nearly 26,000 square feet. Property taxes are $26,000 a year, according to the listing data. For the last 15 years, the home has been the private home of Pam and Richard Bard. “What I love most is it’s like a castle. It’s stone and rock. You feel like you are back in the ‘30s. It’s so Colorado,” said Rollie Jordan of Genesee, a real estate agent with Kentwood Company at Cherry Creek. She is one of three listing agents. The public sale affords a rare opportunity to peruse the home and its fabulous indoor and outdoor spaces — including a trout pond, Bear Creek frontage and an antique cabin — on the Internet at www.greystonecolorado.com. The Bards bought the estate in 1992 and lived on site for four years while renovating the main house, Jordan said. They are selling because they purchased a new house in the mountains. Our target market is a business leader, entrepreneur or sports figure. The pavilion could be a recording studio. Or you could run a small corporation from the site,” Jordan said. A red-haired beauty Genevieve Chandler Phipps, who is described as a 35-year-old red-haired beauty in a matching red chauffeur-driven car, built the 20-room rustic castle initially as a year-round home. She had been married at18 and later famously divorced, as noted in the New York Times, with in 1904 from a young, retired Eastern businessman who worked for Carnegie Steel. Her ex-husband was Lawrence Cowle Phipps, who was elected to the Senate from Colorado in 1918 and served two terms. He built the famous Phipps Mansion in Denver’s Belcaro neighborhood in 1933. After divorcing Genevieve, he married Margaret Rogers and had two sons, Gerald and Allen. Lawrence Phipps purchased the Highlands Ranch property in Douglas County in 1937 from Frank Kistler. By 1908, Phipps was a well known socialite. The 1908 “Who’s Who in Denver” described her as “prominent in various fashionable sets.” While the mansion was under construction, Phipps and her two daughters reportedly camped out in tents on oriental rugs, so she could be on hand to supervise construction. “Mrs. Phipps, who was a prominent social leader and one of the great beauties of her day, was so discerning that each stone had to be the correct color and have a certain amount of moss on it before it could be used in the construction,” wrote Rocky Mountain News society columnist Darlene Wycoff in 1947. The exterior of the manor home, which has a monumental stone fireplace, seven bedrooms and eight fireplaces, is in mint condition. With its beamed ceilings and craftsman details, Greystone looks about the same as when it was built 90 years ago. The builder was Jock Spence, a proponent of Rocky Mountain Rustic style, who also rebuilt Camp Neosho, now the Hiwan Homestead Museum in Evergreen. The house was designed by architect Maurice Briscoe. Over the years, the spread has shrunk from 1,200 acres to 57. The enclave 4.5 miles west of Evergreen Lake has been a working cattle ranch, a summer luxury dude ranch for 40 people, a private home and a corporate housing complex. When Genevieve died in 1931 at age 52, her daughters, Helen and Dorothy, inherited the house and occupied it summers until 1939, when it was sold to Elmer Wilfley of Denver, a pump manufacturer who used it as a working cattle ranch and for entertaining at night. A relaxing ranch In June 1947, the “Society Sidelights” column of the Rocky Mountain News noted that the “palatial mountain home” was opened formally as a guest ranch under the ownership of William and Sadie Sandifer with a gala cocktail party. Later, Bill Sandifer Jr. and his wife, Marilyn, took over as managers, hosting many public events and weddings. “While the party guests wandered from room to room inspecting the newly redone interiors, many remembered Greystone as it had been years ago when beautiful titian-haired Mrs. Phipps had been mistress there,” Wycoff wrote. In 1953, a brochure billed the “luxurious” Greystone as a “Guest Ranch for Discriminating People.” There were private bathrooms, a heated pool, trout fishing, horseshoes and buffalos to view along the road. The owners took pride in not supplying TVs or telephones. In the ‘60s, Bill Sandifer Jr. turned a large portion of the land into a subdivision, Greystone Estates, says a 1994 article by Shelley Gooch in Colorado Serenity. In 2001, Pamela and Richard Bard, who bought the house in 1992, built the 6,000-square-foot entertainment pavilion of white oak imported from Pennsylvania in six months in honor of their daughter Alison’s marriage.