Belcaro was named by Senator Lawrence Phipps and was the original name for the Phipps Mansion today, the neighborhood is as historical and beautiful as the mansion. Tree-lined streets, charming bungalows, and stately mansions characterize this area. Belcaro is a neighbor to Cherry Creek and South University Boulevard to the north, Glendale to the east, and East Mississippi Avenue to the south.
Denver Population: 693,417
Median Resident Age
Denver Median Resident Age: 34.6
Median Income Per Resident
Denver Median Income Per Resident: $41,778
Median Income Per Household
Denver Median Income Per Household: $64,973
Denver Median Rent: $1,255
Median Home Value
Denver Median Home Value: $399,216
% homes owner occupied (vs. renter)
Denver % of homes owner occupied (vs. renter): 50%
% homes occupied (vs. vacant)
Denver % home occupied (vs. vacant): 94%
Belcaro-Year Home Was Built
Data for Year Home Was Built-Belcaro Compared to Denver
|1940 - 1949||9%||7%|
|1950 - 1959||15%||15%|
|1060 - 1969||16%||11%|
|1970 - 1979||2%||14%|
|1980 - 1989||3%||7%|
|1990 - 1999||11%||7%|
|2000 - 2009||21%||12%|
|2010 - 2013||1%||4%|
Data for Resident Ethnicity-Belcaro Compared to Denver
|Two or more||1%||2%|
Belcaro-Resident Education Level
Data for Resident Education Level-Belcaro Compared to Denver
|Bachelor or higher||78%||48%|
|HS grad or Equiv||6%||17%|
|Less than HS||1%||13%|
Data for Resident Age-Belcaro Compared to Denver
|10 - 19||5%||10%|
|20 - 29||11%||18%|
|30 - 39||16%||20%|
|40 - 49||12%||13%|
|50 - 59||12%||11%|
|60 - 69||14%||9%|
|70 - 79||14%||5%|
Registered Neighborhood Organizations
The origins of the Belcaro neighborhood, which is bounded by Exposition Avenue to the north, Steele Street to the west, Harrison to the east, and Mississippi Avenue to the south, began with a single, grand home built for Lawrence C. Phipps...
Phipps was a Pennsylvania native who had begun his working career at age 16, working as a night clerk for a Pittsburgh steel company, getting paid $1.00 per shift. Eventually he worked his way up through the ranks and made most of his fortune working as the treasurer for Carnegie Steel. After losing his mother and his first wife to tuberculosis, he moved his family out to Colorado in 1902. It was thought that the air in Colorado had a curative property that could combat tuberculosis. With humanitarian and philanthropic endeavors close to his heart, Phipps sponsored the Agnes Phipps Memorial Sanitarium east of Denver, in Montclair, at 6th Avenue and Quebec Street. He also donated $250,000 to the Museum of Natural History, which used it to construct the Phipps Auditorium (now the IMAX Theatre at the Museum of Nature and Science). In 1913, he even helped form the Denver chapter of the Red Cross, serving as one of its leaders during World War I. Then, in 1918, he was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Republican and served until 1930.
After retiring from the Senate, Phipps needed another project and so he set out to build “Denver’s Grandest Mansion”, in which to spend his golden years. Phipps had purchased a large section of land east of Bonnie Brae, where his son used to pasture his horses for the nearby Polo Club. He hired local architects Fisher and Fisher, as well as a New York architect named Charles Platt. In 1933, Phipps dream home in which to spend retirement was complete. It was a 27,000 square foot, 54-room, Georgian style mansion that he called Belcaro, which means either “dear one” or “beautiful loved one” in Italian. The mansion was made from red hand-pressed bricks, trimmed out in Indiana limestone, and topped off with a slate tile roof. Phipps spared no expense, even importing paneling for his billiard room and dining room from a Jacobean house in London. To the north of the house sits an equally impressive 423,000 cubic-feet structure, the Tudor Revival style tennis house. It was designed by a Pueblo architect, named John Gray. Like the mansion, the tennis house was also built from red, hand-pressed bricks and also trimmed out in Indiana limestone.
Even while his dream home was being constructed, which incidentally created many needed jobs during the Great Depression, Phipps was platting out all of the adjacent land, which would become a residential development called Belcaro Park. He formed the Belcaro Realty and Investment Company in 1931, which began selling off the platted parcels in what would become one of Denver’s most sought after residential neighborhoods. After Phipps’ death in 1958, his wife Margaret donated the Belcaro mansion to the University of Denver, as a place to host events and it was renamed the Lawrence C. Phipps Memorial Conference Center. Today, only 5 1/2 acres of the original Belcaro property remains and is now surrounded by many sophisticated ranch-style homes with sprawling, well-manicured lawns. In 2010, the University of Denver sold Belcaro back into private hands for use as a residential property.
This content was prepared by local non-profit Historic Denver, Inc., with excerpts from the organization’s Historic Denver Guides series and other research. Historic Denver was founded in 1970 and provides technical assistance to owners of historic properties, conducts research, advocates for preservation, and owns and operates District 10’s own Molly Brown House Museum at 1340 Pennsylvania. For more information, or to get answers to your historic home questions, visit www.historicdenver.org.