Bill's Crib

Cableland, past present and future.

It's highly appropriate that the former home of one of Denver's most notorious playboys is now one of the city's best party spots.

Cable magnate Bill Daniels built the mansion, which he dubbed Cableland, on Shangri-La Drive in the Hilltop neighborhood in 1986, and the place is as over the top as the man who built it. Arriving guests walk past a two-story waterfall that cascades into a swimming pool and adjacent spa, and they're greeted at the front door by a sunken bar, which opens into an enormous living room capable of hosting hundreds of people.

The approximately 20,000-square-foot home had 88 television sets, 97 telephones, surround sound, a twelve-foot firefighter's pole (so visitors could slide from the master bedroom to the next floor), thirteen bathrooms and four kitchens. In Daniels's bedroom, the huge bed was covered in sable, and a wall of televisions enabled the cable king to keep a constant eye on his realm. Even the wildlife lived like royalty at Cableland: The birdbaths are heated and the squirrels have treetop condos.

Like all of Daniels's ventures, however, Cableland was about more than just excess. He said he wanted such a large house so that he could host fundraising parties for charity, and he kept his word. Hundreds of fundraisers were held there, and the house is still one of Denver's favorite places to party.

In 1998, Daniels gave the house to the City of Denver to serve as the official mayoral residence -- though he stipulated that possession couldn't occur until after his death, which happened in 2000. Neither former mayor Wellington Webb nor Mayor John Hickenlooper has chosen to live there, so the house is used as a full-time party palace for worthy nonprofits. Daniels left a $3 million endowment to cover maintenance costs.

Former Denver first lady Wilma Webb redecorated the manse in 2002, adding a large carpet with the city seal and a big photograph of Bill Daniels, which hangs near the door. She also arranged for the donation of a full set of elegant dinnerware from Tiffany & Co. -- a significant contribution for a dining room that can host more than thirty people. But despite Webb's political affiliations, she left the near-life-sized bronze sculpture of an elephant that towers over the living room as testimony to Daniels's devotion to the Republican Party.

 
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