Mansion volunteers have a history of their own

Paul and Sandy Chamberlin spent years traveling country


On Tuesdays, you'll find Paul and Sandy Chamberlin at the Highlands Ranch Mansion, a historic icon nestled among homes in central Highlands Ranch. Sandy guides tours; Paul, nicknamed "the sheriff" for keeping everyone in line, greets guests at the door.

Together, the two put in 482 hours of volunteer time in 2018, setting a new record.

“They are the most dedicated volunteers that we have,” said Susie Appleby, volunteer coordinator at the mansion, 9950 E Gateway Drive.

Paul and Sandy will have been married 54 years in June. Both Denver natives, a friend introduced them. They have two sons — one lives in Parker, the other in Carbondale, a small mountain town.

In 2000, Paul and Sandy decided it was time for a change. Both of their parents had passed away and they had always wanted to travel. So they bought an RV and spent the next six years exploring the country by motorhome. Excluding those northeast of Pennsylvania, they hit every state.

“I can't say that I had a favorite place,” said Sandy, 74. “It was all very interesting and more people should be able to do that.”

Before tax season — Paul is a tax accountant who once worked as the Denver Broncos' stadium announcer — they would come back to Denver and stay through their granddaughter's birthday. Then, they'd do it all over again.

Paul and Sandy loved the charm of the small towns they passed through. Oregon and Washington topped their list of favorite places, they said. The history buffs spent time in museums and mingled with locals.

“We met a lot of neat people,” Paul, 75, said. “We would try to stay off of the interstates.”

The tight living quarters weren't an issue for the couple, they said. Nor was weather, though they do recall one instance of being chased by a storm and tornado near Florida. They spent much of their time in RV parks, which had a strong sense of community.

“If you didn't like your neighbor, one of you was going to move before long,” said Paul, who is known around the mansion for his good-natured banter.

After six years on the road, Sandy was ready to have a home and Paul was ready to have his office back. The two settled down in Highlands Ranch in 2006.

Four years later, they found a new passion. For two years they spent the holiday season in Orlando working in special events at Walt Disney World. Friends they met through RV clubs told them about the gig.

“Our first job was selling hot dogs,” Paul said. “We loved working at Magic Kingdom because of all the children.”

In 2013, they found a hobby closer to home. Sandy attended Highlands Ranch Days, a popular summertime celebration at the mansion, and fell in love. She became one of the first docents to lead tours and the following year Paul came on board as a greeter.

What they enjoy most is uncovering new findings and hearing new stories about the building, which is more than 100 years old.

“I was completely enthralled,” Sandy said. “Everything changes in the mansion.”


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