Flagstaff’s Riordan Family Mansions Offer Antiques, Art and Educational Exhibits
Located right in the middle of Flagstaff, Arizona, is a living museum that takes you back to the town’s days as a logging town. Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is a great stop on any Arizona vacation where you can learn about Arizona history and see real relics from the past.
The Riordan Family Mansions
The mansions were built in 1904 for two branches of the Riordan family. There are two nearly identical homes, one for each branch. Now, they are a living historical museum. The 40-room, 13,000 square foot homes are among the best example you can see today of the state’s old craftsman-style architecture.
Riordan Mansion Tours
You can enjoy tours both inside and outside the mansions. The main building is built in the style of a massive two-winged cabin. The interior has been left intact. It’s almost exactly the same as it was in 1904. The old house is filled with authentic historical pieces that you can see up close.
The homes showcase original family belongings. The east side contains original artifacts of the Timothy A. Riordan family and the west, the Michael J. Riordan family. The contents include furniture, household items, clothing, photos, documents, books, letters, magazines, maps and more.
What draws many visitors to Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is the many fine examples of Stickley furniture, designed and constructed by Gustav Stickley, who is today recognized as the leader of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. Many of the furniture pieces exemplify turn of the century design that is unique to the Flagstaff area, made from Douglas fir and Arizona walnut.
Touring the Riordan Mansions
In addition to the artifacts, the mansions are full of interpretive exhibits that showcase life in the early days of northern Arizona. There are guided tours held daily and you can also take a self-guided tour. Guided tours are popular and limited, so if you have a big group, call ahead to book a reservation. The West House has exhibits on arts and crafts, Native American pottery, era photography, logging and a model of historic Flagstaff.
The outside also has plenty to see, such as its long-slab siding, hand-split wooden shingles, and volcanic stone arches. The beautiful yard is filled with the sound of birds, and the mansions’ location atop Kinlichi Knoll near Northern Arizona University gives you views of Flagstaff.
Don’t forget also to visit the visitor center, which has coffee table books showcasing the arts and crafts of the era, books on Flagstaff history, children’s books, t-shirts, magnets, pins and more.
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park gives you a unique look at the early days of Arizona. It’s a great thing to do in Flagstaff, Arizona. You can take in the mansions in just a few short hours (although you may want more time to see everything). Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is also not far at all from Phoenix, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and other Arizona attractions.