Explore N. Arizona

Riordan Mansion

When Timothy Riordan married Caroline Metz, and his brother, Michael Riordan, wed Caroline’s sister, Elizabeth, it seemed natural that they all would share a home, sort of.

In 1904, the two close-knit Flagstaff families moved into their new, 40-room, 13,000-square-foot mansion, which was really two separate homes connected by a common family room.

It was the talk of the area. Designed by Chicago architect Charles Whittlesey, who would go on to create El Tovar Lodge at the Grand Canyon, the mansion-duplex had the classic lines of Arts & Crafts architecture. The rustic log-slab exterior, volcanic stone arches and hand-split wood shingles gave it an element of grace without pretense in what was then a small, territorial logging town.

Running water and claw-foot tubs in bathrooms, and kitchens with enormous ice boxes were considered avant garde. Interior “wells” opening to the roof provided natural air conditioning. Original Stickley furniture and stained-glass panels are lasting icons of century-old gracious living. The mansion so perfectly welcomed guests and coddled families that Riordan descendants occupied it until 1985.

Today the home is protected as a state historic park, although its short-term access by the general public may be affected by budget shortfalls. (Call before making the drive.)

409 W. Riordan Road, Flagstaff, 928.779.4395, www.azstateparks.com.