Riordan Mansion

April 25, 2010 - Flagstaff, Arizona, United States

Sunday 25 April 2010

Slept in a little today as Riordan Mansion didn’t open till 10:30.

Timothy & Michael Riordan built a logging industry based in Flagstaff in the late 1800’s. They also had a hand in lots of other business & community ventures. each brother married(two sisters Carolyn and Elizabeth Metz who were of German descent and both families were very devoted Catholics and family orientated)& lived with their families side by side. the mansion consists of two 2 storey dwellings joined in the middle by a huge family/games room complete with billiards table & various board games. It is built primarily of old growth Ponderosa pine (the primary lumber for their company) & stone. It has electric lights, central heating (in 1904 !), hot & cold running water, built in closets/robes, built in 6 door refrigerators (iceboxes) & telephones.

We arrived just in time to take the 11:00am guided tour (thats the only way to actually see inside)- no photos of the inside of the east dwelling were allowed (Timothy’s). We went into the rear entrance(porch)& into the games/family room (joining the two dwellings), the original billiards table, board games & decor still there. A lot of the decor was inspired by the Native American art & culture, a couple of the log ends used in the house have totem faces carved into them & windows in the family room have transparencies of native Americans fixed to them as well as the artwork hanging on the walls. From here it was upstairs to the bedrooms (even the staff had nice large quarters to sleep in). There was a giant skylight in the middle of the ceiling which shed light down to the ground floor also. Then it was downstairs again where we saw the kitchen with the custom ultra low stove that was built for Elizabeth, Michael’s wife(she was only 4”11 & he was 6’4”). From there it was into the wet bar, the formal dining room with a football shaped table (better for seeing everyone & conversations we were told because Michael never felt that someone should be “ignored and never wanted to be at the head of the table). We walked through the library/study (with original books), living room complete with a swinging seat suspended from the ceiling which could be turned around to either look out the window or face the fireplace depending on the season. It was then back to the games room to access the other side of the mansion where photos were allowed (although not upstairs). The photos you see are basically a mirror image of what the other side of the mansion looks like. Lots of interesting displays & items from the period in here to explore.

It is here that you exit the house & can walk around the gardens where there are old implements from their business on display. At the front entrance is a lovely stone arch & gate. We went back to the visitors centre & looked at more everyday household items & tools from the period on display there (the visitors centre was actually their garage – equivalent to a 6 or 8 car garage today & then some !).

the mansion was built in 1904 by Charles Whittlesey creator of Grand Canyon's El Tovar Hotel. The mansion has forty rooms, over 13,000 square-feet of living area, and servant's quarters.

After touring the mansion and the grounds, we also were going to tour another museum “the Pioneer museum” but it was shut on Sundays. it was well after 2pm so we decided to find a place to eat. we drove back into town down historic route 66 and found this “50’s” diner called the galaxy. I’ll let the photos do the talking. after lunch we went back to the motel to get ready for the drive on Monday to the next town and tours which were the grand canyon, Kayenta and monument valley.

next journal:Grand canyon


1 Comment

Jean P:
May 10, 2010
This place sounds like Rio Vista House, it would be an awsome place to visit.
Jean P
Fuzzy Travel · Next »
Create blog · Login