Riordan Mansion State Historic Park consists of the beautiful, sprawling Riordan Mansion and 5 acres of attractive land surrounding the magnificent home. Riordan Mansion was built in 1904 to house members of one of the richest families in Flagstaff. Today the 13,000-square-foot structure is open for guided tours. The grounds also include a Visitor Center, picnic area, and small gift shop.
Riordan Mansion History and Background
The star attractions of Riordan Mansion State Historic Park are the two nearly identical homes built by the brothers, Timothy and Michael Riordan. The two men were key figures in the ongoing development of the Flagstaff area; by 1904, with their significant wealth in hand—drawn from their involvement in a wide range of industries, including cattle, banking, lumber, and railroad interests—they were able to commission Charles Whittlesey, the architect of Grand Canyon National Park’s iconic El Tovar Hotel, to build them a sprawling mansion on a hill in downtown Flagstaff.
The result is Riordan Mansion, an approximately 13,000-square-foot home that actually consists of two linked houses. Whittlesey built the Mansion in the fashion of the Arts and Crafts architectural movement; as a result, Riordan Mansion features an assortment of rustic details like stone arches, exposed wood beams, and stone materials native to the region. In 1978 Riordan Mansion passed into the possession of the state of Arizona; in 1983, Riordan Mansion State Historic Park opened to the public.
What’s at Riordan Mansion
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park today includes the Riordan’s home and five acres of land. Visitors are encouraged to explore the grounds via a free self-guided tour; a handout accompaniment for this self-guided grounds tour is available (also for free) in the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center itself is a great spot to start your time here. Housed in what was once the Mansion’s multi-car garage, there you’ll find a series of interactive exhibits that provide a strong introduction to the house’s illustrious history.
The Riordan Mansion itself can be viewed during a guided, 60-minute tour. During this tour your guide will discuss with you the more notable architectural features of the Mansion, as well some of the furnishings that are original to the home. The West House, in particular, has been described as a “house museum.” There you’ll encounter exhibits on topics ranging from the Arts and Crafts architectural movement to the history of the lumber industry in/around Flagstaff to Native American pottery.
A number of additional amenities are also to be found here. A small gift shop is located inside the Visitor Center. There you’ll find a nice variety of souvenirs, including everything from magnets to t-shirts to toys; there is also a selection of books available for purchase that provide more information on the history of the house and greater Flagstaff area. Contemporary, ADA-compliant bathrooms are also available on-site, as are several picnic tables.
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is located right in the heart of Flagstaff, Arizona, not far from the campus of Northern Arizona University. As a result, all manner of dining and lodging options are available nearby, as well as other popular local attractions such as Lowell Observatory, Museum of Northern Arizona, Wupatki National Monument, Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano, and many, many more. Just 45 minutes to the south you’ll find all the charms of scenic Sedona, while approximately 80 minutes to the north is that world-wonder, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Tips for Visiting the Riordan Mansion
- It does cost to tour the Riordan Mansion. A tour ticket costs $10 for adults over the age of 14, and $5 for children between the ages of 7 and 13. Admission is free for all children 6 years old and younger.
- Operating hours at Riordan Mansion State Historic Park vary slightly throughout the year, so you’ll want to double-check before visiting. However, typically, during summer months (May 1 – October 31) the grounds are open every day between 9:30am and 5:00pm, with Mansion tours running every hour on the hour between 10:00am and 4:00pm. Between November 1 and April 30 the facilities are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while the grounds are open from 10:30am to 5:00pm, with tours running every hour on the hour between 11:00am and 4:00pm.
- For those traveling in a group of 15 or more people, with advance notice of at least one week you may arrange a private group tour of the Mansion. Riordan Mansion may also be rented out for special events like weddings and family gatherings.
- Pets are not allowed in any of the Park’s buildings or structures, so keep that in mind as you plan your visit.
- Riordan Mansion State Historic Park hosts many different special events throughout the year, including everything from evening science lectures to whiskey tastings. Before visiting, it’d be a good idea to check their website, or the website of the Arizona Historical Society, to see if you can time your visit to coincide with any of these sorts of events.