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Riordan Mansion State Historic Park facts for kids

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Riordan Mansion State Historic Park
Riordan state park flagstaff arizona.jpg
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park
Location Coconino, Arizona, United States
Area 5 acres (2.0 ha)
Elevation 6,900 ft (2,100 m)
Established 1978
Governing body Arizona State Parks

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is a historic site in the Kinlichi Knoll neighborhood of Flagstaff, Arizona, bordering Northern Arizona University.


This park features the duplex home of Timothy and Michael Riordan, lumber baron brothers who married sisters, Caroline and Elizabeth Metz. The brothers were members of an important Arizona Territorial family who played a role in the development of Flagstaff and northern Arizona and were involved in lumber, railroads, cattle, banking, and politics.

Cooperatively the Riordan brothers built their thirteen thousand square foot mansion in 1904 while Arizona was still a territory. The home consisted of two similar six thousand square foot wings for each family, connected by a large common room.

Charles Whittlesey was the architect for the Riordan homes. He also was the architect for the El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon. Architectural similarities between the structures can be found in the massive stone arches at porch corners as well as exterior elements that reflect the surrounding landscape like log planks, wood shingles, and native stone.

Park history

On November 15, 1978, after over a year of planning and negotiations, Arizona State Parks received a warranty deed conveying the Riordan homes, much of their contents and 5 acres (20,000 m2) of land surrounding the structures for State Park purposes.

The public opening of the Park was held on August 4, 1983 and only included the Timothy A. Riordan (east) side of the house. This was the results of cooperative efforts of the family owner, Robert Chambers, who had died in 1980, and the Arizona State Park board members and personnel. On April 27, 2002 the Michael J. Riordan (west) side was opened for self-guided tours.

The park was scheduled to close on February 22, 2010, for an undetermined amount of time due to state budget cutting, but its contract with the Arizona State Parks system was renewed for another three years under the condition it is self-funded. The Riordan Action Network Group, a team of local volunteers fund-raises to keep the park open and pay the staff salaries. The park now maintains very few staff and relies on volunteers to maintain the mansion and provide educational tours.

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