Riordan Mansion State Historic Park
Take a tour of Flagstaff history at the former home of an influential pioneer family.
The Riordan brothers were sons of Irish immigrants who settled in Chicago before relocating to the Arizona Territory to operate a lumber mill in Flagstaff. They married the Metz sisters and made Flagstaff their home, at times employing some two-thirds of the town’s residents. Their 1904 mansion remained in the family until the 1980s when descendants gifted the site and its contents to Arizona State Parks. Today, visitors learn about Flagstaff’s evolution from railroad camp to booming mill town to Northern Arizona’s crown jewel. Exhibits reveal how Northern Arizona University, Lowell Observatory, Lake Mary and downtown properties such as the Monte Vista Hotel have origin stories tied to the Riordan’s legacy.
Join a Tour
Taking a one-hour guided tour is the only way visitors can access the interiors of the Riordan brothers’ grand duplex. Charles Whittlesey, the chief architect for the Santa Fe Railroad who also designed El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, designed the two homes connected by a shared family room. The American Arts & Crafts home was constructed of local Ponderosa pine and volcanic basalt rock and was modern for the times with indoor plumbing, electricity and central heat. Fully furnished to the period, the mansion feels as if the family left the time capsule intact for future visitors to relive Flagstaff’s pioneer history.
Seek More History
As one of Arizona’s earliest and most influential cities, Flagstaff has many stories to tell. Learn more about the area’s backstory at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Its massive collection focuses on the native cultures and art of the Colorado Plateau region. The Pioneer Museum, housed in a former hospital built in 1908, presents 10,000 artifacts that chronicle the railroad and logging industries in Flagstaff, plus profiles of early residents who shaped the city.
"While there are wonderful photos and articles online to learn about the park, when you visit in person you are able to truly experience the history, walk in the footsteps of the Riordans, and see what it was like to live here 118 years ago."
- Shannon Benjamin, Park Ranger
Stroll San Francisco Street
With a thriving downtown district and Northern Arizona University as its neighbors, Riordan Mansion sits in the center of Flagstaff’s action. After a tour of the museum, stroll campus and stop at local hangouts on both sides of the train tracks along Route 66 downtown. San Francisco Street has a great collection of casual coffee shops and eateries popular with the college crowd and leads to fine dining rooms downtown that have earned James Beard cred. Like everything in Flagstaff, even the fancy places keep it real with flannel and denim as the preferred dress code.
For More Information
For the most current information on operating days, hours and pricing, please visit the destination website.