on June 20, 2006
In a forest of Ponderosa Pines, adjacent to a lumber mill, stands a unique duplex. This 1904 built 40-room mansion of more than 13,000 square feet was built for the families of Timothy and Michael Riordan (two brothers and business partners). It is furnished with many pieces of Stickley and Harvey Ellis furniture. The decorations, wall coverings, drapes, murals, paint colors are all consistent with the Craftsman style. Who would have thought that this Arts and Crafts gem would be found in the Southwest? It is furnished with many pieces of Stickley and Harvey Ellis furniture. The two house sections are connected with a room that the family called “The Cabin”. It was the site for parties, play time, entertaining the community, and sad occasions such as funerals. The brothers had married sisters and also made a home for their mother-in-law and a maiden sister. Members of the family lived in all or part of the double house until 1985. The eastern half of the house was donated to Arizona State Parks complete with furnishings. After the last relative who lived here died, the west half was also donated. Many of its furnishings had been distributed previously. We toured both floors of the east house and admired its unique features such as: skylight ventilation system in the Reception Hall; the Inglenooks that provided a cozy spot by the fireplace to warm up when you came inside in the winter; the porch swing in the living room that would face fireplace or windows depending on the season; the dining room table shaped to promote conversation; the window seats and bookshelves that lined the living-room and office; and the six door icebox in the kitchen. The west house tour was of the main floor only. Display boards were set up in these rooms for more in-depth information. Three differences I noticed in the two homes. West had decoratively carved wainscoting on the walls. East had an oval shaped dining room, while West had a rectangular one to accommodate the larger family. West had glassed over the ventilation, skylight between floors. Our Ranger thought there had been a fire on that side and it was feared the ventilation system helped spread the fire. Our ranger guide supplied us with a wealth of information and family stories. More information is available in the visitor’s center and the gift shop has a nice selection of souvenirs. Admission was only $6. Summer hours are 8:30am to 5:00 pm. Winter hours are 11:00am to 5:00pm. Allow at least an hour for the tour.
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