At the turn of the century, the Riordan Brothers built a thriving logging business in Flagstaff, Arizona, and had become fixtures of the local elite. After marrying, in 1904 they built a 13,000 square foot duplex mansion on a rise South of the city. The complex was designed in the American Arts and Crafts style by Charles Whittlesey, who also designed the famous El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon National Park. The house included all the latest technology; electric lights, central heat, hot and cold running water, and telephones.
The two two story buildings are joined by a single story billiards/gathering room. In 1914 a back porch and 6-car garage (now the visitor) center was added. The construction is wood frame with center cut log siding giving the appearance of a log-cabin. The shingles are hand split. Structural elements include whole trunks. The local old-growth Ponderosa Pine that they had built their business on along with local lava rock were used.
The two white-covered windows are under restoration as they originally held panes made by binding a photograph transparency to finely ground glass and coated with matte varnish creating a translucent photograph window. These windows are the last known created in that style by John K. Hillers, the photographer that accompanied John Wesley Powell on his second expedition to the Grand Canyon in 1879.
This panorama depicts the rear of the complex between the main buildings and the auto garage as it shows the various architectural elements better than the front. At the right side corner of the main building is a 200+ year old Old-Growth Ponderosa Pine can be seen, one of the few left in the region as lumbering practices at the time were to clear-cut whole forests. Beyond the Ponderosa Pine are tennis courts and a Fairy-Ring (fire pit) in the old Irish tradition.
The complex, while outside the developed area of Flagstaff when it was built, is now well inside the metro area. The buildings were occupied by the Riordan descendants until the late '70s when the land around the buildings was sold for development and the mansion complex donated to the State for preservation. The interior contains most of the original furnishings.