Your first stop, after walking along the walkway from the parking lot and looking at the items on display along the way, is the Visitor's Center. Inside you can pay the entrance fee of about $3, look around the museum, buy gifts, get a brochure for a self-guided tour of the grounds and register for a docent led tour of the insides of the mansion. If you are really lucky you may get a tour led by the very knowledgeable, Holly.
Another display is this Spark Arrestor. Scrap wood was burned in large incinerators at the sawmills to generate steam power. These spark arrestors were placed at the top of the smokestacks to reduce the threat of fire.
The third display would become very, very important if the Spark Arrestor in the previous tip failed to prevent a fire. This human drawn fire hose cart was used to fight fires in the early 1900s. Fire was about the most feared enemy in a forest of Poderosa Pine.
The Riordan Mansion was built in 1904 for the two Riordan Brothers and their families. It was designed by the same man who built the Grand Canyon's El Tovar Hotel, Charles Whittlesey. Riordan Mansion is an impressive example of Arts and Crafts style architecture, with its rustic exterior of log-slab siding, volcanic stone arches, and hand-split wooden shingles. The expansive home has forty rooms, over 13,000 square-feet of living area, and servant's quarters.
This circle of stones served two purposes. First it was a social gathering place for the families and their visitor's. Sometimes they would cook outside here, or use it to cool off on summer nights. The second purpose had to do with Irish Folklore. The story goes that if you build a stone circle like this it gives the faeries and other wee folk a place to play, light small fires, and dance and they will not cause mischief.
I found several of the details around the house to be very interesting. Photo 1 shows a totem face carved into one of the end logs; Photo 2 is the stone entrance to the west wing; Photo 3 is the sleeping porch which was not part of the original structure but was added later. It made for much cooler sleeping in the summer nights. Photo 4 is the connecting rooms that connected the two brother's houses. It housed a billiard room.
The original mansion had a fence around it and a large gate you went through to enter the grounds. The Riordan's employed a man to operate the gate and greet/announce guests. Here you can see his cabin.
Here you can see the hitching posts located near the front entrance to the house. Guests would ride up, hitch there horses to the rings in the tall posts and use the large stones to help them dismount. When they left they would reverse the process.
I met several of the people working at Riordan Mansion State Historic Park. Holly and Nikki were Park Rangers and Leela and Misty (no photo sorry) were volunteers. Holly is a very knowledgeable guide.
One of the displays along the walkway to the Visitor's Center is this restored logging wagon used in the 1920s to haul the loge from the cut down trees to the mill.
This birdbath was made from volcanic rock from this area. There are several animal figures carved into the stone. Growing in and around the low all are the Golden Current bushes.
Here you see all that remains of the tennis courts located on the grounds. The golf course they had is long gone.
Here are several views inside the mansion. Photography is prohibited in the east wing these are all of the west wing. The west wing has additional museum displays.