Mother Road Hosts Distinctive Tasting to Benefit Riordan Mansion Preservation

In association with the Riordan Action Network (RAN) and the Northern Arizona Celtic Heritage Society (NACHS), Mother Road hosts Architecture & Ales Saturday, May 28. Only 150 tickets will be sold. Each $50 ticket yields ten, four-ounce pours that include a limited release beer, snacks from Flagstaff’s favorite restaurants, live music and most importantly, a singular glimpse into the exceptionally preserved home of one of this Mountain Town’s founding families.

Historian Platt Cline noted that if the railroad was Flagstaff’s father then the Lumber Company was the mother, employing two-thirds of its population. The Riordan family was at the city’s center — the children who furthered their figurative parents legacy into community pillars. Those include city-wide electricity, a hospital, the community hotel now known as the Monte Vista, all three original Catholic churches, Northern Arizona University, Coconino County, Lowell Observatory and a little community asset known as Lake Mary, named after Tim Riordan’s oldest daughter.

To know their story is to know Flagstaff and that story happened at their home — a 118-year-old, American Arts and Crafts beauty built with all the technology that progressed the Victorian era to the Industrial Revolution. Now it’s a State Park. And says Park Manager Nikki Lober, “We’re very lucky here. Everything on display belonged to the Riordans — original Stickley furniture, clothing, books — it’s a real step back in time and one of the largest collections the public can see.”

Architecture & Ales is the rare opportunity to socialize in the West House and billiard room, in a property that needs support. The protruding log ends, called Vigas, aren’t structural and require frequent replacement. There’s painting, volcanic stone work, a delicate renovation of one-of-a-kind, photo-embossed windows took place in the 90s. Riordan Mansion is fortunate to receive state funds yet besides affordable daily tours, its upkeep depends on people who care.

Enter Mother Road. “One way Mother Road works to preserve Route 66 history is by honoring its properties, vehicles and landmarks,” says Director of Arizona Craft Beer Stephanie Henderson. “When we learned Riordan needed repairs, a craft-beer tasting seemed like a natural way to help.” That includes a debut recipe from Quality Lead Kyle McElhany. His Fin de Siècle (Turn Of The Century) is a delicate French saison filled with citrusy, peppery notes. Chosen by the staff Hospitality Team, it’s the kind of creative freedom a production brewery relishes.

That’s something the forward-thinking Riordans well understood. “The house represents their whole philosophy, not just architecture,” continues Park Manager Lober. “The Riordans really knew their place in history, they knew they were making things happen for Flagstaff. They were supporting progressive ideas of the time like unions and the 40-hour work week we enjoy. They were making a community and taking care of people.” Under Platt Cline’s parental metaphor, that makes us all grandchildren tasked with taking care of the family home.

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