Urgent news! The Brown Bag lecture at Riordan Mansion is canceled for today (Monday, December 14) due to harsh weather and unsafe driving conditions. Stay home today but return to Riordan on February 8th to hear the Civil War in Arizona lecture. Be careful out there and stay warm!
Saturday, December 5
Join Santa and Mrs. Claus for the annual Christmas party in the visitor center of the historic Riordan Mansion State Park. Mrs. Claus will read stories and the real Santa will be on hand to hear Christmas wishes. There will be cookies, cider and crafts. The party begins at 9:00 AM and ends at 11:00 AM. Open to the public and FREE!
The holiday fun doesn’t end after the party!
Enjoy live holiday music provided by the talented teachers at the Flagstaff School of Music for the 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM tours of the historic house. The 1904 duplex will be decorated as it would have been 100 years ago with wreaths, garlands, greenery and a towering fir tree trimmed with hand-made ornaments. Regular admission fees apply and reservations are recommended.
Pie the Belgian Draft Horse will be at Riordan Mansion for a meet and greet and wagon rides from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Dress warm for this special, free outdoor activity!
For more information or to make tour reservations call the park at 928-779-4395.
Monday, December 14th
12:15 PM – 1:00 PM
The most action seen in Arizona during the Civil War was the Encounter at Picacho Pass on April 15, 1862. Picacho Peak is located between Casa Grande and Tucson. Though it seems quite a distance from the core of the war, there were high stakes that involved the southwest.
When the U.S. Civil War began in 1861, the Confederates, were very interested in gaining control of New Mexico Territory (which included most of what we call “Arizona” today). This large piece of land was the connecting link between the Confederate state of Texas and California, which was in the control of the Union.
California would provide the Confederates with access to the Pacific Ocean making it difficult for the Union to use a naval blockade to prevent the Confederates from getting supplies from Europe. California also had gold and silver mines, and the Confederates needed money to fight the Union. Finally, they knew if they gained control of California, it would impress Europe and European support would help them win the war.
The Confederates believed a small number of their soldiers could gain control of New Mexico Territory because they believed that most of the people in the area were on their side of the war. New Mexico Territory had passed laws in 1856 and 1857 in favor of slavery, several of the newspapers were openly pro-Confederacy, and many of the settlers were angry with the Union because the United States government had not been able to send enough soldiers to protect settlers and travelers from Apache raids.
So while the skirmish at Picacho Peak was a small encounter between traveling soldiers from both sides of the war, it represents the great hopes of the Confederacy and the powerful forces which drove our nation into Civil War.
Presented by Kathy Farretta, M.A., Arizona State Parks
This very popular guided tour is a storytelling session involving tales of the fantastic and the factual. The historic Riordan Mansion makes a great backdrop for spinning yarns appropriate to the Halloween season.
Make your reservations by calling 928.779.4395. Tours will be held on October 28, 29 and 30 at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 pm. Admission for the tours is $12.00 per person, due upon reservation. Recommended for ages twelve and older. Space is limited – call soon! Riordan Mansion State Historic Park – (928) 779-4395.