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BULLETFeatured Weekend Getaway
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Featured Getaway
Today, the house is part of Faraway Ranch Historic District, and the National Park Service conducts tours of the property.

©Craig Smith

Click on image to view larger in separate window.

Faraway Ranch
Chiricahua National Monument

By Noah Austin

The Chiricahua Mountains are a long way from Sweden — and a lot of other places, too. But that’s where Neil and Emma Erickson settled, in a small cabin at the entrance to Bonita Canyon, when they came to the United States in the 1880s. The couple struggled with farming, so Neil worked in Bisbee as a carpenter, often leaving Emma alone at the ranch for months at a time. After Neil found work closer to home, the Ericksons set about expanding their family and their home. By the 1920s, Faraway Ranch had all the modern comforts needed to run a guest ranch, and early visitors paid $2.50 a night to stay there. Hiking and bird-watching were popular activities, and after dinner, the Ericksons’ daughter, Lillian, regaled guests with Wild West tales that were at least partly factual. And what about the ranch’s unique name? It comes from the Erickson children’s complaint that their home was “so god-awful far away from everything.” Including Sweden.

LOCATION: From Tucson, go east on Interstate 10 for 71 miles to Exit 336 (an I-10 business route). Stay straight on the business route and continue 3 miles to State Route 186. Turn right onto SR 186 and continue 31 miles to State Route 181. Turn left onto SR 181 to enter Chiricahua National Monument (a $5 fee is required). After the entrance station, follow the signs to Faraway Ranch.
CONSTRUCTED: 1880s (original cabin), 1915 (two-story structure)
ARCHITECTS: Neil and Emma Erickson
INFORMATION: 520-824-3560 or www.nps.gov/chir

1886: Emma Peterson buys a two-room cabin along Bonita Creek. She marries Neil Erickson the following year, and the couple moves into the cabin and rears three children there.
1898: The Ericksons expand the cabin into a two-story, board-and-batten-style frame house.
1903: Neil becomes the first ranger at the newly created Chiricahua Forest Reserve, which would eventually become part of the National Park Service.
1915: Neil finishes construction on the house, now a two-and-a-half-story building with six upstairs bedrooms.
1917: Neil is transferred to Flagstaff, and the Ericksons leave their eldest child, Lillian, in charge of Faraway Ranch.
1923: Lillian marries Ed Riggs, who adds bathrooms, oil heat, electricity and a large dining room to the ranch. The two continue to host guests until the 1960s.
1979: Two years after Lillian’s death, the Erickson family sells Faraway Ranch to the National Park Service.

>> Visit Getaways Guide

DiningWhether you find yourself famished in Flagstaff or starved in Sonoita, there are many great spots to find a bite in Arizona... [more]

LodgingNo matter where you travel in Arizona, you'll find lodging that ranges from rustic to ritzy, along with everything in between... [more]


External LinksFor more information about great places to visit in Arizona, view our list of links to external resources, from Native American arts to parks and national forests... [more]

Events CalendarEscape, experience and explore Arizona, one event at a time... [more]

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