The main entrance and parking lot are located at 409 W Riordan Rd., two blocks east of Milton Rd. next to the NAU parking garage. 

Riordan Road Historic Corridor

Nestled amid the picturesque pine-studded landscapes of northern Arizona lies a hidden gem, rich with tales of industry, community, and resilience. Welcome to the Riordan Road Historic Corridor, where echoes of a bygone era whisper stories of a once-thriving town known as Milton.

In the late 19th century, as the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad extended its reach across northern Arizona, Edward E. Ayer saw an opportunity. Establishing the Ayer Lumber Company in 1882, Ayer aimed to supply railroad ties for the expanding network. To support this venture, he founded a company town aptly named Mill Town, providing housing for the employees who fueled the lumber industry's growth.

At the helm of this burgeoning enterprise stood Denis Matthew (Matt) Riordan, appointed by Ayer as General Manager in 1884. Recognizing the town's potential, Matt Riordan, alongside his brothers Timothy and Michael, embarked on a journey that would forever alter the landscape of Milton. Just three years after his arrival, Matt seized the opportunity to purchase the mill from Ayer, heralding the birth of the Arizona Lumber & Timber Company.

Under the Riordan brothers' stewardship, Milton flourished. The town was renamed in 1887 by Michael Riordan, in honor of the esteemed author John Milton. Milton boasted a vibrant community complete with employment opportunities, mercantile stores, and even a hospital; and quickly became the lifeblood of the region, sustaining generations of families and shaping the identity of Flagstaff.

Today, remnants of Milton's illustrious past stand as silent witnesses to a bygone era. While the once-thriving mill and bustling town have faded into memory, the spirit of Milton lives on through the Riordan Road Historic Corridor. This carefully curated route invites visitors to delve into the town's history, tracing its evolution from humble beginnings to industrial powerhouse.

As you explore the Riordan Road Historic Corridor, keep an eye out for interpretive signs that bring the stories of Milton and its inhabitants to life. Each sign offers a glimpse into the town's past, shedding light on the lives of those who shaped its destiny.

From the pioneering spirit of Edward E. Ayer to the entrepreneurial vision of the Riordan brothers, the legacy of Milton is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the human spirit. So, take a trip to Flagstaff to embark on a journey through time, and discover the untold stories of Riordan Road Historic Corridor—the heart and soul of Milton, Arizona.

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