Faraway Ranch

Family portrait of seated man and woman, and a woman, man, and another woman standing behind them.
Neil and Emma Erickson (seated), with their children Lillian, Ben, and Hildegard.


Faraway Ranch was the home of Swedish immigrants, Emma and Neil Erickson. Emma Peterson bought a two-room cabin in December of 1886. After she and Neil Erickson married in January 1887, they settled on the 160-acre homestead. The couple struggled with farming so Neil worked in Bisbee as a carpenter, leaving Emma alone two to three months at a time.

Neil and Emma had three children, Lillian, Ben, and Hildegard. In 1898 the couple expanded the cabin to a two-story, board-and-batten style frame house. In 1903 Neil became the first ranger for the Chiricahua Forest Reserve. With Neil staying home for the first time in their marriage, the house grew again.

By 1915 Neil had constructed a two and half-story building with adobe and board-and-batten walls. Two years after Neil finished the house, the Forest Service transferred him to Flagstaff.

The house experienced another phase of a building when Neil and Emma's daughter Lillian married Ed Riggs in 1923. Ed was able to add the comforts needed for a modern and successful guest ranch operation, including bathrooms, oil heat, and electricity. He enclosed the north porch to make a large dining room, featuring a fireplace composed of stones carved by Buffalo Soldiers.

Faraway Ranch guests could explore the grounds, swim in the pool, or relax with a book. There was birdwatching, hiking, and they could take their picnic lunch up to the Wonderland of Rocks by horseback. After dinner guests might retire to the living room for music and Lillian's tales of the wild, wild west.

Take a step back in time by taking a tour of the ranch house!

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    Last updated: February 7, 2019

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    Mailing Address:

    12856 E Rhyolite Creek Rd
    Willcox, AZ 85643


    520 824-3560

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