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Lillian Riggs  (b. 1888, d. 1977)
Lillian Riggs Faraway Ranch. This ranch house is now owned by the National Park Service.
Lillian Riggs, rancher and dude ranch owner, grew up on the Faraway Ranch and later operated the ranch with her husband. They explored the nearby Chiricahua Mountains and built the first trails in the "wonderland of rocks." After losing her eyesight, Lillian still managed the ranch and continued riding. Faraway Ranch is now located on the Chiricahua National Monument.

Region: Southern Arizona
Theme: Women at Work

Lillian Erickson Riggs grew up on the Faraway Ranch, near the Chiricahua Mountains, where her Swedish immigrant parents homesteaded. Although she left home for her education, she returned to run the cattle and dude ranch with her sister before marrying in 1923. After her marriage, she and her husband, Edward Riggs, continued to work on the ranch and operate a dude ranch. They also explored the nearby Chiricahuas and built the first trails in this "wonderland of rocks." Mr. Riggs convinced the National Park Service to make the area a national monument, and in the 1930s, he managed Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) crews who improved the trail system in the area. Lillian ran the ranch alone while Edward worked with the CCC.

In 1940, she lost her eyesight, but she continued riding and making decisions with her husband. Edward Riggs died in 1950, and Lillian persisted in managing her property with the assistance of a foreman. She maintained responsibility for major decisions, determining when to sell her cattle by running them through a chute and feeling their teeth and shanks. She continued riding into her seventies on the land that she had known throughout her life.

This National Park site is open to the public. Visit the Faraway Ranch to learn more about an Arizona ranch family and the life of Lillian Riggs who is representative of Arizona ranch women's resilience and tenacity. The Faraway Ranch is located 1.5 miles west of the Chiricahua National Monument Visitor Center outside of Willcox.

Photo Credits:
Lillian Riggs - Courtesy of National Park Service
Faraway Ranch - Courtesy of Arizona State Parks Department

 

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