Picket Post Mansion Tours January 7 - 8 , 2017
The West-facing wall and windows of the Historic Picket Post House are all that most people have ever seen of the 7,000 square foot mansion -- but after a five-year hiatus, a special weekend January 7 - 8, 2017 invites visitors to walk through the mansion, see magnficent views and hear history narrated by Arboretum staff and volunteers. Read more aboutColonel William Boyce Thompson's venerable mansion perched on volcanic cliffs overlooking his namesake Arboretum; don't miss this rare opportunity to walk through
the building, and grounds.
Arboretum daily admission increased to $12.50 starting on January 1, and daily admission is required to enter the Arboretum grounds and walk the half-mile main trail to reach the mansion gate; mansion tour tickets cost an additional $20 each, and money raised during these special weekends of mansion tours helps support Boyce Thompson Arboretum.
View a slideshow by mansion House Host MiMi Paris
The Arboretum opens at 8:00 a.m. during Winter months. Buy tour tickets in the Arboretum gift shop when you arrive - tickets are not sold in advance.
Visitors may want to carry some cash along when you walk up to the mansion - the local Soroptimist Club will have grilled burgers and hotdogs during lunch for $5-a-plate; money raised helps the Soroptimists with charitable efforts in our neighboring town of Superior.
Preview the mansion tour -- Arboretum Volunteer
Patsy Akers posted Picket Post Mansion Tour photos on our Facebook
More complete details will be announced in the email newsletter, with updated bulletins about mansion tours and many other events here -- some of which are only announced in our E-newsletter? Please send a brief note to Kim Stone
[ kstone AT cals.arizona.edu ]
and write"BTA newsletter -- please add me" in your subject line. Provide your first and last name for our newsletter mailing list database, and we will keep you apprised of this and all other events.
Garden Admission Required
Arboretum daily admission of $10 for adults or $5 for ages 5-12 is required to enter the Arboretum grounds - except, of course, for BTA annual members and also Arizona State Parks pass holders.
If you have questions about mansion tour tickets, please call 520-689-2723 during daytime business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The mansion will open at 9:00 a.m. and close promptly at 4:00 p.m. both weekend days, closing with enough time to allow visitors ample time to walk the half-mile path back from the mansion to the Arboretum visitor center and main parking lot. Please note that dogs are not allowed inside the Mansion.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum staff will tell you that some of the most frequent questions posed by visitors are: "who owns that mansion on the hill?" and "do they give tours?" Picket Post Mansion, also known as the 'Castle on the Rocks,' was built by Colonel William B. Thompson, and was opened for these special mansion tours weekends to help raise funds for Boyce Thompson Arboretum
As of today the mansion is not wheelchair-accessible; Arboretum staff hope these mansion tours and fundraising efforts expected in coming years will expand mansion accessibility to all visitors. Please be aware that stairs must be climbed to enter the mansion, and also to move between floors once inside the building.
"Construction began in 1923, took 14 months to complete and cost $20,000 by some estimates," said Arboretum Director Mark Siegwarth. "The Colonel founded the Boyce Thompson Arboretum and donated his house and the surrounding property to the Arboretum in 1928. The Colonel passed away a few years later, in 1930. Picket Post Mansion was sold in 1946 to Walter and Ida Franklin of Globe for $40,000 as it became a financial burden to the Arboretum, then operated as a bed and breakfast. One of its more famous visitors was Admiral Richard Byrd's wife and two daughters in 1947, who stayed there as the Admiral was away on an expedition to the South Pole. Again, due to the cost of maintaining the Picket Post House, it changed hands again and was eventually was acquired by Rick and Tina Rose. Most people's memories of tours were probably during the Rose's ownership. On July 15, 2008, Arizona State Parks purchased the property to make the Arboretum whole once again.
"Although renovations to restore the Picket Post House have not yet begun, the interest in the Picket Post House has led the Arboretum to open it for two weekends only to help raise funds for its operations," said Siegwarth. "The Arboretum generates over 90% of its own revenues. Without renovation and a larger staff, the Arboretum cannot keep Picket Post Mansion open, so do not miss this rare opportunity."
Boyce Thompson Arboretum, near milepost #223 on U.S. Highway 60, is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily from October-through-April. For answers to other questions about Picket Post Mansion, please call 520-689-2723 during daytime business hours
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