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