The Royal Riblet Estate

Situated upon a basalt cliff above the Spokane River is one of Spokane's most recognizable landmarks; the Royal Riblet Estate. Nicknamed the Cliff House, it was constructed in 1925 by architect George Keith. The construction of this mansion was quite an event. It was featured in numerous magazines and news articles, as well as newsreels. The mansion's build is of Italian design and during Royal Riblet's time at the estate (1925-1960); he nicknamed the structure the "Eagles Nest" and began making lavish additions. The location of The Cliff House also has a history all to its own. The area was called Myrtles Peak, and it is home to many stories and legends. One such event is the tale of a native woman by the name of Myrtle, for which the cliff is named, who jumped to her death to avoid an entrapping engagement. There are also several erroneous rumors associated with Cliff house, such as it was once home to a Chinese princess. This claim has never been verified.

Royal Riblet was one of Spokane's most colorful and interesting characters. He was born in the state of Iowa on July 9th, 1871. Royal had several siblings; a sister by the name of Nellie and two brothers called Walter and Byron. Royal Riblet's interest in mechanics started early with his daily interaction with farming equipment on the family farm. As he grew older, Royal became most known for his drive to win and his tenacious attitude. Royal eventually moved to the Pacific Northwest with his brother Byron, where they created and operated the Riblet Tramway Company. The Riblet Tramway Company, guided by Royal Riblet, created the modern ski lift, an invention that made the brothers very rich, but it was Royal Riblet who would forever mark his identity on the landscape of the Spokane Valley.

The Cliff house is still in use today, both as a business and historical marker. In 1982, the Arbor Crest Winery Company sold their first wine from a humble facility near an upriver dam in Spokane. In 1984, the company purchased the Riblet Estate, which has been the company's headquarters ever since. Arbor Crest Winery, as the location is known today, is a popular attraction for tourists as well as Spokane residents. The grounds have been used for weddings, as well as wine tastings and tours of the famous magnates' illustrious home.


Riblet Manor
All pictures courtesy of Flickr user jjorey1
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