HISTORIC FLORENCE ARIZONA
PRESERVING THE PAST
WHILE EMBRASSING THE FUTURE!
Are you a winter visitor or perhaps a life long resident of Arizona looking for an enjoyable day trip? Then consider the old Arizona town of Florence. From Phoenix drive east on US 60, then South on Highway 79 directly into Florence. Downtown Phoenix to Florence is 65 miles. From Tucson follow Highway 77 to Highway 79 then north to Florence, about 65 miles as well.
Old downtown Florence is an enjoyable place to walk and shop, and Main Street has been virtually preserved in time; if you stop and listen you can almost hear the clippy-clop of horse drawn wagons and faint music from the various brothels and saloons in town. Do you recall a humorous movie a few years ago called “Murphy’s Romance” a majority of which was filmed on location in Florence. If you seen the movie then you can not forget the beautiful soda fountain for which was at Murphy’s Drug Store, well that fountain is still being used today at the Outfitters Sports Grill located inside the General Store on Main Street.
Main Street houses many wonderful businesses from Hair Salons, to Hardware Store, Electronics to Jewelry, Eye Center, Antique Stores and much, much more. Florence can take care of all your shopping needs and all doing so within walking distance. Of course all that walking will create a hearty appetite and Florence has you covered on that as well; just pick your fancy: Authentic Mexican food, Seafood and American, Authentic Greek or perhaps a good old fashioned hamburger or steak will do the trick. We can not forget dessert, so make sure you save room for some ice cream, malt or fruit smoothie.
Did you know Florence has over one hundred (100) buildings listed on the National Register, and some of which are showcased every year with our downtown Historic Tour the second weekend in February. Looking to hone up on your history, then stop by the Pinal County Historical Museum, open Tuesday thru Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. admission is by donation. You will be greatly marveled by the Arizona State Prison Collection, Ranch and Cowboy displays, Tom Mix Collection and Trading Post displays. Come and learn about the shoot-out at the Tunnel Saloon, and see the bullet ridden window from the saloon. The Museum has a very extensive archives department with knowledgeable staff who can take you back through time. McFarland State Historic Park is another great stop for your trip. Originally the first Pinal County Court House built back in 1878 from adobe bricks, and the wood of the roof structure was hauled by horse and wagon from northern Arizona. There was even a jail and office added a sort time later for the county sheriff. The Park is named after Ernest W. McFarland who was the U.S. Senator, Governor of Arizona and an Arizona Supreme Court Justice. At close to WWII he wrote key portions of the G.I Bill, and founded the Arizona State park System in 1957. Mr. McFarland bought the building in 1974 and donated it back to the Park System with his personal library for which houses other archives of his life as well. The park is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday thru Monday and is closed Christmas Day. The second courthouse built in 1891 is no longer open to the public, but the outside is still popular with photographers who appreciate historic buildings. The clock tower a top the courthouse adorns the time of 11:44, no the clock isn’t broken; the hands are actually painted on the face. It is believed that while building the jail funding ran out and the funds for the clock were redistributed to finish the jail.
So whether you are a winter visitor or an Arizona resident, Florence is well worth the short drive and is sure to tickle your fancy.