Florence Townsite Historic District
The Florence Townsite Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and is noted for its concentration of buildings that represent the growth of Florence from the nineteenth to the middle twentieth century. There are over 140 historic buildings in Florence, many of which are constructed of adobe brick. The district contains a mix of architectural styles from early Territorial times through the post-World War II building boom.
A self-guided audio walking tour of the Florence Townsite Historic
District is available at the Florence Visitor Center located at
McFarland State Park. The
audio tour takes visitors on a 1.4 mile loop tour that highlights the most significant buildings in the district.
Location: Florence Visitor Center, 24 W. Ruggles Street, Downtown Florence
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Saturday
Phone: (520)868-4496, toll free 1-866-977-4496
McFarland State Historic Park
McFarland State Park began its colorful history as Florence’s first
Pinal County Courthouse and every week there was a public dance at
the courthouse. Built in 1877-78, it held the sheriff’s office, the
courtroom, the judge’s chambers, and the jail on the first floor.
The second story was used as a jury room and quarters for visiting
lawmen. When a larger courthouse was built in 1891, the adobe
structure became the county hospital. In 1938, the building became a
welfare and public health center, and later, in 1963, the Pinal
County Historical Society acquired and maintained the building as a
museum until 1970. In 1974, former governor Ernest W. McFarland
purchased the building and donated it to the Arizona State Parks
Board for an historic park.
Location: 24 West Ruggles, Downtown Florence
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday - Saturday
Phone: (520)868-4496, www.azstateparks.com
Pinal County Historical Museum
The Pinal County Historical Museum affords the visitor opportunities to view artifacts as well as research Pinal County area history and people. The museum also houses the archives for the Arizona State Prison in Florence. Of particular interest are the 28 actual nooses used for hangings at the prison. The double execution chair, used for the first gas chamber execution in Arizona, is also on display. The museum houses a collection of Tom Mix memorabilia and information about the life and death of the western film star. Other popular items include the 1890s cholla cactus furniture made in Florence and the square piano from the Clarke House. The Pinal County Historical Society’s library and archives has a non-circulating collection of rare and out-of-print books, documents, letters and photographs about the people, history, flora and fauna of Pinal County and especially Florence, as well as “Arizona Highways” magazines dating back to 1937.
Location: 715 S. Main Street
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Closed July 15th – August
Admission: By donation. Student groups are free (not over 50 at one time)
Prison Outlet Store
The store sells a variety of arts and crafts items made by prisoners housed at Arizona State Prison facilities throughout the state.
Location: Intersection of State Route 79 and 287
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Daily, Closed on all holidays.
Saint Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery
The monastery is the most recent of 10 monasteries started in North America by Father Ephraim of Mt. Athos in Greece. Forty monks live at the monastery where the elder directs the daily routine. St. Anthony’s welcomes all visitors who may view the chapels and walk the grounds. All guests are to be appropriately and modestly dressed. Men are asked to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Women are to wear long skirts (well below the knee), long-sleeved blouses, and scarves.
Everyone is asked to wear socks, especially when wearing open toe
shoes. Upon entering the monastery, all visitors are asked to stop at the gate house.
Location: 4784 N. St. Joseph’s Way
Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Daily
Phone: (520)868-3188, www.stanthonysmonastery.org
Pinal Pioneer Parkway and the Tom Mix Memorial
The Pinal Pioneer Parkway (State Route 79) was designated as a scenic desert preserve by the Arizona Department of Transportation in 1961. There are several places to stop and enjoy virtually every species of Arizona desert flora. The Tom Mix Memorial is located approximately 20 miles south of Florence on the parkway. The monument depicts Tom Mix’ horse, Tony, waiting for his master and was erected to honor the movie star near the site of his death. Tom Mix, a silent screen movie star in the thirties, died in 1940 after crashing his yellow Cord Phaeton convertible into a dry wash.
Going north on State Route 79, just after you cross the Gila River, there is a Historical Marker giving information about the pyramid on the top of Poston Butte. Charles Poston is known as the “Father of Arizona” and was the first elected delegate to Congress from the Arizona Territory. Poston is buried inside the pyramid on Poston Butte, formerly known as Primrose Hill. In 1925, his remains were moved from a pauper’s grave in Phoenix to his beloved Primrose Hill where he had hoped to build a Temple to the Sun.
Poston Butte Golf Course
The 18-hole championship golf course was designed by Gary Panks and is managed by Troon Golf. The course is a par 72 and offers 5 sets of tees ranging from 5,300 yards - 7,300 yards in length providing golfers of all skill levels an enjoyable experience. Memorable par three holes featuring island greens, stacked stone walls and bunkers stretching from tee to green will captivate players wanting to try it again and again!
Location: 6100 W. Merrill Ranch Parkway
Phone: (520)723-1880, www.postonbuttegc.com/index.php
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
For over a thousand years, a multi-talented people known as the Hohokam inhabited the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona. They were farmers, engineers, traders, and craftspeople. By the time the first Europeans arrived, this civilization had crumbled, but the ruins of an extensive complex of villages, irrigation canals, and artifacts still remain. The four-story Casa Grande, one of the largest prehistoric structures ever built in North America, is only a small part of what was once the Hohokam civilization. The visitor center exhibits a collection of Hohokam artifacts and explains what we know of the Hohokam way of life. From the visitor center, a 400-yard self-guiding trail will lead you through the ruins area. During the winter months 30-minute ranger-guided tours are given at regular intervals throughout the day. A picnic area with shade and water is available on a first-come first-served basis.
Location: 1100 Ruins Drive, Coolidge, AZ
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Daily. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Admission: $5.00 per adult, children under 15 are free
Phone: (520)723-3172, www.nps.gov/cagr
Tour this renowned environmental research facility and see where science lives. Biosphere 2, under the management of The University of Arizona, is one of the world’s most unique facilities dedicated to the research and understanding of global scientific issues.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum
This is the place to discover the intricate beauty and many faces of Arizona’s botanical life. The Arboretum is Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden
Lost Dutchman State Park
The park offers a variety of hiking trails, nature trails, 35 regular campsites, picnic facilities, and special programs throughout the year.
Oracle State Park
Acting as a wildlife refuge and environmental learning center, the park’s educational programs present basic ecologic principles.
Picacho State Park
The park and surrounding area are known for its unique geological significance, outstanding and varied desert growth, and historical importance. The unique shape has been used as a landmark by travelers since prehistoric times. The sight of the only Civil War battle fought in Arizona.
Superstition Mountain Lost Dutchman Museum
The purpose of the Superstition Mountain Museum is to collect, preserve and display the artifacts, history and folklore of the Superstition Mountain area and adjacent regions.