|Main Street of the original town-site of Florence. The town-site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on October 26, 1982, reference #82001623.
Main Street of the original town-site of Florence. The town-site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on October 26, 1982, reference #82001623.
|Location in Pinal County and the state of Arizona
Location in Pinal County and the state of Arizona
|Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.|
|• Mayor||Tom Rankin|
|• Total||8.3 sq mi (21.5 km2)|
|• Land||8.3 sq mi (21.5 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||1,490 ft (454 m)|
|• Estimate (2014)||26,912|
|• Density||2,054.6/sq mi (793.2/km2)|
|Time zone||MST (no DST) (UTC-7)|
|ZIP codes||85132, 85128, 85179|
Florence (O'odham: S-auppag) is a town, sixty-one miles southeast of Phoenix, in the Pinal County of Arizona, United States. Florence, which is the county seat of Pinal County, is one of the oldest towns in that county and is regarded as a National Historic District with over 25 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The population of Florence was 25,536 at the 2010 census.
The area where the current town of Florence is located was once inhabited by the members of the Athabascans, ancestors of the San Carlos Apache tribe. Prior to the establishment of the town, the Gila River served as a part of the border between the United States and Mexico. In 1853, the Gadsden Purchase extended American territory well south of the Gila.
Levi Ruggles, a veteran of the American Civil War founded the town of Florence, on the southern boundary of the Gila River. He came to Arizona Territory in 1866 as a U.S. Indian Agent. Recognizing the agricultural potential of the valley, he found an easily fordable crossing on the Gila River and surveyed a townsite there. With the aid of Governor R.C. McCormick, he secured a post office in August of the same year. Ruggles held numerous public offices including that of Territorial Legislator. Listed as Historic by the Historic District Advisory Commission. Florence became the government seat of Pinal County Courthouse in the newly formed Pinal County and silver was discovered at the Silver King Mine in 1875.
In 1870, Fred Adams founded a farming community 2 miles west from the Florence original town-site. The farming town had stores, homes a post office, a flour mill and water tanks, It was named Adamsville. In the 1900s (decade), the Gila River overflowed after a storm and ran over the banks. Most of the small town was wiped out and the residents moved to Florence. The area where the town was established is now called a Ghost town and is within the boundaries of Florence. On the junction of Highway 79 and 287. there is a historical marker telling about Adamsville.
A canal was built in the 1880s which enabled water from the Gila River to be diverted for irrigation. Farming and ranching again played a major role in Florence’s economy. All of the federal land transactions for Southern Arizona were conducted in Florence until 1881, when the Federal Land Office was moved to Tucson. In 1875, silver was discovered in the nearby mountain and the mine established there was called the Silver King Mine.
One of the most notable gunfights in the old American southwest occurred in Florence. Sheriff Pete Gabriel hired thirty nine year old Joseph Phy as his deputy in 1883. Gabriel decided to not run for sheriff in 1886 and supported his deputy Joseph (Joe) Phy for the job. Later Gabriel withdraw his support because of personal differences with Phy. The two friends became bitter enemies and had a confrontation on May 31, 1888 in the Tunnel Saloon. A gunfight ensued and spread to the street. Both men received gun wounds. Phy died a few hours after the fight and Gabriel 10 died years later.
The Arizona State Prison moved to Florence in 1908 replacing the Territorial Prison in Yuma. The Second Pinal County Courthouse was built in 1891. It was the site where the trials of three notorious women were presented. They were Pearl Heart, Eva Dugan and Winnie Ruth Judd, known as the "Trunk Murderess". Pearl Heart (birth surname: Hart) was an outlaw of the American Old West. She committed one of the last recorded stagecoach robberies in the United States; her crime gained notoriety primarily because of her gender. She was tried in 1899 and was acquitted, however the judge ordered a second trial and she was found guilty and sentenced to five years of prison. In the 1930s Eva Dugan was convicted of murder. She was sentenced to be executed by hanging at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence. Her hanging resulted in her decapitation and influenced the state of Arizona to replace hanging with the lethal gas chamber as a method of execution. Winnie Ruth Judd was a Phoenix medical secretary who was found guilty of murdering and dismembering her friends Agnes Anne LeRoi and Hedvig Samuelson over the alleged affections of her lover Jack Halloran. The jury found her guilty of first-degree murder on February 8, 1932. An appeal was unsuccessful. Her trial was marked by sensationalized newspaper coverage and suspicious circumstances. Judd was sentenced to be hanged February 17, 1933, and sent to Arizona State Prison in Florence. The sentence she received raised debate about capital punishment. The death sentence was overturned after a ten-day hearing found her mentally incompetent; she was then sent to Arizona State Asylum for the Insane on April 24, 1933.
In 1940, cowboy-movie star Tom Mix was killed when he lost control of his speeding Cord Phaeton convertible and rolled into a dry wash (now called the Tom Mix Wash) in Florence, Arizona. Mix, who was a regular tenant in the Ross/ Fryer-Cushman House, was returning to Florence from Tucson. There is a 2-foot–tall iron statue of a riderless horse with a plaque on the site of the accident.
Located just north of Florence during World War II was a large prisoner of war camp for German and Italian prisoners of war, mainly captured during the North Africa campaign. Japanese Americans arrested as "enemy aliens" after the U.S. entered the war were also interned at the site. The prisoners picked cotton in the camp and were paid 50 cents an hour. They were not allowed to buy cigarettes, however they could buy tobacco which they rolled in paper and smoked. McFarland State Historic Park in Ruggles Ave. has a display and information on this period of Arizona history.
Geography and climate
Florence is located at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. (33.042204, −111.384521).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.3 square miles (21 km2), all land. The city has the typical hot desert climate of lowland Arizona, with brutal summers and warm winters.
|Climate data for Florence, Arizona (1971 to 2000)|
|Record high °F (°C)||89
|Average high °F (°C)||66.3
|Average low °F (°C)||38.3
|Record low °F (°C)||11
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||1.07
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 inch)||4.7||4.5||4.2||1.9||1.5||0.7||3.5||4.8||2.7||2.9||2.7||3.4||37.5|
|Source: National Climatic Data Center|
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,054 people, 2,226 households, and 1,540 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,056.2 people per square mile (794.3/km²). There were 3,216 housing units at an average density of 387.7 per square mile (149.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 57.12% White, 9.17% Black or African American, 4.42% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 26.79% from other races, and 1.64% from two or more races. 35.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,226 households out of which 23.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.5% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were non-families. 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.80.
In the town the population was spread out with 7.6% under the age of 18, 14.8% from 18 to 24, 50.1% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 482.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 582.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $36,372, and the median income for a family was $41,959. Males had a median income of $25,545 versus $28,279 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,278. About 6.1% of families and 7.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.
Government and infrastructure
Two Arizona Department of Corrections prisons are in Florence. They are Arizona State Prison Complex – Eyman and Arizona State Prison Complex – Florence. ASPC-Eyman includes the male death row, and ASPC-Florence includes the State of Arizona execution chamber.
Florence is the location of the 2nd Anthem development in the state of Arizona being built by Pulte and Del Webb. It is located six miles to the northwest of downtown historic Florence. The oldest functioning Arizona State Prison complex, the Florence complex, is located in the town, and its preserved Main Street and open desert scenery was the setting of the major motion picture Murphy's Romance.
There are a total of 9 prisons from the county, state, federal and two private prisons. There are 3 state prisons located in Florence. Florence is considered the hub of Pinal County filled with historic buildings and rich history. Florence is home to the annual "Country Thunder" music festival. Florence is also the site for the proposed Coyote Canyon theme park.
Points of interest
- McFarland State Historic Park
- St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery
- Florence High School
- Poston Butte
Historic properties in Florence
The following is a gallery of images of some of the historic structures in Florence, Arizona. They are either listed in the National Register of Historic Places or considered historical by the Florence Historic District Advisory Commission.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-08-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 11, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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- Arizona Republic
- Peterson, Charles S. (1992). "Pioneer Settlements in Arizona". Light Planet. Retrieved 2012-03-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Lei Ruggles, Founder of Florence
- About Florence
- Ghost towns
- Shootout at the Tunnel Saloon
- "Pearl Hart Acquitted". New York Times. November 17, 1899. p. 9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- 1930: Eva Dugan, her head jerked clean off, Executed Today]
- Goldstein, Richard (October 27, 1998). "Winnie R. Judd, 93, Infamous As 1930's 'Trunk Murderess'". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
Winnie Ruth Judd, who spent three decades in an Arizona state mental hospital as the notorious trunk murderess in one of the most sensational criminal cases of 1930s, died in Phoenix on Friday. She was 93.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Arizona State Hospital History http://www.azdhs.gov/azsh/history.htm
- "Camp Florence Days", a book and blog by a WWII guard at the Florence POW camp.
- "Florence (detention facility)" Densho Encyclopedia (accessed 17 Jun 2014)
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "FLORENCE, AZ" (PDF). Weather.com. 2011. Retrieved 2013-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 5, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Town Boundaries." Town of Florence. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
- "Arizona State Prison Complex – Eyman." Arizona Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
- "Arizona State Prison Complex – Florence." Arizona Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
- "Death Row Information and Frequently Asked Questions." Arizona Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
- National Register of Historic Places in Pinal County, Arizona.
- Historic District Advisory Commission.
- Walking Tour of Historic Florence