by John Nixon, Recreation Superintendent, Town of Florence
Early Florence, Arizona was driven by the discovery of silver and supported by a strong agricultural base. The resulting economic opportunities, born of a growing town, attracted a diverse population, which is reflected in many of today’s Florence homes and other structures.
The architectural styles of Florence’s historic homes reflect more than the adobe and brick foundations. Archaeologists often study architecture to learn more about past societies and communities. Historic homes and buildings speak volumes about the lives of this community’s earliest inhabitants.
Florence history will come alive at the 33rd Annual Historic Florence Home Tour on Saturday, Feb. 10 when visitors can view over 17 homes and historical structures, each with unique architectural styles. The tour begins at Jaques Square located at 291 N. Main St. Day-of ticket sales will begin at 9:30 a.m., while the tour is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visitors may walk the tour route or ride trolleys to the outlying historical structures. Information will be provided by tour guides on each of the three trolleys.
The theme for the home tour, “Florence: An Arizona Hidden Treasure” reveals the little-known intriguing and entertaining facts about the town contained within the walls of these homes.
In addition to the home tour, the Maricopa High School Theatre Company will perform three re-enactments of “The Baron of Arizona.” The performances will be at McFarland State Park at 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. McFarland State Park is located at Ruggles and Main Streets in Florence. The Theatre Company is led by Arizona Master Teacher Cynthia Calhoun, whose group has received state and national recognition for its performances.
“The Maricopa High School Theatre Company is excited to be a part of the Florence Historic Home Tour for the first time, and to present an original production of “The Baron of Arizona,”’ Calhoun said. “We look forward to telling an important story in Arizona’s history, set in the backdrop of the Old West of Florence.”
At 2 p.m., the Pinal County Historical Museum will host a special presentation of the Wild Horse and Burro Inmate Program. This is a fascinating example of government agencies partnering to not only care for and train wild horses and burros for adoption, but also gives select Department of Corrections inmates the opportunity to care for and train the animals. Program supervisor Randy Helm will discuss the program and present a special display of saddles and cowboy gear from a bygone era.
The Florence Arts and Culture Commission will offer a Quick Draw Artist Contest and Silent Auction at 10:30 a.m. Artists have 90 minutes to begin and complete a portrait or landscape and the finished products will be auctioned off at the end of the contest. Spectators are welcome to watch as these talented artists create impressive works of art. The contest is at the Jacob Suter House, located at 270 N. Pinal St.
Home Tour tickets are only $15 for adults the day of the event or $10 in advance. Advance tickets are available at the Pinal County Historical Society and Museum, Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce and the Florence Library and Community Center. Tickets may also be purchased online at: florenceazhometour.bpt.me.
For questions or more information, please contact John Nixon, recreation superintendent at the Florence Community Services Department at 520-868-7699 or go to florenceaz.gov/hometour