Why We Live Here
One of the oldest towns in Arizona, Florence was once a mining trade center and a stagecoach stop. It’s recognized as a National Historic District with over 25 buildings listed as historic places. Farming and ranching are still two of the driving forces behind the local economy, just as it had been centuries ago. Aside from governmental and agricultural activities, the economy of Florence has begun to attract an increasing number of winter visitors, and several retirement communities have been constructed north of downtown.
The Town of Florence has grown and changed dramatically over the decades and much more dramatic changes are yet to come. Through the decades, Florence has retained an undisputable sense of place and character by respecting local history and being the seat, and the heart, of Pinal County. Florence stands at the crossroads between its past and its future. With extensive development projected in coming years, the community seeks a sustainable future that honors its past.
- Incorporated 1908
- Area 63.7 sq. mi.
- Elevation 1,490’
- County Pinal
- Website http://www.florenceaz.gov
- Population 28,474 (2021 est.)
- Population Density 454 per sq. mi.
- Median Age 40.8
- Families with Kids Under 18 24%
- Average Household Income $49,674
- Overall Cost of Living 95.9
The earliest inhabitants of the Florence region can be traced back to the Hohokam people approximately 1,200 years ago. These early natives resided within close proximity to the Gila River, and had developed extensive canals and agricultural lands which yielded various crops. For reasons unknown to archaeologists, regional habitation by the Hohokam people came to an abrupt end during the fifteenth century. Early accounts by Franciscan Missionaries during the 1700’s indicate that the lands around Florence contained Apache, Papago, and Pima tribal settlements. During the early 1800’s the Florence region was under Mexican jurisdiction until the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, which placed all lands south of the Gila River under the authority of the United States Government.
According to early historical records a population census conducted in 1870 indicated that the Town of Florence had a total of 218 people residing within the community. On February 1, 1875, Pinal County was formed out of parts of Maricopa and Pima Counties, and the Town of Florence was established as the county seat. The Town of Florence continues to function as the primary administrative center of Pinal County.
The Town of Florence officially incorporated in 1908, and in 1909 the territorial government moved the Arizona Prison from Yuma to Florence. During 1921 the Ashurst-Hayden Diversion Dam was completed upon the Gila River, which allowed for extensive irrigation of croplands.
Many stories are told on how the Town of Florence got its name: one is that in 1866 Colonel Levi Ruggles, an Indian Agent, staked and plotted the lands which are part of the present-day community and named the town after his wife. A second story is the name of Florence was selected by territorial Governor Richard McCormick, who had named it in honor of his sister. Still there are some that will tell you the town was named after Florence, Italy.
Major Attractions and Events
- Arizona Zipline Adventures
- McFarland State Historic Park
- Poston Butte Golf Course
- Pinal County Historical Museum
- The Windmill Winery
- Anthem Grille
- Eugene & Kim’s Place
- Mount Athos Restaurant & Café