Florence will celebrate its 28th Annual Tour of Historic Florence on Saturday, February 9, 2013 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Eleven historic homes, commercial buildings, and public buildings dating from 1868 to 1930 will be featured on the tour.
Florence is noted for its collection of Territorial period architecture with over 120 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The heart of the downtown commercial district retains much of its original western character with old adobe homes, graceful Victorians, and early 20th century commercial structures. The tour not only focuses on the town’s architecturally significant buildings, it also gives visitors a glimpse of Florence’s colorful past. The stories that shape Florence’s history run the gamut from old west gun fights to politicians and movie stars.
The ornate 1891 Pinal County Courthouse is a must see on the tour this year after being closed to the public for an extensive, multi-year rehabilitation project. Back by popular demand, the Windmill Winery will be featured on the tour for the second year. The winery sits on the site of Florence’s first brickyard and contains a 1910 dairy barn from Wisconsin that was transported plank by plank and re-built on the property a few years ago.
Travelers on State Route 79 between Tucson and Florence may have noticed the Tom Mix monument marking the site where the famous movie star was killed in a one car accident in 1940. The car, a custom outfitted 1937 Cord, has been restored to its Mix’s specifications and will be on display for a free one day showing during the tour at the Pinal County Historical Society Museum.
Other activities include the annual Florence Rotary Club Book Sale at McFarland State Historic Park and the fine art and photography show at the Florence Woman’s Club. History comes to life at the Blue Adobe Meeting Center where local historians give performances during the Southwestern History Hub Matinee Show and visitors can test their quick draw skills at the Rynning’s Rangers Museum. The Catholic Church of the Assumption will host a Mardi Gras Celebration that features vendors, music, and food all day. After touring Florence’s downtown historic district, visitors can stop by the Florence Aeromodeler Park to see the Model Air Show just two miles south of town on State Route 79.
The self-guided Tour of Historic Florence begins at McFarland State Historic Park, at the corner of Main Street and Ruggles Street in downtown Florence. Admission for adults is $10 in advance or $12 on the day of the tour, children under 18 are free. Trolleys will provide transportation to all sites. Proceeds from the tour support downtown revitalization activities of the Florence Main Street Program. Visit www.florencemainstreet.com or call 520-868-4496 or toll free (866) 977-4496 to buy tickets or get more information.