Thursday, July 18, 2013

Florence...Arizona, That Is

Florence, Arizona is a town of about 25,000 or so located about 40 miles south east of Mesa. It was founded in 1866 by a man named Levi Ruggles, who was an Indian Agent. Historically it was a ranching and agricultural area. Currently Florence is home to nine prisons--state,county, Federal and two private. Below is a photo of the county courthouse, recently restored, which dates to 1895.

 Florence has a lot of old houses and buildings still standing. Many of them are adobe. The house shown below is one such place, although remodeled. The verandah porch is typical of many of these houses that date to territorial days.

Thick adobe bricks make great insulation, very useful in the hot southwest. I had friends in Tucson who lived in old adobe houses; they were much cooler than our house, which was built with fired brick in the late 1940's. Sometimes they would make a "double adobe."  A double adobe had walls that were two adobe bricks thick-about 18 inches. They were literally way cool.

The house shown below is another territorial house. It originally had a flat roof, since covered with a gable roof. The plaque in the second photo refers to this house.

I know nothing about the house shown in the two photos below. I think it is very interesting because of the additions. Who knows what was original?

 The house below is intriguing because of the door. Why a sunken entrance?

 In 1875 silver was discovered in the mountains near Globe, about 35 miles from Florence. Florence was the nearest town of any size so it became the headquarters for the Silver King Mine. One of the partners in the mine, William Long, built the Silver King Hotel in 1876. It was originally adobe, but burned in 1893 and was rebuilt using fired red brick. It was abandoned in the 1970's and a section on the back, still adobe, burned in in the 90's, I believe. The current restoration was completed in 2009. The building now houses some shops and offices. The photo below is the Silver King. The section that burned ran west lengthwise starting at the southwest corner of the current building.

The photo below is taken from the northeast corner looking south under the porch and down Main Street.

One of the most intriguing things about the Silver King is the outside staircase shown in the two photos below. I guess I've seen too many Westerns. I can just see the gunfight with guys falling down and off the stairs, as well as off the balcony. The stairs start on the second floor, north side and end up of the west side, first floor, outside.

The photo below is on Main Street showing a few businesses. The bank has the smallest front I think I've ever seen for a bank. Typical of the Main street businesses.

Below is the window of a bar on Main Street. I've never been mooned by Kokopelli before. For the uninitiated Kokopelli is the hump-backed flute player found on  ancient Native American rock art in the Southwest.

The house shown below has seen better days. I don't think that evap cooler is going to do much. The guy doesn't seem too worried; just relaxing in the front room.


  1. Hey! I know that guy!

    And I love the staircase, too.

  2. Love the old hotel. And I often wonder about the stories of houses compiled of new and very old/original pieces. Love how the resident of that last place is completely unconcerned with the "Caution" tape surrounding him and his abode. : ) Fantastic photos, as always.