Arizona History Is Alive at McFarland State Historic Park
Located at the heart of downtown Florence, Arizona, McFarland State Historical Park is a small park and visitors’ center that offers you a glimpse of Arizona’s past.
The Historic Courtroom
The old building that’s at the heart of McFarland State Historic Park was built in 1878 and there was an addition in 1881. It’s a seven-room adobe structure that has played a variety of different roles over the years. It was built as a courthouse and jail, but later served as a hospital and more.
The architecture is unique as it was built during the transition from Sonoran to Anglo-American design. The building’s design has features of both, with its wood-shingled pitched room over traditional adobe brick walls. The adobe was shaped by hand from native soil and river rocks, as was the style at the time.
The building’s old courtroom is well preserved so that you can get a feeling for what it was like to be here back then. The jail, especially, makes you feel like you’ve traveled back in time. This is the most popular part of the park with kids.
Educational Opportunities at McFarland State Historic Park
McFarland State Historic Park is full of exhibits about the history of the area, with new exhibits added continuously. The exhibits focus on the era before Arizona was a state. They also include the Ernest McFarland Archives. The park offers a wealth of educational opportunities for all ages.
New exhibits are always added. The park plans to add an exhibit about Florence’s World War II Prisoner of War camp. It also plans to restore the old sheriff’s office to the way it was around 1881 and rebuild the jail cells. There are plans to return the courtroom to its condition circa 1878.
The goal of the park is to educate, and there are plenty of ways it does that. It offers archival access for students or interested history buffs. There are courtroom talks and guided building tours for students as well.
There are also picnic areas where you can take a break after all of your sightseeing.
Things to Do in Florence, Arizona
If you decide to make a stop at McFarland State Historic Park, be sure to spend some time checking out Florence. There are many other old historic buildings located in the Florence Townsite Historic District. The district has a total of over 140 historic buildings, many built in the adobe style of the time. All are wonderfully preserved and many offer further educational activities.
There are other things to do in Florence as well. The lovely historic town has plenty of places to eat and relax. Although the buildings are old, in recent years this quaint desert town has seen its downtown area reinvigorated with thriving new businesses.
Florence, Arizona, and McFarland State Historic Park are conveniently located close to Tucson and other southern Arizona sightseeing attractions like Tombstone and Sonoita Creek State Natural Area. It makes a wonderful place to stop on your next Arizona vacation where you can learn about Arizona and experience what the Old West was really like.