Storefronts in the older part of downtown Florence
Florence is most noted as being the home of the largest Arizona State Prison complex: between the county, state and federal governments and private corporations, there are 9 operating prisons in Florence. During World War II, there was even a large prisoner of war camp just north of Florence and it housed mostly German and Italian prisoners taken during the North Africa campaign.
Florence is also known for the number of planned housing developments under construction and on the books: maybe 20 within town limits and 30 within the Florence Planning Area.
One of the oldest towns in Arizona, Florence was founded in 1866 about midway between Tucson and Phoenix. There are more than 130 buildings in Florence that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, most of them in the downtown National Historic District. In spite of all the modern housing subdivisions around Florence, the city has preserved the downtown area pretty much as it was when it was first built. When stagecoaches were a main mode of travel, Florence was on the main line between Tucson and Phoenix, but when the Interstate Highway grid was being built, Florence was bypassed.
The Arizona Trail passes just to the east of Florence. Also just north and east of Florence is the Box Canyon, Gila River, Cochran and Coke Ovens recreation areas. Cottonwood Canyon Road and the Desert Wells Multi-use areas are further north of Florence off State Route 79. Yet further north is the Superstition Wilderness. State Route 79 itself is the Pinal Pioneer Parkway: designated as a scenic desert byway and preserve in 1961. 2 miles south of Florence you can catch the Florence-Kelvin Highway: 10 miles of pavement leading to 22 miles of well-graded gravel. This road travels east to State Route 177 and offers great views south into the Sonoran Desert.
Between 2000 and 2015 the population of Florence rose more than 60%.
Pinal County Courthouse in 1938
High School or Higher: 67.9%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 4.9%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 1.7%
Cost of Living Index for Florence: 90.2
Median Household Income: $36,600
Median Home Value: $84,200
Median Resident Age: 36.2 Years
Government, Educational Services, Construction, Health Care, Lodging & Food Services, Finance & Insurance Services, Social Services, Waste Management Services, Real Estate Services
Unemployed (August 2014): 18.2%
Upper left photo of the Coke Ovens courtesy of the Florence Visitor Center
Photo of Pinal County Courthouse courtesy of Frederick Nichols, LOC