This is a good first stop to orient visitors before visiting Florence’s historic district. An 1870s silver mining boom town, Florence’s true wild west heritage of stage coach robberies, shoot outs and even a former Civil War spy, comes alive at this museum alongside Florence’s rodeo and prison legacy.
Popular items in the museum are 1890’s cactus furniture, an 1884 square grand piano, Apache playing cards and a large collection of barbed wire. Rodeo exhibits highlight Florence’s connection to the Madison Square Garden rodeos and Gene Autry. Memorabilia and information about Western film star Tom Mix who visited Florence often and was killed nearby, is on view. A large gun display includes rifles from the Civil War and Apache Wars. Florence helped inspire Gus Arriola to create the comic strip Gordo and an exhibit is included giving a taste of Florence’s rich Hispanic heritage. Military displays highlight the POW Camp Florence and local WWII heroes.
Of particular interest is our archive on the Arizona State Prison in Florence and the 28 actual nooses used for hangings at the prison. The double execution chair used for the first gas chamber execution in Arizona can be seen, along with items relating to Winnie Ruth Judd, the trunk murderess of the 1930s.
A non-circulating library and archives keeps rare and out of print books, documents, letters and photographs about the area as well as Arizona Highways Magazines dating back to 1937. To do extensive researching, call for an appointment.
Museum is open September 1–July 15: Tuesday–Saturday 11 am–4 pm and Sunday Noon–4 pm. Additional parking is available in the rear. Escorted tours are available. Call ahead for large groups. To arrange a tour or for more information contact (520) 868-4382. 715 S. Main St. Florence, AZ.
The Old Courthouse