Park and Facility Hours
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Mon - Sat, October through April 30
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Mon - Sat, May through September
Park is closed Sundays
Park Entrance Fee
$5 per person
Ages 18 and under are free
Call 520-868-5216 for more information.
Nestled in the Town of Florence, McFarland State Historic Park is the oldest standing courthouse in Arizona. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the park dates back to the Arizona Territorial period in 1878. The rustic adobe courthouse, office, and jail have plenty of stories to tell about frontier justice in the Old West!
Ernest “Mac” McFarland purchased the site to preserve its unique history in 1974, donated it to State of Arizona and also paid for its renovations. McFarland State Historic Park was opened to the public and dedicated on October 10, 1979.
Through the years, the building has served as a courthouse, hospital, and even a jail - and has been the scene of notorious happenings – including gun fights! Legend has it that the Pinal County sheriff, in the face of a dangerous lynch mob, released his prisoners from their cells, sending them upstairs, and even armed the men to help defend themselves.
During your visit, stop by the Sheriff's office at the park to view get a look at lawmen from the past and hear stories of actual shoot-outs - including that of Arizona lawman Pete Gabriel who ended up getting in a gunfight with his former deputy, Joe Phy, at the Tunnel Saloon. You’ll even see REAL Jail Bars (and don’t forget to look for the handcuffs!) The tour will also take you through the recorder, treasurer and district attorney's offices and a recreation of the original courtroom.
Riding shotgun? Between 1875 and 1903, 134 stagecoaches were robbed on the highways of Arizona. You’ll discover how the law handled one such robbery in the Tales and Places of the Copper Corridor: The Riverside Stage Hold-Up.
For WWII history buffs, one of the most viewed exhibits in the park is the Florence WWII Prisoner of War Camp Exhibit. The camp was located in Florence from 1942 to 1946 and was one of the largest in the State of Arizona.
You’ll also learn more about Mac (U.S. Senator, U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Arizona Governor, Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, Father of the GI Bill and founder of the Arizona Parks System – and much more). During your visit you can enjoy a brief video about Mac while sitting in the original courtroom chairs.
For those interested in Southwestern architecture, the original structure at the park dates back to 1878, followed by the addition of a jail in 1882 and the courthouse in 1891. The building represents a transition between Sonoran and Anglo-American architecture with its wood-shingled pitched roof surmounting traditional adobe brick walls.
Like most buildings in Territorial Arizona, the structure was constructed by hand using native materials. Soil from the area was used to make adobe bricks which were laid on a trench foundation filled with river rocks. All lumber for the floors and roof was hauled by wagon from northern Arizona.
In 2020, the park added exciting new displays and more unique memorabilia, including an authentic recreation of the old courthouse. Admission, complete with stories & tours, is free.
© 2022 Ernest W. McFarland Foundation. All Rights Reserved.