The restored courtroom at McFarland State Historic Park

McFarland State Historic Park is actually an old Territorial-style courthouse located at the corner of Main and Ruggles in Florence. The building was constructed in 1878 using native materials. It's different from most Sonoran architecture in that there is a pitched, wood-shingled roof atop the traditional adobe walls. The first county jail was in the courtyard at the back of the building. It was a small adobe cubicle with no windows and used either burlap or canvas for a door. Prisoners were chained to a huge boulder buried in the floor. If a prisoner was important, the jailer had to sleep in front of the doorway. An addition to the building in 1882 added extra offices for the county recorder and the sheriff, and a real jail.

When the courthouse functions were moved to a larger building in 1891, the old courthouse became the county hospital. It was operated as the county hospital for the next 50 years.

In 1938 the building was modified a bit and became a welfare and public health center. The Pinal County Historical Society bought the building in 1963 and maintained a museum there until 1970. Ernest W. McFarland (a former Arizona governor, US Senator and Arizona Supreme Court Justice), bought the building in 1974 and donated it to the Arizona State Parks Board to be used as a historic park. McFarland paid for the restoration of the building out of his own pocket and it opened to the public in 1979.