We had a few more things on our list to do before we moved on to Yuma, Arizona at the end of the week.
Florence, Arizona, is a small town 30 miles east of Casa Grande. The town was once part of Mexico until the Gadsden Purchase in June of 1853. The Gila River was the boundary between the United States and Mexico at that time.
It is one of the oldest towns in Arizona and has 25 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places
We visited the Pinal County Historical Museum which had artifacts from the Hohokam culture.
Charles Poston is considered to be the Father of Arizona for his efforts to separate Arizona from the New Mexico Territory and start a path to statehood.
The furniture below is made solely of Cholla cactus and the ribs of the giant Saguaro cactus.
The Brougham Coach, circa 1880.
Early school scene. Note the drinking fountain on the right side.
The red velvet dental chair and the foot-powered dental drill from the office of Dr. Brockman who was the local dentist until 1958.
Office equipment from the 1891 Pinal County Courthouse.
Tom Mix was a cowboy movie star from Florence that died tragically in a one car accident south of town. They say the actual cause of death was a metal suitcase that hit him in the back of the head.
We drove out after and saw the monument in his memory.
A true story, Sheriff Gabriel and his Deputy Phy had a shootout at the Tunnel Saloon over politics.
1884 Decker Brothers Square Grand Piano.
Antique glass that has turned purple due to ultra-violet lights on the chemicals in the glass.
1870 circa furniture and dress.
Different guns from the era.
On loan to the museum from New Jersey was the “Edison Collection “.
Turn of the century household items.
From the Brunenkant Bakery, the bakery building was used in the famous movie “Murphys Romance” filmed in Florence.
Florence is the center of Arizona’s prisons and correctional facilities, eight in all, including state, county and private.
This is a double gas chamber chair from the Arizona State Prison.
The hangman’s nooses pictured below are the actual nooses of the individuals pictured with them.
Eva Dugan, the first woman to be hung in Arizona for murder, literally lost her head at her hanging as it became dislodged from her body and rolled into the crowd.
Pearl Hart, Canadian born, spent her time holding up stage coaches but was aquitted at her trial.
Then there was Winnie Ruth Judd, the Trunk Murderess. Dismembered two women over the affections of a man. Sentenced to death but was sent to an asylum.
The museum also showcased a mining and blacksmithing exhibit.
Florence is the home of the oldest youth rodeo in the country to date.
After the museum we visited the Florence Courthouse.
The first Courthouse in Florence
was actually the site of the McFarland State Historical Park which is actually a building not a park.
Ernest W. McFarland, an American politician, along with Warren Atherton, is one of the “Fathers of the G.I. Bill”.
Florence is known for other historical facts, such as, from 1943 to 1945, during WWII there was a POW Camp outside of the town that housed 13,000 prisoners of German and Italian descent.
Remember Charles Poston, the Father of Arizona? Well he is buried in a pyramid atop a butte right outside the town called Poston’s Butte.
On the outskirts of Florence is Saint Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery. We did not tour the actual Monastery but we did visit the church that sat up on the hill outside of it.
This past week we also made a trip to the Mesa Marketplace & Swap Meet. This is an inside (unheated or cooled so dress for the weather) facility that had a wide variety of everything.
While in Mesa we also had an amazing view of Superstition Mountain with snow on it from the previous day when Flagstaff to the north got 35 inches of the white stuff. We had rain in Casa Grande and we also saw some hail.
I think this is part of Tonto National Forest and it is completely covered in snow.
Who doesn’t like a good campfire with good friends? Here is a picture of some of the people at Desert Springs enjoying just that! Louis you build a great fire!
A visit to the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch is a must, and is not to be confused with the movie. I think this was the highlight of the week! It was so much fun to interact with all the different animals. It was a nice clean facility, the animals seem to be very well cared for and its not a bad price for the experience! They started in 1999 with just ostriches and have evolved to a fun place for kids and adults.
With the admission you get two cups, one with feed pellets and the other with three tokens, a stick with seed on the end and a small container of nectar.
We set off on the Feed Trail.
First the little donkeys. Feed with hand open and use the pellets.
Smiley was my favorite!
Following the path you come to the Fallow Deer. Also feed with open hand and pellets.
I guess some goats are better than others because these goats live in a penthouse and are fed by placing food in the dish then using the conveyor to take the food up to the top.
Not the hole in the wall gang you would typically think of. These Boer Goats were fed by hand or mouth!
The hens at the Henhouse were a bit aggressive when it came to the food. Use a token for the food then drop it in the bowl and step back.
You can’t have an ostrich ranch without ostrich! They all seem to have really long eye lashes, don’t they? Feed by open hand only using pellets.
HaHa!!! These St Croix Sheep were pretty comical when they saw you coming. They literally take the feed with their lips. Feed by handing to them in your hand using the pellets.
Nigerian Dwarf Goats were very friendly too and you fed them by open hand using pellets.
Lots and lots of furry little bunnies ate the food you get using a token. You could feed these guys with the food in your fingertips.
The Parakeets were fed by using the stick with the bird seed on the end.
Using your last token you get feed for the ducks. You can feed the ducks by hand but the hardness of their beaks can startle you.
Having only the nectar left we enter the Lorikeet House. You know they are named after me, right!?
Holding the small container of nectar in your hand, the Lorikeets fly up to your hand then remove the lid to get to the nectar. They were very friendly but don’t touch!
There were some tortoises in another area. We did not feed them.
At the end of the tour there is a stingray pool where you can feed or just touch the stingrays.
These were diving ducks and there were four tanks of them. Each tank was fed on the hour in fifteen minute intervals so spectators could watch them dive for their food.
We had a great time at the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch! The manager was on hand, he made sure you were having a good time and you could also ask him questions.
At the RV Park we were entertained by a local band called Arizona Wildflowers. The sisters (17, 10, 9 and 7) were so talented, singing and playing the mandolin, violin and guitars. Their little brother even had his moment on stage.
Life is full of things to do and join in on at the RV Park. There are get togethers with music, good food and games.
There was a game similar to corn hole but with washers.
We also attended Bingo at the SKP park down the road a little ways.
I am sure going to miss Desert Springs. It is close enough to I-8 and I-10 that you can explore an easy hours drive in any direction.
The amenities are plentiful with a clubhouse and patio.
A full laundry with sitting room.
There is a putting green and driving range, with a golf course to come in the future.
A pickle ball court.
Heated pool and hot tub.
A large patio with a gas grill and fire pit.
There are two shower rooms which are clean and lots of room.
They do have wifi at a reasonable rate.
You can receive your mail here while your staying.
The Management is very hospitable and always making sure all is good with their guests.
Besides having RV/Camper sites there are also a few casitas and campers that can be rented.
If you get this way definitely stay here!
Thursday is usually the day that the men go golfing and the women get together for games, snacks and music. This is how it goes when Val gets the margarita machine out!!
These ladies are the coolest on the planet and I will miss them!
Happy trails and safe travels to all our friends at Desert Springs!
P.S. To a hard working lady, Carolyn!