Friday, February 08, 2008

Historic Florence homes open their doors for 2008 home tour

[Source: Daniel Dullum, Casa Grande Valley Newspaper] -- Every stop on the 23rd annual Tour of Historic Florence has its own unique history, and the Truman-Randall House (pictured) is no exception. The original owner, Pinal County Sheriff W.C. Truman, became a celebrity when he and his posse were credited with the capture of notorious stagecoach robbers Pearl Hart and Joe Boot in 1899. The second owner, Dr. Wallace Randall, was well known not only in Florence but throughout the state of Arizona. His murder in 1922 was front-page news and is still the subject of debate and speculation. The Truman-Randall House, currently owned by attorney Michael Villarreal, can be viewed as part of the Tour of Historic Florence on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The self-guided tour begins at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, 291 N. Bailey St. in downtown Florence.

It's the first time since 1993 that the Truman-Randall House has been on the tour. "Personally, I'm really excited about it because I've never been in there, and because of all the history with Sheriff Truman and Dr. Randall," H. Christine Reid, Pinal County Historical Museum public relations director, said. "I drive by that house all the time and I've always wanted to see what it looks like inside. From the articles I've read from when the house was on the tour many years ago, it looks just beautiful, so we'll be in for a treat." During the Tour of Historic Florence, visitors will have an opportunity to tour private homes and public and commercial buildings featuring various architectural styles, including Sonoran, Early Transitional, Late Transitional, American Victorian, American Bungalow and Mission Revival. Some buildings on the tour date back to the 1870s and 1880s, when Florence was the hub of activity for area silver mines, ranches and farms. The oldest structure on the tour is the Chapel of the Gila, 306 E. Eighth St. Built in 1870, Chapel of the Gila is also central Arizona's oldest church. While mentioning recent home tours held in Mesa and Gilbert, Reid said, "These other towns don't have what we have. Very few towns other than Tucson and a few other places have the Sonoran row houses, adobe houses and commercial adobes.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Town of Florence.]