[Source: John Collins Rudolf, Zonie Report] -- The steady gaze of Earnest McFarland, who in the mid-20th century served Arizona as a U.S. senator, governor and state supreme court justice, looks down on every visitor to the state park that bears his name, a restored frontier courthouse in dusty Florence, built in 1874. “We will never be perfect in our government, but high ideals can predominate,” reads a brass plaque beneath the portrait, quoting one of McFarland’s favorite sayings.
Yet perfection is hardly the word that comes to mind during a tour of McFarland State Historical Park. Massive cracks stretch from floor to ceiling on more than one of the building’s original adobe walls. A support beam braces a crumbling exterior wall, keeping the wall and sections of roof from collapsing. In another room, which over the years served variously as a jail, county hospital and prisoner-of-war camp, caution tape warns visitors to avoid a gaping hole in the floor. “McFarland did a lot for this state and this community, and I think he would be very saddened if he saw the condition of this building today,” says assistant park manager Terri Leverton. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]