November 2007

RVers Are Welcome

Celebrate 50 Years Of State Parks At McFarland State Historic Park

Celebrate Arizona State Parks' 50th birthday and Veteran's Day at McFarland State Historic Park on Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11.

Park activities will include a Veterans Day Celebration representing time periods from 1775 to present. See America's past come to life and enjoy a piece of birthday cake and refreshments.

This event will also commemorate Arizona State Parks' 50th anniversary on Nov. 10 only. This will be a celebration with dignitaries and a cake cutting under the big tent at 11 a.m. 50th Anniversary displays will be featured, including activities for children.

Looking for some evening entertainment, the local American Legion will host a 1940s Big Band era dinner and dance on Saturday night.  Tickets for the dance can be purchased at American Legion.

The park is located in downtown Florence at Main and Ruggles. Regular park fees apply. Park Entrance Fee is $2 per person for anyone aged 14 and up. There is no charge for children 13 years and younger.

Arizona State Park Annual Pass is available for $45 (some restrictions apply) and Premium Annual Pass is sold for $100. Arizona State Parks offers a free Annual Pass to disabled veterans living in Arizona for those qualified at 100 percent disability.

For more information about the Veteran's Day and State Parks birthday, please call McFarland State Historic Park at (520) 868-5216.

McFarland Courthouse and museum provides visitors with a window into the past.  The 1878 Territorial Courthouse represents a transition between Sonoran and Anglo-American architecture with a wood-shingled pitched roof surmounting traditional adobe brick walls.

In 1963, the Pinal County Historical Society acquired and maintained the building as a museum.  Today, the buildings and house exhibits depicting the history of the area include the Ernest McFarland Archives and World War II POW Camp.

The adobe brick building, now McFarland State Historic Park, served many roles during the late 1800s and early 1900s, most notably as a jail house and a hospital.

"Mac" McFarland

Ernest W. McFarland, or "Mac", contributed to Arizona history through an active public service career and many lasting projects. He is the only known American to have served his state in the highest branches of government (U.S. Senator of which he served as majority leader, governor, and Arizona Supreme Court Justice).

The decades in which "Mac" served the government also witnessed unprecedented growth in Arizona and the Southwest. McFarland was in the forefront during a crucial time, assisting in the modernization of Arizona, the region and the country.

"Mac" McFarland was commonly referred to as the "Father of the G.I. Bill" because he wrote the home and business loan sections. Other major contributions include working on the Central Arizona Project and founding the Arizona State Parks system in 1957.

This event is part of Arizona State Parks 50th Anniversary celebration held through December 2007. The Arizona State Parks Board was established in 1957 to acquire and manage park and cultural areas.

Over the years, legislation has added other programs to Arizona State Parks and as a result, the volunteer board is responsible for a much broader spectrum of duties. These duties are related to historic preservation, archaeology, outdoor recreation, resource conservation/education and grant administration.

For information about Arizona State Parks call (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703) or visit