Historic Museum shares windows into the past ...

Trip Start Jan 18, 2013
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Trip End Mar 01, 2013


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Where I stayed
Our Winter Home in Arizona City

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Thursday, February 21, 2013

21FEB2013

After we stopped at St. Anthony's Monastery St. Anthony's Monastery :: Home Page we found ourselves with some extra time and decided to run into Florence and stop by the Historical Museum there... This blog is continued from Serene Walk thru St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery blog!    Florence is just a few miles from the Monastery...

The "Pinal County Historical Museum" Pinal County Historical Museum - Florence, Arizona is not for profit.  Florence, AZ is the county seat as well as the sight of an old prison.  Also there is another historical prison in Yuma AZ  Arizona State Parks: Yuma Territorial Prison: Home.  There is a lot of history in this Museum that relates back to the Prison, including some of the ropes and nooses used in the hangings and later parts of the old gas chamber that was used...  Including the wood chair that the prisoners were strapped into...  There are at least 50 of the old prison record books on a shelf, each was for a year... We assume they are diaries of what happened daily, intake, releases, etc... It’s a shame these books aren't open, so you can turn the pages of history...  BTW Eva Dugan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, the only woman to be hanged in the prison was dropped from through the trap door and as the noose pulled tight, it beheaded her...  she made jewelry that was sold in the store at the prison..  so she'd have a pretty dress to be hanged and buried in..  After her death it was decided that a more humane way was needed and they bought a gas chamber...  she had been a house keeper... and one day she and the rancher she worked for disappeared…   she was caught selling his truck telling the dealer that she was his wife... she was brought back and convicted of theft and when she was in prison, the body of the rancher was found and it was determined that she'd killed him....  and was convicted of the murder and sentenced to hang… ExecutedToday.com eva dugan Another woman, Ruth Judd, narrowly missed swiping Dugan’s distinction; Judd’s hanging sentence was commuted for insanity just days short of her scheduled 1933 hanging.

In addition there's a lot of historical items from some of the ranches, including clothing, guns, furniture..  We are on the edge of the Pueblo Indians and the Indians that lived in the Casa Grande area... and the home of  Casa Grande Ruins National Monument - Casa Grande Ruins National ...  they have a great collection of Indian pottery... from small hand painted and glazed pots...  4-8" in diameter and 5" tall to some that are 18" in diameter and 24" tall...  One of the big surprises is how these have survived the 100 - 200 years they've been around... something as fragile as a thin clay pot...  has survived this time…

One interesting fact is that the Museum has some items from Movie Star, Tom Mix Tom Mix (I) - Biography.  Mix had friends in Florence and on one of his visits he was driving crazy across one of the old roads and crashed his 38 Cord convertible...  its seems the accident didn't kill him, but his loose metal suit cases in the back seat of the car became projectiles when the
car came to a crashing stop.... and the suit cases came out of the back seat, hit the back of Mix's head and broke his neck and killed him...

One of the more interesting items is a set of furniture, 3 chairs, 2 tables, 2 standing lights, 1 coffee table all made from Saguaro Cactus....  and a book case trimmed in Saguaro...  what interesting wood to use.. unique grain structure and holes running through the wood... very unique.... 

Of course, in all small museums is the traditional barb wire display... usually 30 - 40 different styles of barb wire... Pinal County Historical Museum’s display sports 125 varieties of barbed wire… to me the interesting thought is the design of the machinery that was needed to make miles and miles of any of these designs....

There was a large display of glass....  when the glass was blown it was a clear glass but now has this beautiful purple tint... it seems that a chemical (manganese) in the glass is acting with the UV light that strikes it and turns it a beautiful purple tint...  later as the process to making glass was improved and the chemical in the sand was identified it was removed and the glass clear...The purple glass is pre-depression glass…  Sun Purple on Purpose

For a 1200 - 1300 sq ft building, we spent 2 hours wandering around and looking at stuff and reading...  and from that we've gotten a better appreciation of the people who lived in this area over the past 200 years...

Finished the drive making a loop back thru Casa Grande to home in Arizona City.  As always Rowdy is a GREAT traveler! Next blog will include more on the Green Rhino ...

Happy Trails!
Jim, Connie & Rowdy too!
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