NOVEMBER 17 – DECEMBER 30, 2018

Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

More Info

MCFARLAND STATE HISTORIC PARK

24 West Ruggles St. (corner of Main St. and Ruggles)

Exhibit Location

Where the Water Flows

Florence Water/Ways

Rivers

Gila River

San Pedro River

San Francisco River

Creeks

Arnett Creek

Queen Creek

Municipal Water Systems

Town of Florence Water Distribution and Wastewater Treatment

Irrigation and Water Storage Infrastructure

Ashhurst-Hayden Dam

Coolidge Dam

Numerous irrigation canals

Florence ~ Host Site Profile

River Town

Florence has a long-term relationship with the Gila River and its water. The Gila riverbed goes directly through the town’s historic downtown core, which is designated a National Historic District. The town is one of the oldest municipalities in Arizona. It was founded in 1866 and serves as the seat of Pinal County. The first settlers in the area encountered the expertly engineered canals constructed by the Hohokam people centuries before, and wasted no time in resurrecting some of them to water their own crops.

The First Agriculturalists

The Hohokam lived in permanent villages in the Salt and Gila River Valleys, irrigated their crops with river water, and traded throughout what is now the southwestern U.S. for goods from Mexico and Central America. The Akimel O’odham (Pima) people consider themselves descendants of the Hohokam. The Gila River Indian Community, set aside as a reservation in 1859, is still home to Akimel O’odham. The Gila River Indian Community was adversely affected by the growth of Florence and other non-native settlements, which diverted increasing amounts of Gila River water to irrigate their own fields. The lucrative Akimel O’odham economy, based on selling agricultural goods to settlers and military encampments, slowly collapsed as the river dried up.

Old and New Economies

Ranchers dug Chase Ditch in 1866 along the alignment of a Hohokam waterway and received the first water rights in the area. Boosters established the Florence Canal and Land Company in 1886. The town has been an important center for irrigated farming and ranching for decades. As the borders of the Phoenix metropolitan area expand and Florence grows, its economy has diversified. Its website lists major employers as “Pinal County, Town of Florence, Florence Unified School District, Safeway, and nine correctional operations." The town's relationship with corrections actually goes back almost as far as its agricultural endeavor: the Central Arizona prison was built there in 1908, replacing the Territorial Prison in Yuma. Florence is a tourism gateway, with historic mining towns to the east and the Casa Grande Ruins and Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park nearby.

Programs

November 15 -  5:30 p.m.

Water/Ways Exhibition Special Preview “Our Water–Past and Present”
Pinal County Historical Society Museum
715 S. Main St.

The Pinal County Historical Society will host the Florence exhibit in conjunction with the Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibition. The museum will have a special preview of the local exhibit with artifacts and presentation boards focusing on "People, Places and Events" relating to water and Pinal County. David DeJong Ph.D. Author & Director of the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project and David Snider Chair, Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority & former Pinal County Supervisor each will give a brief presentation. Tickets $10. Limited Seating. Call 520-868-4382 to reserve seat and buy tickets.

Saturday, November 17 - 1:00 p.m.

Grand Opening of Water/Ways in Florence

McFarland State Historic Park, 24 W. Ruggles St.
Downtown Florence

The public is welcome to attend the Grand Opening of Water/Ways in Florence! The event will include remarks by local dignitaries and light refreshments. After experiencing the Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit, the public is invited to visit the Pinal County Historical Society Museum to view Florence’s local Water/Ways exhibit.

Friday, November 30 - 6:00 p.m.

Forced to Abandon Our Fields: The 1914 Charles Southworth Gila River Pima Interviews with Dr. David DeJong, Project Director, Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project

Florence Library and Community Center
778 North Main Street, Florence, AZ
(520)868-8311

The program will cover the period of the latter 19th and early 20th century, a critical time during which the economy of the Gila River Indian Community was decimated by upstream diversions from the Gila River. In 1914, Charles Southworth interviewed Pima elders who described these changes caused by upstream diversions and its impact on the economy of the Community. The program includes a brief modern history of events and recent efforts to restore the agricultural economy of the Community as exemplified by the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation District.

Saturday, December 1 - 1:00 p.m.

Water/Ways Movie Series 

Florence Library and Community Center
778 North Main Street, Florence, AZ
(520)868-8311

The library will feature a movie from the Water/Ways movie list. Contact the library for specific titles.

Wednesday, December 5 - 3:00 p.m.

Water in the Southwest: Where have we been, and where are we going? with Dr. Jennifer Richter, Arizona State University, School of Social Transformation and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Florence Library and Community Center
778 North Main Street, Florence, AZ
(520)868-8311

It has been said that, “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.” This is especially true of water politics in the American Southwest, a region defined by its lack of water. The massive 20th century federal investments into dam systems controlled the great rivers of the West, allowing cities like Phoenix to “bloom like a rose” and grow exponentially. As we work for our future in the 21st century, many questions arise. Where does our water come from? Who benefited from changing water politics? How did moving water systems from one place to another affect different communities, and how have those effects been recognized through treaties and policies governing water? And perhaps most importantly, in the face of a changing climate; how sustainable are our present-day water policies and infrastructure? Join us for an interesting FRANK Talk on water in the Southwest.

Saturday, December 8 - 1:00 p.m.

Water/Ways Movie Series 

Florence Library and Community Center
778 North Main Street, Florence, AZ
(520)868-8311

The library will feature a movie from the Water/Ways movie list. Contact the library for specific titles.

Friday, December 14 - 6:00 p.m.

Vision Realized: Ernest W. McFarland and the  Central Arizona Project with Joanna Brace, Curator, Arizona State Parks and Trails

Florence Library and Community Center
778 North Main Street, Florence, AZ
(520)868-8311

Known as “Mac,” Ernest McFarland had common sense and a common touch, but he was also a visionary. One of those visions was to bring water from the Colorado River to irrigate hundreds of thousands of acres in Central Arizona. It was a vision that had to overcome significant obstacles, but Mac had been preparing his entire life to lead the charge in the U.S. Senate. McFarland continued the fight as Arizona’s Governor in the 1950s until able to celebrate the passage of the Central Arizona Project bill in 1968. Today, water delivered by CAP impacts 80% of the state’s population, so remember to thank Mac the next time you turn on a tap.

Saturday, December 15 - 1:00 p.m.

Water/Ways Movie Series 

Florence Library and Community Center
778 North Main Street, Florence, AZ
(520)868-8311

The library will feature a movie from the Water/Ways movie list. Contact the library for specific titles.

Friday, December 21 - 6:00 p.m.

Prehistoric Water Management Along the Gila River; Dr. Douglas Craig; President, Friends of Casa Grande Ruins

Florence Library and Community Center
778 North Main Street, Florence, AZ
(520)868-8311

The past 20 years have seen archaeologists make great strides in their understanding of ancient Hohokam farming and water management practices. Hundreds of miles of prehistoric canals, capable of irrigating tens of thousands of acres of land, have now been documented across southern Arizona. One of the largest and most successful canal systems was located along the Gila River and was associated with Casa Grande Ruins and the nearby Grewe site. Dr. Craig will discuss the growth and development of the Casa Grande-Grewe community, focusing on the water management strategies that contributed to its long-term success.

Friday, January 11 - 5:30 p.m.

AZ H2O + Art with Jim Ballinger (*NEW*)

Florence Library and Community Center
778 North Main Street, Florence, AZ
(520)868-8311

Hoover Dam is an iconic marvel of American engineering. Created to manage the floodwaters of the Colorado River, the dam continues to affect Arizonans’ lives daily. But the Hoover dam is rarely thought of as a significant work of art. Since artists first visited our region, water has been a subject for their work, ranging from rivers and lakes to dams, agriculture and recreation. This program will explore works of art created over the past 150 years, and invite participants to discuss the various ways water is systemic to life in the Arizona deserts, mountains and the Colorado Plateau.

Community Partners

Arizona State Parks and Trails

The state parks system operates 35 park sites throughout Arizona and oversees or maintains numerous trails. Arizona State Parks conducts numerous community engagement and advocacy programs, from educational hikes to grants for trail projects.

Florence Library and Community Center

The library hosts a variety of programs, classes and contests to get residents excited for reading and help them learn more about local culture.

Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber connects people with the resources they need to grow their businesses and build community.

Pinal County Historical Society and Museum

For more than sixty years, the Society has operated a museum that celebrates community history and emphasizes the importance of water to the region.

Video Testing: Amerind Museum Storm (no sound)