Pinal County, AZ

By Michael Liddy on August 19th, 2008

History of Pinal County

pinal-county-300x225In 1871, the Territorial Legislature designated 5,324 miles of some of Arizona’s prime land as Pinal County.
Pinal County was formed out of portions of Maricopa and Pima Counties on February 1, 1875. Florence, Arizona was established in 1866, was designated as, and has remained, the County seat. Arizona became a state in 1912. It has flown the flags of Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy and the Union.

It derives its name from the Pinal Apaches or “pine groves in the mountains.”

There are four Indian Nations - the Maricopa-Pima (Ak-Chin), Gila River, Tohono O’Odham and San Carlos Apache in Pinal County. They occupy twenty-three percent of the county.

This area which housed America’s first civilization, the capitol of the Toltecs, the Walled Cities of the Aztecs, the father of American irrigation, and the friendly Pima Indians now has vast farming areas and grows such things as cotton, vegetables, and fruit. A lot of migrant workers made their homes in Pinal County. Also, Pinal County had a lot of copper mining but most of the mines have closed now. These mines brought in a lot of workers in the early 1920’s.
The Arboretum founded by the late William Boyce Thompson is unexcelled in its collection of desert and cacti floral gathered from all parts of the world. The mighty mysterious Superstition Mountains with the tales of the Lost Dutchman Mine, the Apache Trail, Coolidge Dam, Box Canyon, Pinal County’s baby Grand Canyon, Table Top Mountain area, The Iron Door, a famed mine, the cabin and mine being the workings of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, and the caverns of Oracle Cave.
Picacho Peak State Park (25 miles south of Casa Grande on I-10) - site of the only Civil War battle fought in Arizona. On April 15, 1862, 12 Union soldiers defeated 17 Confederate soldiers.

pinal-county-map-300x186Florence (County Seat) - one of AZ’s oldest towns, founded 1866 by Levi Ruggles, named by Territorial governor Richard McCormick after his sister, Florence.

Eloy - founded in 1919 as a farming community.

Superior - founded 1880s, prior to 1900 known as Hastings.

Silver King Mine - southwest of Superior, incorporated in 1877, produced $6 million dollars in silver by 1888 (richest silver mine in AZ).

San Manuel - main employer Magma Copper Co.

Coolidge - settled in 1926 after Coolidge Dam was authorized on the upper Gila River named for President Calvin Coolidge (who had signed the bill for the dam. [1]


For an interesting overview of “haunted” areas within Pinal County check out this link: