By Matt Paulson | Pinal Central
Venture into any of the many areas of vast desert wilderness in Pinal County, and it’s easy to find locations where time seems to stand still.
Most area residents know the same can be accomplished by simply heading to downtown Florence.
The hands on the clock atop the second Pinal County Courthouse, now home to offices of county administrators, haven’t moved since the Victorian building was completed nearly 130 years ago. After spending $34,765 on construction, the county didn’t have the money to install a working clock, so facings were simply painted onto the cupola, and since February 1891, it has eternally been 11:44.
It seems appropriate that a faux clock is located on those grounds because in the years leading up to construction, time failed to have any effect on one of the buried residents on the site. In February 1890 when remains were being exhumed and moved from a cemetery there, one of the bodies was found to be mummified. The person was not positively identified, but according to county documents, “some traced a slight resemblance to Bill Fenton, a swamper for Dick Hastings’ freighting team, who died in the hospital several years ago. (The body) has sandy hair and beard, wore a gray wool shirt with a red necktie and blue overalls. The body was hard and the only evidence of decay was the absence of a portion of the nose.”