FLORENCE – The pages may be somewhat faded, the type is very small and the people are long gone, but a set of documents, almost 100 years old, reveals life in Pinal County at the beginning of statehood.
This surprising find comes to the county via Apache Junction Mayor John Insalaco who presented the historical documents to Pinal County Board of Supervisors’ Chairman Pete Rios.
“Mayor Insalaco told me he received these documents from a contractor in Apache Junction,” Chairman Rios said. “The contractor was renovating a home in Florence when he came across them. They are in great shape after all this time.”
The five documents presented to Chairman Rios are entitled: ‘Report of The Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.’ The dates range from 1912 to 1916. The Clerk of the Board at the time was C. H. Niemeyer who had the documents printed by the Arizona-Blade Tribune in Florence.
“Basically, this is similar to an annual financial report,” Chairman Rios said. “The books list all assessments, indebtedness and value of property owned by the county at that time. It’s really a fascinating look into Pinal County when Arizona became a state.”
Peering through the pages that take you back almost one hundred years, the documents show a county that was growing thanks to agriculture, railroads and mining. A vast majority of the $5,172,215 of assessed valuation came from those occupations.
Chairman Rios was struck by some of the items that were assessed as valuable property in the county.
“It reports that Pinal County had 15 automobiles valued at $5,800 and two motorcycles valued at $125,” Rios said. “Horses, donkeys and other livestock were tallied also.”
The documents were handed over to Clerk of the Board Sheri Cluff who will store the reports in a vault. They will be placed in the 1891 Courthouse when the renovation is complete.
“It’s says here that our tax bill was $3.00 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation,” Chairman Rios said. “Today we are at $3.99. We’ve only gained a penny a year since these books were published.”
Some interesting facts from the documents:
• The Board of Supervisors in 1912: Thomas N. Willis, J.G. Keating and H.R. Wiggins.
• The opening introduction in the 1916 book reads: ‘PINAL COUNTY, although one of the smallest divisions of Arizona, is looked upon as one the coming counties, as nature was here particularly lavish of her favors.’
• Total valuation jumped to $25,231,432 in 1915.
• In 1914, the Board of Supervisors’ salaries added up to $3,058.34
Photo Caption: Clerk of the Board Sheri Cluff (L) looks over the old county reports with Chairman Pete Rios (C) and Administrative Specialist Diane Gardner (R).