As Arizona governor in the late 1950s, Ernest McFarland made an unprecedented appearance before the special master of the U.S. Supreme Court to plead Arizona’s case for Colorado River water. It was another chapter in his long crusade to bring renewable water to parched central Arizona.

FLORENCE — Ernest McFarland is perhaps best remembered for his efforts on behalf of World War II-era soldiers and veterans. In Florence, his name continues to be familiar because of the state park that bears his name.

Fannin-McFarland Aqueduct

A portion of the Central Arizona Project canal known as the Fannin-McFarland Aqueduct flows north of downtown Florence. The late Sen. Ernest McFarland’s name on this feature acknowledges his efforts to bring renewable water to central Arizona.

McFarland State Park

McFarland State Park museum in Florence stands as a tribute to its namesake.


Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at

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