Florence students attend school in the Marion-Florence Unified School District 408. Total enrollment for USD 408 as of 2015 is 550. Students can participate in a variety of activities including track, football and golf.
Florence is home to 447 (2013) residents. Florence enjoys a small community atmosphere. Florence sits south of intersecting highways US-77 and US-50, making for easy commutes to work or surrounding cities like McPherson, Wichita and Newton.
Highways US-77 and US-50 intersect just north of Florence. Newton is under 35 minutes away. McPherson and downtown Wichita are both under an hour from Florence.
Florence Local Attractions/Activities
The first thing to catch your eye when arriving at Florence, Kansas from the south or west will be the historic Water Tower. From there, after visiting the restaurants or the Harvey House Museum, there is more to explore at our City Springs and Hillcrest Cemetery. And be sure to do some souvenir shopping at the Mercantile before leaving town!
Another local interest is our Florence Memorial High School Alumni Association, which is the oldest operating in the state of Kansas. Every Memorial Day weekend we welcome the alumni to town for the annual banquet.
(Source- City of Florence-www.florenceks.com)
The Florence Town Company was a group of men who learned of the proposed route of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad who decided on a town site where the railroad would cross the Cottonwood River. The Florence Town Company, consisting of ex-Kansas Governor Samuel Crawford, James Riggs, A. S. Johnson, Enoch Chase and John Martin, was organized in 1870. The new town site was named Florence in honor of Samuel Crawford's daughter. The Florence town site was filed on December 4, 1870 in the NW 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of Section 7, Township 21, Range 5E and consisted of 42 blocks. It was bound on the east by the Cottonwood River and the south by the Doyle Creek. The AT&SF rail line cut across the southeast corner of the town site. The first lots in town were sold to B. Haywood, J. M. Steel, S. J. Crawford, C. W. Adams and L. P. Heritage. Haywood, Steel and Crawford bought as many as 50 lots each for resale to other settlers moving into the new town. The investment of these men was sound reasoning. For quite a while Florence would be the only town in Marion County with a railroad.
In early 1871, the blocks of the new town site were laid out and staked. Early Florence settlers had few comforts. Grocers set up shop in tents. The Bank was making loans and deposits in a shed while many families were still living in the wagons in which they rode in to town. Hotel accommodations were rugged with travelers staying in a room with two beds, three men to a bed. The only permanent house in the town at the time was a two-story house built by Mahlon Riggs.
When the AT&SF railroad arrived in Florence on May 11, 1871, the town of Florence began its rapid growth. Houses and businesses began appearing and the town began to take shape. More blocks were laid out and staked, and the addition of the Kimball and Barker areas were added in 1871 and 1872. The town of Florence was incorporated on June 12, 1872. The population continued to grow to its peak size in May 1921 of 2,000-3,000 people.
Florence was a leader in utilizing new inventions to improve the quality of life for its citizens. H. R. Snyder installed the first telephone in town between his home and his store. Because Alexander Graham Bell held the patent rights to the telephone, phone service in Florence and all of Marion County was very limited until the installation of a long distance telephone line in 1897.
Electricity in Florence was limited in its early stages until Florence built its own generating mill, which was owned and operated by P. D. Schriver, until it burned down in 1919. In 1920, Kansas Power and Light was granted the right to provide electrical service to Florence and continues to do so to this day.
The railroad line established by the AT&SF Railroad, which was the reason for Florence being established where it is, was the lifeblood of the town for many years.
Florence was the first town in Marion County to get railroad service and quickly became the rail center of Marion County. In 1886, there were 5 miles of side tracks within the city limits. The railroad established machine shops, a large depot and a roundhouse. During the 1890's as many as 8 passenger trains per day came through Florence.
Discovery of oil in the Florence area in the 1880's led to the first Florence's economic and population booms. A second oil boom in 1918 occurred when drillers found oil on the Hampson land about 5 miles south of town.
The largest of the wells drilled around town gave up 4,500 barrels per day. With this boom came the inevitable oil field workers and their families. A new school was built, and seeing that the current water supply was inadequate, the Crystal Springs city water system was built.