Before General Miles launched the last campaign against the Apache tribe from the square in front of Florence's Catholic Church in 1886.... before the shoot-out at the OK corral in 1881.... before
Tombstone was founded in 1879.... the Silver King Hotel provided comfort to weary travelers who braved the dangerous roads of the territory.
By 1876, the Silver King Hotel had opened its doors for business. Newspaper advertisements boasted of the finest dining, ballroom, and saloon in what is now Central Arizona. We know from historical accounts that the original register contained the names of governors, gunfighters, and film stars.
Originally the hotel was a mirror image of the adobe-walled E.N. Fish Store and Wells Fargo office across the street (now the American Legion). In the mid-1880's part of the original structure burned down. That portion was replaced by a two-story brick addition. The original wing rooms built in 1875 remain.
This building has been rated by Professor Harris Sobin of the University of Arizona as "architecturally and contextually irreplaceable". It was in continuous operation until 1977.
Since then, the condition of the building has deteriorated. For four years this property has been on the Arizona Preservation Foundation's Most Endangered List.
On July 4, 1993 the Florence Preservation Foundation (FPF) was formed to restore the hotel. Arizona Heritage Fund grants totaling $211,000 will allow the FPF to acquire the buildings, complete architectural surveys, and begin the restoration. The FPF must raise $80,800 of matching money to complete this work. An ISTEA grant for $500,000 will be used to return much of the complex to commercial use as an historic hotel and restaurant. The FPF must raise $125,000 in matching funds to use this ISTEA grant. The cost to complete the entire project has been estimated at $4 million. Donations will be used as matching money for grants. Any profits from the sale, leasing, or operation of the property will be used by the FPF to further additional restoration/preservation projects in Florence.