Florence: POW Camp
Just north of Florence was located a huge prisoner of war camp for German and Italian detainees seized during the North Africa movement and called, “Camp Florence”. This World War II site was built in 1942-43 and is the biggest prisoner of war complex ever built on American land. Thousands of POW’s were held in this 5 acre compound which had a barracks, a hospital, a bakery, a swimming pool, athletic fields, and a few theaters. The men even earned money by performing different tasks within the camp.
Camp Florence had around 13,000 prisoners by December of 1945. In 1946 it was deemed a "surplus" and in 1948 it became a state hospital and incarceration center for first time criminals. They moved most of the POW quarters to Queen Creek, AZ and used them for elementary schoolrooms. Today it stands as a location for the Florence Public Health Service Clinic, serving the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).