President William McKinley visits in May, 1901.
Former President Theodore Roosevelt visited in 1910.
The Federal Courthouse was built in 1913 and housed the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, the U.S. Post Office, and other federal offices. It was built on the former site of the Florence Synodical Female College.
The Mayor and Alderman form of government was changed by an election held August 31, 1914 when the citizens adopted the Commission form of government.
Presidential family member Margaret Wilson was scheduled to visit the area as part of a benefit concert to support the Red Cross, in May 1917.
For unparalleled bravery on the battlefield in France during World War I, Corporal Homer Givens was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French government which hailed him as the war’s first American hero. Givens has been elected to the Florence City Walk of Honor.
Commander of the Hawk, the fastest U.S. ship in the Spanish-American War, Rear Admiral John Hood then commanded the Fourth Division of the Atlantic Fleet in World War I. The USS John Hood (DD-655) was named for him. Hood has been elected to the Florence City Walk of Honor.
Vice President and Mrs. Thomas R. Marshall visit the area in March, 1917.
Presidential family member Eleanor Roosevelt visited the area in November, 1917.
The Centennial Proclamation and Address given by Mayor M.M. Striplin on July 1918:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
To be the mayor of any city when it is celebrating its Centennial is a rare privilege. To be the Mayor of Florence at any time, especially now, is a great and unusual honor.
Even if the world’s war is raging, and while we all recognize the necessity of devoting our whole energies to winning the war, we must not overlook the fact that our daily American life must be maintained, our civic institutions as far as possible ordered and our home fires kept burning.
It is fitting, therefore, that we observe with a celebration the passing of this milestone which marks one hundred years in the life of this favored city. Today and tomorrow and the next day we shall give thought to the history of this community and to the men and women whose lives were a part of it.
The history of Florence is an essential part of the life of Alabama and of the Southland. Its glorious past now becomes the foundation for its more glorious future.
M.M. Striplin, Mayor, Attest: R.W. Watts, City Clerk
Following is a poem written and set to music as male quartette by W.C. Frye, manger of Frye’s Quintette, in honor of the Florence Centennial. Published in The Florence Times, August 9, 1918:
Blooming flowers, birds and trees, Melting ‘fumes and southern breeze, Shady lawns for love and home, ‘Neath thy Dazzling sunny dome. O! I reverence thy name; Wooded hills of priceless fame, Alabama’s sweetest claim; Darling Florence, Florence mine.
Dear old Florence silently, Peeps into the soul’s recess; And the fertile seed there sown, Grow and blossom into bliss.
O’er the beaten Indian trail, Spreads the heart of Lauderdale. Homes and schools and lofty spires, Mark the work of cultured sires; And thy present human power, Lifts thee up, a mighty tower. Peerless city of the hour, Florence, Florence, Florence mine.
Dear old Florence, shining star, Home of peace and love and lore, May thy motto ever be, Brighter, brighter, evermore.
Women were given the right to vote in 1920.
Article from the Florence Times, Friday, October 22, 1920, pp.1.
Article from the Florence Herald, Thursday, Oct. 28, 1920, pp.1.
Former President William Howard Taft visited in 1921.
In 1928, Oscar S. DePriest, son of former slaves, became the first 20th Century African-American Congressman from the north. He is credited with the Anti-discrimination Amendment to the 1933 Civilian Conservation Corps Bill. DePriest has been elected to the Florence City Walk of Honor.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt visits the area in 1933, 1934, and 1936.
Mayors of the City of Florence from 1900-1949:
1897-1901 John Bedford Weakley, Jr.
1901-1910 Andrew E. Walker
1910-1912 Cyrus W. Ashcraft
1912-1914 N.P. Morrison*
1914-1918 M.M. Striplin, Sr.
1919-1920 Will S. Eastep
1920-1921 Delos H. Bacon
1922-1931 Will S. Eastep
1931-1936 Robert Lee Glenn
1936-1942 William I. Collier
1942-1948 Ellie F. Martin
1948-1951 E.F. Yielding
* Son of Zebulon P. Morrison
Governor from Florence/Lauderdale County from 1900-1949:
1911-1915 Emmet O’Neal, son of Edward Asbury O’Neal, serves as Governor
National and International Appointments from Florence/Lauderdale County from 1900-1949:
1943-47 Robert M. Hill serves as a member of the Army Specialists Corps, Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories (AMGOT), in Europe after World War II.