Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Florida “Flora” Gilardi was born April 18, 1908, at Maxton, Arizona Territory, near the Senator Mine, on a cold snowy day. Her mother, Margherita Mariani Gilardi, related that snow was coming through the cracks in the cabin, falling on her chest as she was in labor. Flora’s father Eliseo was working at the Senator Mine.

On October 25, 1924, at the age of 16, she married Giovanni “Bob” Battista Fornara in a double-ring ceremony with her sister, Leonita and Constantino Savoini, in Prescott. Flora and Bob lived in Cottonwood AZ after their marriage. Their sons, Charles Albert, Louis John and George David, were born in the Verde Valley.

Bob bought part of the Verde District Dairy. In the 1930s, Flora was suffering from severe asthma and allergies, aggravated by the smoke and fumes from the Clarkdale smelter. The decision was made to move to Prescott where the air was cleaner.

Flora and the children moved to Prescott in 1939 with some of the other family members. She lived in her mother’s house on South Cortez Street while Bob stayed for a couple years in the Verde Valley to sell his property. The family owned the Sanders Dairy in Prescott before they bought the Neumand property on Hassayampa Trail (now White Spar Road). There the “Big House” was built, and they all moved in on July 4, 1941.

Flora and Leonita spent their days cleaning the Big House and preparing meals for the family of 14, six adults and eight children. Four households had been combined. Cleaning this house meant flipping mattresses every week, washing clothes for 14, hanging them on the line to dry and ironing everything. The parquet floor had to be polished on hands and knees. Each dish had to be washed and scalded in hot water. Everyone had responsibilities; they all worked hard.

Flora was an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Sacred Heart Altar Society and Catholic daughters. She was a member of the Republican Women of Prescott.

Flora died in 1998. She was buried beside her husband in the family plot at Mountain View Cemetery. Surviving are her three sons and nine grandchildren.

Flora’s mother, Margherita Mariani Gilardi, and her sisters, Elvezia Gilardi Fornara and Leonita Gilardi Savoini, are also commemorated in the Memorial Rose Garden

Donor: niece, Anna Mary Fornara Olsen
June 2006

Additional documentation and photographs may be available in the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives and Library.