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 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.
There have been numerous floods during the early history of Florence. In June and July 1951, due to heavy rains, rivers and streams flooded numerous cities in Kansas, including Florence. Many reservoirs and levees were built in Kansas as part of a response to the Great Flood of 1951. From 1964 to 1968, the Marion Reservoir was constructed north-west of Marion. Downstream from the Marion Reservoir, levees were built in low-lying areas of Marion and Florence.