A Short History of Payson, AZ

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The child sexual abuse lawyers of Payson are the presenters of today's article. Our legal team hopes to bring you more information about local towns in Arizona like Payson.

Brief History of Payson

Payson is a town within northern Gila County, Arizona. It is known as "The Heart of Arizona" due to its geographical location near the center of the state. In 1882, the area was founded as Green Valley. It wasn't until the establishment of a local post office on March 3, 1884, did the town change its name to Payson to honor Illinois Representative Levi Joseph Payson, who helped them create it. That same year, Payson hosted their first rodeo. Held every year in the town, it is considered the world's oldest continuous rodeo.

Before the 1930s, Payson was isolated from other neighborhoods and cities in the area. A trip from Phoenix to Payson took eight to 12 hours. During that decade and through the 1950s, works were done to create a better road that connected the town with the outside world. In 1958, Arizona State Route 87 was completed. A few years ago, it was expanded to four lanes. Today, Payson is served by AZ-87 (Beeline Highway and County Road 282) and AZ-260. As of the 2019 census, it has a population of 15,297 people.

Learn more about the Unincorporated Town of Tuba City, AZ.

Tonto National Forest

The town of Payson is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest. As the largest of the six national forests in Arizona and the fifth largest national forest in the U.S., it encompasses 2,873,200 acres. The forest is managed by the United States Forest Service and is the most visited "urban" forest in the U.S. It was established by the General Land Office on October 3, 1905, as the Tonto Forest Reserve. On March 4, 1907, it became a National Forest. Tonto National Forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife species like:

  • Colorado desert raccons
  • New Mexico black bears
  • Arizona skunks
  • Mearns coyotes
  • Bald eagles
  • Bobcats
  • Prairie falcons
  • greater roadrunners
  • Coues' white-tailed deer
  • Desert mule deer
  • Great blue herons
  • North American barn owls
  • American kestrels
  • Rocky Mountain elk
  • North American cougars

It also features six notable cold-water reservoirs and eight federally designated wilderness areas. The national forest is a great recreational space for bicycling, camping, climbing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, OHV riding, scenic driving, nature viewing, outdoor learning and picnicking. Several areas also offer water activities.

Rim County Museum and Zane Grey Cabin

Rim Country Museum is a local history museum beneath the Mogollon Rim on South Green Valley Parkway in Payson. Owned and managed by the Northern Gila County Historical Society (NGCHS), the 2-story museum covers the history of the area, including the Ancient Peoples, Apaches, ranching, rodeo, mining, and more. It features exhibits like the original Tonto Forest Ranger Station, a garage that houses Payson's first fire truck, "Old No. 1," and an original 1800s log cabin. The museum is also home to a famous replica cabin of author Zane Grey. The museum and cabin are open to the public Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tour prices for both museums are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for juniors 12 to 17 years of age, and free for NGCHS members, museum partners, Active Duty Military and children under 12.

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Contact our Payson child molestation attorneys if your child has been victimized by a predator. We can help you determine the best course of action you need to take in fighting for your child's and your family's justice. Call today for a free case evaluation.

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