Payson Arizona History

Sports Rodeo was born in Payson in 1884 and has not missed a year since, and the tradition has continued over the years. Pro Rodeso of P Grayson, Arizona, has been held in the same place for more than 100 years and has contributed to Arizona's economy by calling itself the "World's Longest Continuous Rodingo," founded in 1884. The "Payson RODEO" is still one of the largest and most successful rodeo events in Arizona and a tradition that will continue into the year and beyond.

Payson also serves as a thriving mining center located on the cliff face of Mogollon in the north that separates Arizona's transition zone from the Colorado Plateau. The plateau, which crosses all four states, is the steepest slope that crosses large parts of Arizona. State Route 87, the Beeline Highway, runs 140 km southwest of Phoenix to Phoenix. A 4-mile detour leads to a hiking trail that reaches several historic and scenic trails.

The original Payson School House, built in 1884, a year after the city was founded, is also on view. It is still the oldest school building in Arizona and is still open for guided tours from May to mid-October.

Apart from some graffiti at the entrance, it still looks exactly like the Arizona Mineral Belt Crew's departure in 1883. Payson and the rodeo town around it remained a well-kept secret outside the region even in the 1950s. Historians from other states have never brought the small mountain town to light, and when they do, they have largely ignored it.

Payson is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest, and ninety-seven percent of it is under the jurisdiction of the United States Forest Service. Today, it is home to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Arizona Department of Natural Resources (AZDNR) and serves as an operating base for contracted communities, visitors and businesses in the region.

Before the white man entered the area, it was inhabited by Sioux, Cherokee, and Iroquois, and the Mugollons occupied the region for centuries. Around 1500 AD two new Indian tribes, the Kiowa and the Comanche, were admitted to the periphery. Although they shared the territory with the southern plains, the American Indians from the northwest and southeast were restricted to the Indian territory in what is now Oklahoma.

Gadsden's purchase led to the creation of what would become Green Valley and later Payson, but America's expansion did not end there. The Mogollons faded as the Apaches arrived in the Arizona periphery, and they were here when the Spanish conquistadors passed through. They were still here in the mid-19th century, when Union troops arrived to protect the region from Confederate invasion of Arizona.

Southern Arizona, meanwhile, was even more populated, and this isolated desert mining boom town was home to some of the richest silver and copper veins in the world.

Ranchers and miners were not the first to recognize the attributes of the area, but the Indians had lived there for thousands of years. It was all the more interesting that the rodeo started at the beginning of the 19th century, just a few years after the mining boom.

Raymond Cline remembers that the newly built Bush Highway took 12 hours and the drive from Flagstaff to Payson took the same amount of time as from Phoenix. But even before cars were in use, the drive from P Grayson to Phoenix and Flagstone took a day or more, but even then it was very isolated and lasted eight to twelve hours. The quickest way between Ponsonson and Phoenix was to take the Apache Trail to Roosevelt, cross the Roosevelt Dam and drive north into the basin.

George was an accomplished rope player and won the title of Arizona Calf Tying Champion at the Payson Rodeo in 1916. He became a member of the Gila County Sheriff's Posse at a time when hard riding and lots of sweat meant a lot of time in the saddle and even more time on his horse. In 1916 he competed in a rope team with his brother-in-law George Cline and his son Raymond.

Once called Green Valley, the city was renamed Payson to help residents purchase federal mail. Although there were other green valleys in Arizona, it was named after the representative who founded it because of its proximity to the Arizona-New Mexico border. The city of Green Valley was also renamed "Payson," in honor of George P. Cline and his brother-in-law Raymond.

Payson's Lee Barkdoll (1902 - 1938) was from Bisbee, Arizona, but moved to the area as a teenager.

His whereabouts are unknown, but he eventually turned up in the Arizona mountains. He was a member of the Payson Historical Society and the Arizona State Historical Association and actively participated in their annual meetings.

The Arizona Charlie family came to Payson in 1877, where they established a homestead at Diamond Valley Ranch. Star Valley was named after the old John Starr, who moved from Oregon to Arizona with his Native American wife in 1877.

More About Payson

More About Payson