From remote picturesque back roads to stories about outlaws and their hideouts, Payson is the central gateway to some of the more entertaining interpretive centers in Arizona. Payson offers access to an overwhelmingly beautiful, outdoor recreation area, (The Mogollon Rim) coupled with an authentic western heritage that is deeply rooted in stories about Cowboys, Native Americans, and Pioneers.
Visitors that come to Payson can enjoy the opportunity of exploring the fabric of America's past. You will be introduced to the people, places, and events that helped make our nation what it is today! The pages below will introduce you to some of these people and places, but to fully experience them…well you can only do that in person!
Who thought feeding fish could be so much fun? The fish hatchery is just off Highway 260 on the way to Christopher Creek. For a few quarters, you can feed the fish while learning about the life cycle of the trout. For more information, click here.
Houston Mesa Road, just north of Payson on Highway 87 takes you past several small communities as well as the East Verde River. Shoofly Indian Ruins located a few miles down the road will take you back thousands of years. For more information,click here.
The Battle of Big Dry Wash was the last battle fought between the Apaches and army regulars. It was also one of the few times that army soldiers fought and bested Apaches in actual battle but this was mainly because, as one historian noted, "it was one of the few instances in which Apaches allowed themselves to be drawn into conventional battle." For more information, click here.
“My beloved Arizona" was the term of endearment Zane Grey bestowed upon this state. Its history and people inspired his western novels. Its game and landscape impassioned his zeal for the wild and its rugged natural beauty stirred his introspective soul. He wrote 13 novels about the "Rim Country" and often hunted in its forests and fished in the lakes that surround Payson. For more information, click here.
This self guided tour through Payson Cemetery will leave you with a sense of understanding for those who lived in and loved this land. The cemetery formed in 1882 with the burial of two members of the Meadows' family, who were killed by Apaches. Much of the local history is represented by the pioneer families buried here. In the springtime, the cemetery is ablaze with wild flowers. For more information, click here.
The Oldest Standing Schoolhouse in Arizona is the Strawberry Schoolhouse. The year was 1884. The families living in the Strawberry Valley, Yavapai County, in Arizona Territory petitioned the County School Superintendent to establish a school. The petition was granted and District #33 in the Strawberry Valley was established. For more information, click here.