The Rim Country Museum is nestled among the green rolling hills and three lakes of the award winning Green Valley Park, which was developed around these historic structures.
The Rim Country Museum complex consists of the Oldest Forest Ranger Station and Residence still standing in the Southwest. Both structures were originally built in 1907 and then later re-built upon their original foundations around 1933.
The exhibit hall is a replica of the two-story 'Herron Hotel' known as the 'Hilton of Payson' in the early 1900's.
Additionally we have an approximately 1900 Haught cabin that was painstakingly moved to our grounds and were gifted the top of the Forest Service watchtower from Mt. Ord.
It wasn’t until the later 1300’s that a group of people migrated south to this area. These Athapaskan speaking people are called the Apache. They split into different groups and or bands. The Tonto Apache was the nomadic group who utilized this area. During your tour of this display you will learn about the ancient history of the Tonto Apache.
Payson’s Rodeo – The World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo – held quite a reputation among the early cowboys who said, “If you could cowboy in the Rim Country, you could cowboy anywhere in the world.” The rodeo had some of the roughest stock found anywhere and the result of all this is that the Payson Rodeo produced more than its share of champions. Take a historic walk down memory lane and revisit the champions, the rodeo queens, and all the stories that made the Payson Rodeo an event to remember.
People in Payson often stand in amazement at the majestic pines bowing their tops at the command of the wind. Or stop entranced, inhaling the fragrance as the wind waves the pine scent through the air. But few persons think of this land as lumber country. Yet, Payson is the home to the largest virgin ponderosa pine forest in the world. In 1951 the Owens Brothers Sawmill opened in Payson and supplied the region with many needed jobs. Explore the history of these early loggers and the hardships they faced as they battled the elements.
Due to the terrain in this country most of the ranches had their own blacksmith shop of “emergency” shoe repair. There was however, a blacksmith shop in Payson for the more intricate welding work required for various endeavors.
Gold was discovered about 1875 in the Payson area. Amongst the early mines was the Golden Wait, located by John Hook and William Burch and the Oxbow located by army scouts Al Sieber and William Moore. By 1881, over three hundred miners were employed in the district. In the early days, the surface ore was collected, hauled on burrows to the East Verde River, and painstakingly sifted through ounce by ounce. Over 200 claims were located within 25 miles of Payson.
The Pioneer Period in Payson brought many Mormon immigrants to the region. This picture shows the actual kitchen that was used by Agnes Ogilvie, a revered and respected pioneer woman.
Zane Grey was an American author best known for his popular adventure novels and stories that presented an idealized image of the rugged Old West. “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. Located next to The Rim Country Museum is the Zane Grey Museum…a must see when you come to Payson.