The town of Payson, established in the early 1880s, has contributed to Arizona history in multiple ways, including being located near the well-known Pleasant Valley War waged from 1887 to 1892.
It also contributed to Arizona’s economy with a robust logging and cattle industry while billing itself as the “World’s Longest Continuous Rodeo” established in 1884.
Located almost in the geographic center of Arizona in the low, rolling, granite hills between the Mazatzal Mountains and Sierra Ancha Mountains, Payson has acquired the attribute, “the Heart of Arizona.”
Payson also served as a thriving mining center located in the mountainous area of northern Gila County, with the spectacular backdrop of the Mogollon Rim escarpment to the north, separating Arizona’s physiographic transition zone from the Colorado Plateau.
Mining gained prominence, attracting several hundred men during the last two decades of the 19th century with an estimated $400,000 worth of gold ore produced and treated by arrastras and a two-stamp custom mill. The ore is said to have run as high as $100 per ton in gold and silver.