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Payson

Trip Planner USA  /  Arizona  /  Payson
(1,200+ reviews from 9 attractions)
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Payson is a town in northern Gila County, Arizona, United States. Its location puts it very near to the geographic center of Arizona. Payson has been called "The Heart of Arizona". The county seat is in Globe, AZ. The Payson police department executive director is the Arizona state coordinator of the 1033 program. The town is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest and has many outdoor activities year round.HistoryPayson considers its founding year as 1882, at which time it was known as Green Valley. On March 3, 1884, a post office was established with the help of Illinois Representative Lewis Edwin Payson. The first postmaster was Frank C. Hise. In honor of Representative Payson’s help, the town's name was changed to Payson.Payson had its first rodeo in 1884. Payson considers its rodeo the "world's oldest continuous" as it has been held every year since.In 1918 author Zane Grey made his first trip to the area surrounding Payson. He would come back with regularity through 1929, and would purchase two plots of land near Tonto Creek, including 120acre from Sampson Elam Boles under Myrtle Point. Grey wrote numerous books about the area and also filmed some movies, such as To the Last Man, in the Payson area in the 1920s.During Prohibition the manufacture, sale, and distribution of liquor was plentiful. The transactions took place on historic Bootleg Alley.
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