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HISTORY OF GILA COUNTY

The Code of the West was first chronicled by well-known resident, western writer Zane Grey. The men and women who moved west in the 1800s were bound by this unwritten code of conduct. Integrity and self-reliance guided their decisions and actions. As they moved west they were confronted by opposition, whether in the form of Native Americans who possessed the land or from the harsh wildernesses that were unforgiving on ill-prepared newcomers.  These lands were full of outlaws that were used to governing the territory with a stiff rope, a hanging tree, and a six-gun.  Pioneers and Ranchers settled in the high mountains and started time-honored traditions like the Annual World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo, which is still going strong today. 

 

America's ingenuity and the search for copper began in small mining towns like Globe, Miami, Hayden, and Winkelman. Cattle and sheep ranches sprung up all over the Tonto Basin creating competition for surrounding grazing rights.  Soon these conflicts boiled over into one of the bloodiest family feuds on the western frontier.   From this rugged, almost brutal landscape a place was born.  You may call it Gila County.  The families that lived it, called it...THE WILD WILD WEST! 

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GILA COUNTY HISTORY

Discover the history and heritage of this beautiful, rugged, and wild part of Arizona. Read the history of Gila County and how it was made. Take a walk down memory lane.

THE BIRTH OF RODEO

Held the first year in a small pasture at what is now the corner of historic Main St. and Highway 87 in Payson, AZ, the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo is still a big deal around these parts.  

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NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY

Thought to be one of the first people to domesticate the horse, the Apache people have called this area home for centuries.  Discover their stories.

MINING HISTORY

Copper was found in them their hills and to this day is still a rich resource for Gila County.  Discover the rich past of mining in Gila County.

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FAMOUS COWBOYS

Discover some of the roughest and infamous cowboys that roamed this territory. 

ZANE GREY HISTORY

Known as the father of the Western Novel, Zane Grey often visited Northern Gila County due to its abundance of game and tranquility.  He wrote many books that featured the area.

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FAMILY HISTORY

Read and listen to genealogical accounts of the early families that settled in this area and the hardships they faced as they battled the elements, and other circumstances.

PLEASANT VALLEY WAR

One of the Old West’s most notorious feuds occurred in remote Pleasant Valley, Arizona. The feud was so bad it held up Arizona's Statehood for years.

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MUSEUMS & HISTORICAL PLACES

Gila County's Museums are full of stories about the pioneers, cowboys, miners, loggers and Native Americans that called Gila County home.

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