In 1999 the Historical Society participated for the first time in the statewide Archaeology Expo in Deer Valley near Phoenix. Serious note was taken of the large crowds that attended the Expo and their genuine interest in archaeology.
After returning from the Expo the Historical Society gave thoughtful consideration to the impact of having such an Expo in Payson. Members of the town council and staff were queried regarding the possibilities of the town being able to accommodate approximately 4,000 people coming up to the Rim country to enjoy an Archaeology Expo.
Their input was important to the Historical Society if we were to enter into the heavy competition to host this statewide Expo which was established 17 years ago by the State of Arizona through the State Historic Preservation Office. For your information, the Archaeology Expo has never been this far north in its entire history.
Though the sites for the Expo were already established several years ahead, the Historical Society continued to apply every year keeping Payson to the fore. The Society realized the educational and economic value of having such a statewide event.
Due to our consistency in pursuing Payson as a site proposal we were granted that designation in late August of last year. The timing for this Expo to Payson could not have been better. The Rim country due to drought, fires and general economic malaise has been deeply hurt.
The Expo is that first kick-off for 2003 which will provide an economic ‘shot in the arm' that is so much needed. The Expo, which expects an approximate attendance of 4,000-5,000 people, will be for the Rim country educationally and economically rewarding.
I would like to thank the town of Payson, the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Tonto Apache Tribe and the Rim Country Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society in your spirit of cooperation with the Historical Society to realize this event.
We have a tremendous asset in this community - that is the archaeology of this area, and a Historical Society that is dedicated to preserving, maintaining and properly presenting this unique, and regionally specific asset.
This Expo provides an outstanding opportunity to present the Rim country with pride and integrity throughout the State of Arizona and keep our visitors coming back.
Thank you to all that assisted the Historical Society in this tremendous undertaking. May we all enjoy a very successful Arizona Archaeology Expo.
Sharesse Von Strauss, Director, Northern Gila County Historical Society