The response to the dedication ceremony for the Zane Grey Cabin at Green Valley Park Saturday shows Rim Country's rich history is worth building on. The park was packed with well-wishers and history buffs.
With our history, those who built the replica of the cabin proved we can make the community a destination attraction. We don't need to lure someone from the outside to do it for us or pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for advice on how to bring more visitors to town. We can rely upon ourselves.
Before its destruction by the Dude Fire, the original cabin attracted 20,000 visitors a year.
The famous novelist's cabin was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Grey, who penned more than 60 Westerns, spent each fall at the cabin during the 1920s. He set 24 of his books in Arizona and half of those in the Rim Country. Among the novelist's works are "Riders of the Purple Sage," "Call of the Canyon," "To the Last Man," "Vanishing American" and "Wildfire."
The novels drew color from the Rim Country and those who built the communities in which we live.
As a result of the project, tribute was paid to Zane Grey and Rim Country pioneers through the efforts of Dick and Marilyn Wolfe and those volunteers who contributed funds and labor.
As stated in a letter to the editor in today's paper, these volunteers also created a legacy for the future of the community.
Others contributing to the cabin project in one way or another include Marshall Trimble, state historian; Bill Furman, a Valley management consultant who coordinated the cabin project; the Payson High School building trades class. Professionals from the building industry contributed their expertise, as did artist Donn Morris.
This "can do" attitude reaches back into the community's history. Residents came together to help one another build their homes and outbuildings. The Payson Womans Club and Junior Womans Club helped get the community a health clinic more than 50 years ago that has since become the Payson Regional Medical Center. Volunteers on the Payson school board have worked to improve education throughout the years.
Volunteers have built the Tonto Community Concert Association, the Payson Art League and the Northern Gila County Historical Society into forces to be reckoned with -- organizations that get things done and add to our quality of life.
Look at the history of the Rim Country -- there are easily hundreds of stories that could be used as a foundation for future attractions. Let's put our heads together and explore the possibilities.