‘Payson’ Book An Insightful Picture History


Jinx Pyle and Jayne Peace Pyle’s latest book, “Payson,” provides a wonderful pictorial look at the area. This is published by Arcadia Publishing and is one of many in their Images of America series that is widely distributed around Arizona and the rest of the country.

According to the Pyles, friend and state historian Marshall Trimble pushed them to do this book to help get a little bit better recognition than what sometimes comes about via a smaller publishing house like they have. Trimble also has done a book in the Images of America series on his hometown of Ash Fork, Ariz.

The book features 10 chapters, all loaded with pictures. There is a chapter on the Tonto Natural Bridge. The picture on page 84 of David Goodfellow is particularly neat, looking more like something shot on a Hollywood set than in Rim Country — it’s that good of a photo. Goodfellow patented the land around the bridge and was the nephew of modern bridge discoverer Davey Gowan. The Pyles got many of the photos in their Tonto Natural Bridge chapter from Anna Mae Deming, whose house the nonprofit that they lead, the Arizona Heritage Research Foundation, now owns on Main Street.

Another group of photos that are spread throughout the book are from Ella Lee Owens. These photos are of the various sawmills in the area that the Owens family had at various times, including where Sawmill Theatres are now located. Logging has always been a significant part of life in Rim Country with local sawmills providing the wood for many houses built in Payson and the surrounding area.

This book also has a number of photos of so many of the people who helped make this area what it is. Bill Boardman, Andy Ogilvie, Edd Haught, Frank Herron and Howard Childers are just a few of the many people pictured in this book.

The book is available at a number of retailers around the state for $21.99. Locally it can be found at the Pyles’ Git-A-Rope Trading Post located in the Womans Club building on Main Street. There is also a collection of postcards that retail separately for $7.99.


Another more recent book is Jinx’s “Pleasant Valley War.” This is a topic that people often ask me about since I live near Christopher Creek and really at this point it’s lost its luster a little bit to me because I feel like I know what happened — and that’s thanks to Jinx. This book builds on the fine work that Don Dedera previously did with his book “A Little War of Our Own: The Pleasant Valley Feud.” I’ve heard Jinx personally tell what he thinks really happened and it is fascinating. This book contains that information along with a number of sketches done by a local artist. According to GitARope.com, Arizona State Historian Marshall Trimble has said that this book will be the definitive work on the Pleasant Valley War.

Even with a crowded field of books on this topic including Dedera’s and some recent works by Leland Hanchett, I tend to agree with that assessment.


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