Payson is a town in northern Gila County Arizona. Its location puts it very near to the geographic center of Arizona. Payson has been called “The Heart of Arizona”. The town is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest and has many outdoor activities year round. As of the 2010 census, the population of Payson was 15,301.
Payson 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 Levi Joseph 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.