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Contributed by Pinetop-Lakeside Historical Society
The Oral Histories of Pinetop-Lakeside, McNary and Whiteriver project captures the cultural history of SE Navajo County from before Arizona's statehood to the turn of the 21st Century. Each of their achievements helped make Arizona the great state it has become.
Among the interviews are descendants of the White Mountain Apache scouts whose origins date back to circa 1300's, the progeny of Mormons farmers, the freighters, the sheep and cattle ranchers, and others who supplied produce and comforts to Fort Apache in the 1870-early 1900s.
These oral histories also witness the rise and decline of the timber industry in the early to mid-1900s, when the sawmill town of McNary was the socio-economic heart of the White Mountains, supplying jobs for the loggers and sawyers, the Apache Railroad, medical care and a vibrant community spirit.
And finally, representing mid-to-late 20th Century, are the local merchants and business owners, those early leaders who took up the economic baton from the waning timber industry, whose vision stabilized the community in transition toward becoming its present-day seasonal tourist destination, until the big chain stores arrived to swallow them up. It was their foresight and devotion to community that protected the wetlands, built the trails, provided the hospital, established Blue Ridge School District and Northern Pioneer College and helped incorporate the town of Pinetop-Lakeside.