The town of Star Valley is located in Northern Gila County and contains 36 square miles of land within its incorporated boundaries, whereas the community’s planning area contains about 100 square miles. Currently, both public and private lands are included. Star Valley’s elevation is approximately 5,150 feet and is nearly surrounded by the Tonto National Forest. The Town is located south of the Mogollon
Rim and north of the Sonoran Desert, which comprises a portion of central and southern Gila County. Immediately west of the community is the incorporated Town of Payson.
The earliest inhabitants of the northern region of Gila County are believed to have arrived here around ten thousand years ago. Mogollon culture eventually moved into the region from the east about 300 B.C. followed by the Anasazi from the north and the Hohokam from the south. It is estimated that about 1,000 sites in the Star Valley area were inhabited over the time period from 600 and 1200 A.D. The Mogollons generally lived in villages, hunted, and grew various crops in gardens. Eventually, by about 1500 A.D., the Mogollon culture had been absorbed into other tribes living in the area.One group, who lived in the area and known as the “Ancient Ones”, had a protrusion on the back on their heads referred to as an occipital bun. According to Penny Minturn, who is the advising archaeologist for the Northern Gila County Historical Society, this made them unique from the other prehistoric people who had lived in the area including the Anasazi, Mogollon, Salado, Sinagua, and Hohokam.Once the Mogollon culture disappeared, the Apaches came onto the scene. The Apache culture emphasized hunting more than gardening and were, therefore, more nomadic in nature. The Tonto Apache tribe still maintains a reservation near Star Valley, just to the south of Payson.February of 1863 saw the establishment of the Arizona Territory, but it would not be until 1876 when the area would see its first white settler. By 1878, a few miners were working the nearby hills and more settlers began to migrate to the area. Cattle ranches were also being established at this time. The miners and military were responsible for the early development of roads into the region.The last major battle between the United States military and the Apaches occurred north of Star Valley and just into the southern portion of Coconino County. The engagement is referred to as the Battle of Big Dry Wash and took place in 1882.
Area residents have participated in this country’s major conflicts since World War I. In more recent times, Star Valley became an active participant in the Cold War when a seismological observatory was constructed east of Town on forest service land (Circa 1963). The purpose of this facility was to monitor underground nuclear testing by the Soviets and Chinese. The site is no longer operational and has been abandoned.
Ronnie O. McDaniel
MayorJudge Ronnie McDaniel is currently serving as the Mayor of Star Valley through the elections of 2014. This is the second time Mr. McDaniel has served in this position, as he was appointed the first Mayor of Star Valley… Read more.
Vice-MayorI was born in Sonora, California. After graduating from high school I served in the US Navy Seabees. I moved to Payson in 1978 where I met and married my wife, Becky, who is a native of Payson… Read more.
Council MemberGary Coon and his wife, Norene, moved to Star Valley in 1997 after retiring from a 37 year career with General Motors…
Council MemberAndy McKinney came to Rim Country almost exactly at the time when Star Valley became an official town in Arizona…
Council MemberBobby Davis, AZED Pro, serves as the Economic Development Specialist for the Town of Payson…
Council MemberI am a long-term resident of Star Valley, having resided her both pre-incorporation and post. I am familiar with some of …
Town Manager/AttorneyThe Town Manager/Attorney works closely with the Town Council to define and accomplish strategic goals and objectives…
Asst. Town Manager / Finance DepartmentI am originally from South East Arizona where I was raised with a family ranching…
Water OperatorRobert Rippy was born in Illinois, but the family moved to Phoenix, Arizona when he was 5 years old…
Town ClerkI was born and raised in “The Crown City” of Coronado, California. Coronado is home to the famous Hotel del Coronado….