HISTORY OF GREER
Rough, frontier roads and the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad brought hardy pioneering families to the northern Arizona Territory in the early 1880s. Settlers the likes of Amberian Englevason, Americus Vespucious Greer, and Ellis Whitney Wiltbank arrived in this lovely but remote mountain valley to build homes, establish farms, and build a saw mill where the East and West forks of the Little Colorado River meet.
Originally known as Lee Valley, the village of Greer got its first one-room schoolhouse in 1897 and a post office a year later. Throughout the years to follow the picturesque White Mountain outpost of Greer attracted many high profile guests including legendary movie star John Wayne, western novelists Zane Grey and James Willard Schultz, engineer and writer Stewart Edward White, author Mary Roberts Rinehart, and Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover. In fact, during his stay President Hoover gifted local Molly Butler—known affectionately as the “Grandmother of Greer”— with the White House Cookbook from which she derived her now famous Prime Rib recipe.
Tourism continued to flourish in Greer as locals served up mouthwatering vittles, offered comfortable rooms and cabins for visitors, and shared their love and knowledge of the land, wildlife, and livestock. Together they helped city folks unwind in the cool mountain air and enjoy all that Greer offers (then and now)– hiking to the top of Mt. Baldy, horseback riding through the pines and aspens, fishing on the Little Colorado River, swimming in the lakes, stargazing, throwing horseshoes, skiing, sledding, snuggling by the fire, or shopping at local antique and gift shops.
Slowly the modern world found its way to this small mountain village. Electricity reached Greer in the 1950s, and over the years other modern “amenities”—like telephones, a sewer system, a fire department and paved highways—eventually followed, making life easier for the village’s 170 full time residents. Satellite TV and Internet service created greater connectivity with the outside world, but the things that people love most about Greer—the natural beauty, the community spirit, and laidback pace—happily remain to this day.
The road into Greer still ends at Government Springs, where residents and visitors alike set out on hiking trails or drop a line in the river to catch trout.
There are no chain stores or restaurants, only charming locally-owned shops and award-winning mom and pop eateries and historic dining establishments serving hearty, mouthwatering frontier cuisine.
Folks from Phoenix and Tucson come back every summer to escape triple digit temps and play in the great outdoors. Nature lovers, photographers, hunters, and skiers return faithfully year after year to play and test their skills amidst a backdrop of stunning fall foliage and winter wonderland.
THIS HISTORY OF GREER IS BASED UPON INFORMATION GLEANED FROM THE BOOK “MEMORIES FROM GREER”, WHICH CAN BE PURCHASED AT THE BUTTERFLY LODGE M– USEUM GIFT STORE IN GREER, AZ.