As the frontier expanded west in the mid 1800s the White Mountains, of now Arizona, were ideal for a fort to be built and homesteads to be created. In 1869 the outpost at Camp Mogollon [later to be called Camp Apache, and then Fort Apache] was established. One of the scouts hired to help the fort was a man named Corydon Cooley. Corydon married two of the White Mountain Apache chief’s daughters, which managed to keep the peace during the late 1800’s. In 1879 the first of many Mormon settlers arrived.
In 1885 Johnny Phipps had a homestead and saloon/store in what is now Pinetop. William Penrod and his wife and 14 children moved near Johnny's place and soon after it became a settlement. When Phipps died, Walt Rigney took over the saloon and store. A lot of business came from Fort Apache and the soldiers there had given Walt Rigney the name of Old Pinetop. Thus comes the town name of Pinetop. By 1891 Pinetop was a growing community with a post office, telegraph, lumber mill, stores and a saloon.
The sheep herders and cattleman began their grazing of the White Mountain area in the 1880s and the cattlemen were driven out of business by the turn of the century because of drought and blizzard. The sheep herders stayed around till the 1920s.
The first establishment in Lakeside was a store run by Billy Scorse, an Englishman in the 1890s. Billy Scorse owned 40 acres along the creek and soon after the creek was named after him, Billy Creek. The 1890s saw development of orchards and farms in the area. Rainbow Lake was developed just after the turn of the century out of necessity. The winter of 1903-04 was the driest ever and was followed by the wettest one ever. Soon after Niels Hansen decided where to build the dam and constructed irrigation ditches that are still used today. It is said that in the year 1906 six men sat at the south end of Niels Hansen’s barn and named the town Lakeside. My guess is that because they were near Rainbow Lake [which they had built] they named it Lakeside.
From the turn of the century till the 1930s Pinetop and Lakeside remained very rural with abundant wildlife and wide open ranges.
The development of the White Mountains can be attributed to the Lumber Mill in McNary first built in 1916. The first owner of the mill was a man named Tom Pollack, a flagstaff businessman who named the town Cooley. W.M. Cady and James G. McNary, co-owners of a Louisiana lumber company became the new owners. Shortly after, the town was renamed McNary. In his memoirs, James McNary wrote “Cady could not visualize a lumber operation without the employment of black labor, and he decided to import about 500 of the most experienced and faithful [black Louisiana] employees to Arizona.” By 1924, the “promise of steady work, good living conditions, and great weather,” lured seven hundred hopeful black migrants to McNary Arizona. The town developed and created a central park, large store and the only Hospital in the White Mountains. Southwest Industries purchased the mill sometime in the 40’s. In 1979 there was a huge fire at the mill and it was closed soon after for good.
To log the White Mountains they built a series of railways throughout the mountains. The logs were cut loaded on rail cars and then transported to the lake in McNary. Then they were milled and railed to where ever they needed to go.
In the early 1950’s an idea of a golf course in the forest began to be developed by Southwest Industries. In 1954 the Forest Service approved the purchase of some land that had been used as a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp. White Mountain Summer Homes and White Mountain Country Club were developed from this purchase.
In 1960 Southwest Industries completed a land exchange for 1,196 acres in Pinetop where they were going to build a new mill but changed their mind and sold the property to Bob Fernandes, Glen Jones and Frank Crosby. In 1965 Pinetop Country Club was developed and the golf Mecca of the White Mountains was further developed.
In 1979 I moved here with my wife Joyce and we have raised our three children here in one of the best places in America.
In 1984 the two towns were incorporated and they are now the town of Pinetop-Lakeside. But, most of the residents who have lived here awhile still refer to the towns separately. You live in Lakeside and I live in Pinetop. To this day we still have a Lakeside post office and a Pinetop post office.
This information was compiled from several different sources which are listed below. If you have added information or pictures please email them to email@example.com
Author - Matthew Whitaker, Title “McNary Arizona”, Copyright 2007, owner - Quintard Taylor, Date Accessed-3-3-08
Author - Jo Baeza, Title “1885-1985 The first 100 years”, owner - White Mountain Online, Date Accessed-3-3-08
Author - Unknown, Title “Pinetop Country Club”, owner - Americantowns, Date Accessed-3-3-08
Author- White Mountain Country Club, Title “White Mountain Country Club”, owner - White Mountain Country Club, Date Accessed-3-3-08