By Naomi Hatch
The Town of Taylor will celebrate its 50th year of incorporation from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, at Freeman Park. All events are free of charge.
At 1 p.m., a presentation will recognize past and present town officials.
Taylor’s first ever color run will begin at 3 p.m. at the Freeman Park track. Age groups are 6 and under, and 7 and over, but families are always welcome to run together.
Other activities will include an inflatable obstacle course, an 18’ slide and a bounce house.
Volleyball, horseshoes and Slip-n-Slide kickball will offer a little friendly competition.
The Freezer will be on site with fantastic snow cones. Music and balloon animals will also be offered.
Installment of the new Freeman Park playground equipment will be complete, and it will be ready for the little ones to enjoy.
For more information and updates on the event, follow the town on Facebook.
The Taylor-Shumway Heritage Foundation has helped the town organize the event, and will not be having its annual Fall Hostess Dinner, so donations to the foundation are welcome.
Mormon pioneer James Pearce and his family arrived in Taylor on Jan. 23, 1878, and less than two months later, John Standifird and his daughter, Anne, were settling in the little valley. By summer, more families had joined them.
The local leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made decisions and directed the town development until Taylor incorporated.
Reed and Trapper Hatch organized a Booster Club that helped take care of town problems.
Incorporation required the town to take over the water system, water storage tanks, sewer system and roads. Gradually, the LDS church turned over the parks, rodeo grounds and cemetery to the town. The town built cement bridges over the Silver Creek to replace the wooden bridges.
New homes were needed. Businesses began with construction companies and building trades. Subdivisions were built, the shopping center came and Frontier Bank put a branch in Taylor.
In the early 1970s, several individuals in town realized the value an airport would bring to the community, so a town project was organized to build one. They applied for a federal government grant, but there was so much red tape, and in the end the airport would be controlled by the government. The state was more reasonable, but local residents, with some help from the state began the huge undertaking of building an airport that was dedicated in 1975, and has grown steadily since then.
Most of the work was done by volunteers, but it met the specifications required for an airport and so, over the years, they were able to qualify for Federal Aviation Administration grants that continue to improve the airport.
A wastewater treatment plant was built that used evaporation ponds, and a new plant with an activated sludge mechanical plant was built in 2009.
The town grew as the years passed, and in 1961 construction of a paper mill began, which brought many changes to the Silver Creek Valley, including good paying jobs.
On June 6, 1966, the Town of Taylor was incorporated. The first town council was organized with Mayor Bill Hancock, and Charles Hall, Ted Brimhall, Quill Hatch and Gary Allen serving on the town council. Hancock served nine years, Hall for seven and the other three for one year each. Hancock served two terms as mayor, 1966-69 and 1973-75.
Carmen Shumway of the Taylor-Shumway Heritage Foundation compiled a list of accomplishments each mayor felt were made during their service for a presentation the heritage foundation makes to the schools each year.
Past and present mayors
Mayor Bill Hancock, 1966-69, organized the town government and learned state requirements, extended and repaired the existing water system and maintained the roads. During his second term, 1973-75, the city tax ordinance was passed, and the town paved and put in sidewalks from Pinedale Road to Pulp Mill Road, and began construction on the airport.
During Mayor Tad Reidhead’s time, 1969-73, volunteer Ambulance and Medical Care was organized, the first ambulance was purchased, the volunteer fire department was organized and an underground water system was installed.
During Mayor Don Black’s tenure, 1975-77, the airport opened, bringing air shows to Taylor, the Taylor Post Office moved to its present location, water tanks were installed west of town and the town council grew from five members to seven.
Under Mayor Norris Baldwin, 1977-79, consolidation with Snowflake was proposed and failed, Taylor Centennial and history books were published, the centennial pageant and celebration was held, and roads, water, police and fire protection were improved.
Mayor Roy Palmer, 1979-87, oversaw the construction of a bridge across Show Low Creek at four mile, as well as Dr. Lawson’s Medical Center. Silver Creek Shopping Center construction began, and the Silver Creek Symphony was organized. In 1985, the Bashas’ Shopping Center was negotiated.
During Mayor Gerald Gullick’s term, 1987-95, Taylor Intermediate School was built, A.J. Freeman was hired as public works director and Leon Palmer was hired as the first fulltime town manager, a position he held for seven years. The Silver Creek Shopping Center opened, and Freeman Park was developed. Gullick served 14 years on the town council.
Mayor Glen Beecroft served from 1995 to 1997. Navajo County roads within the city limits were turned over to the town to maintain. Even though town officials fought this, they undertook a great effort to meet state standards for disposal of wastewater, and contracted to build Shoen’s Dam.
During Mayor Gordon Thorhill’s term, 1997-2000, the Taylor Shumway Heritage Foundation was organized, the Pioneer Museum opened, the Beautification Committee was organized and beautified Main Street, and the Planning and Zoning Committee was organized. Clay Wood was appointed fire chief. Other fire chiefs were A.J. Freeman, Lloyd Willis for a short time, Larry Stanley, Gerald Gullick, Tom Denning, Corwin Larson, Clay Wood and Clint Burden.
Under Mayor Floyd Fuentes, 2000-2005, new bleachers and a new pavilion were put in at Rodeo Park, the Veterans Memorial was built, the Hatch Bros. Store and Taylor Museum were purchased and refurbished, and Centennial Blvd. was paved. Fuentes served 14 years on the town council.
During Mayor Jay Whipple’s term, 2005-2007, the town resurfaced streets, prepared to purify the sewer water, drilled a well and added another water tank west of town. Clint Burden was hired as the emergency medical administrator.
During Mayor John Cole’s tenure, 2007-09, the Northern Arizona Training Center was built, culverts were unplugged for flood control and the wastewater treatment plant was completed in 2009. Prior to construction of the new wastewater treatment plant, sewage was in evaporative lagoons. Consolidation with Snowflake was proposed.
Under Mayor Debbie Tuckfield, 2009-11, a project to protect the aquifer to save the underground water began, and there was economic growth that provided jobs for residents. She served 13 years on the town council.
Mayor Fay Hatch’s goal was to be inclusive so new people could get involved and feel accepted in the town. Economic recovery and jobs were a priority, WalMart opened for business in 2016, and the Taylor and Snowflake fire departments united to become Taylor-Snowflake Fire & Medical, with Clint Burden as fire chief.
and present leaders
CH Packer served the most years on the council with 18.
The first town manager was A.J. Freeman in 1990. Following him were Leon Palmer, 1993; Ron Solomon, two six-month stints as interim or acting town manager; Kathy Miller, a year in 2000; Steve Sturgell, 2002; Eric Duthie, 2007; and Gus Lundberg, 2013 to the present.
The volunteer ambulance and volunteer fire department provided vital services to the town. Directors of the ambulance were Jim Dunaway, Sharon Denning, Gayla Cox, Della Montgomery, Scott Burt and Clint Burden.
From humble beginnings, the town has blossomed into a thriving community.