PAYSON, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Zane Grey loved Arizona. The western novelist captured the imaginations of a generation as he introduced them to Arizona’s splendor through his many novels.

Grey spent his honeymoon in Arizona at the Grand Canyon in 1906… but by 1929 the love affair with the state was over.

[WATCH: The story behind novelist's Zane Grey's love affair, bitter breakup with Arizona]

It was after a visit to the Grand Canyon when Zane Grey's passion for his beloved Arizona began a writing career spanning more than 60 American western bestsellers.

The actual number is 64 novels in total, but 23 of them were about Arizona, that shows how much he cared about this place.

"Everything that's in this cabin, all the building materials, was hauled up by horse and mule, Zane Grey wouldn't let them build a road, he didn't want tourists coming up there," Dick Wolfe, president of the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation.

Grey had a great love of hunting and fishing and he just loved to write about the west. You can't do that from a New York dentist's office.

After he built his cabin near Payson, up on the Mogollon Rim, he was here every fall during the hunting season clear up until 1929, says Wolf.

And then he abruptly stopped coming to Arizona altogether.

In 1929, Grey became upset with the game and fish commission in the state, because he wanted to shoot a documentary about bear hunting here. He wasn't allowed because the dates of bear hunting season had been changed and it was now out of season for hunting bear in the state. 

Grey appealed to the governor, he appealed to the commissioner, and then a hearing was held to decide the matter. The game and fish commission would not yield, would not let him do it, and Grey got very angry.

"He did have a short temper, and he left Arizona and vowed never to return. And he never did," says Wolfe.

Grey died in 1939 at age 67, and his cabin fell into disrepair. It was eventually restored, but sadly burned to the ground in the 1990 Dude fire.

"We wanted a place to house historic artifacts of Zane Grey, and take advantage of his name, which is still magical, worldwide," Says Wolfe.

So the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation formed to build an historic replica here in Payson at Green Valley Park.

"The piano is original, the saddle by the front door is original."

And of course, there's a replica of his writing chair.

"Zane grey was very descriptive in his writing, and if you lived here for any length of time, you can read his books and all the sudden, it dawns on you, I know exactly what he's talking about, where he's talking about," says Wolfe.

"These are exciting books to read, I don't care how old you are."

 


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