Niels Kristian Overgaard,the second son of a Danish family, came to America to seek his fortune in the lumber mill business. He moved to Arizona from North Dakota in 1936, lured by the lush stands of Ponderosa. He had modular mill pieces transported by trainas far as he was able, then hauled in by wagon to “Overgaard’s stop.” Overgaard’s sawmill was built there, across Highway 260 fromwhat is now the Overgaard Market. Mr. Overgaard operated the mill until financial reversals promptedOvergaard, Az its sale. Chris Overgaard, ever seeking the new opportunity, moved with his lovely wife to Ohio, never to be seen again. The mill itself was replaced by the old Senior Center,which stood until it was taken by the Rodeo Chedeski fire in the summer of 2002.Happily, the Senior Center has been rebuilt and is a hub of activity within the community.
History and Heritage of Heber, Arizona
In 1882, John Bushman of St. Joseph (now Joseph City) recorded that he had come across.
“ … a nice little valley half a mile wide and one mile long with two dry cottonwood creeks coming into it. Went around the valley, soft, sandy,
loamy soil. Came three miles up the west fork and found living water.
Good land all the way up this canyon. About forty rods wide on the
average. I made a location here by writing on a newspaper and fastening
it to a tree.”
One month later, on December 6th, 1882, Bushman returned with six of his brethren: W.C. Allen, J.H. Richards, J.C. Hansen, H. Tanner and John E. Shelley. These pioneers had relocated to the area from Utah, under the direction of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, having been given the mission of finding appropriate places to settle for their own families and others to develop and begin communities. Seeing the rich soil, abundant wildlife and ampleponderosa for construction, they agreed with Bushman’s descriptions and settled the area now known as Heber as a summerresidence. By April of the following year, a community, albeit a fledgling one, was being
Heber-Overgaard, the Community The Rodeo – Chedeski fire of 2002 that caused so much devastation to many local towns caused a bit of damage here, but also served to strengthen our community. The people of Heber -
Overgaard not only rebuilt, but have expanded; not only recovered, but are thriving. People who before were only dimly aware of our community suddenly sat up and took notice. Some of them recognized in the townspeople qualities they could admire, and wished to encourage their own children and have since made this area a permanent home.
Today these two little towns nestle together happily, and most residents would be hard-pressed to tell you just where one ends and the other begins. Like its founders, the people of this community know the value of working together, and the importance of close-knit friendships to make hard times better and good times more rewarding.