About Main Street Grille


Old houses have many stories to tell and the house at 202 W. Main in Payson (now the Main Street Grille) is no exception. It was the home of Julian Journigan.

Julian Journigan was born in Flagstaff in 1884, but his mother died when he was eleven days old. Julianís grandparents John and Louisa See took him in, raising him in Strawberry and the Tonto Basin. They soon found themselves also raising their grandson Charlie See, seven years younger than Julian. The two boys grew to become fast friends and later business partners. As a young man Julian worked as a cowboy, and in 1906, at age 22, he joined the Forest Service. He was stationed at Roosevelt under Superintendent Roscoe Willson, but after two years left that service to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at San Carlos. In February 1910 he married Margaret (ďMadgeĒ) Solomon, and they had two children, Jack and Delsie Dee.

With a growing family Julian went into a ranching partnership, buying the Denton Place in Tonto Basin where he cleared and fenced and ran cattle with his partners. At the same time he pursued his love of mining, and had several claims in the Sierra Anchas. When the Cinnabar Mine (mercury) was established near Mount Ord, Julian contracted with the mining company to haul materials, supplies and machinery by pack animals. There were no roads for trucks at that time into the Mazatzal Mountains. However, Journigan developed arthritis that forced him and his family to move to the desert. They went to Coolidge where Margaretís family had a farm, and sold the Tonto Basin ranch to the partners. During these years Julian also ran the first power plant in the town of Florence.

In 1921 Julianís cousin Charley asked him to come to Globe and help operate the mail stage between Globe and Payson. The Stage was still horse drawn, and for several years the two of them hauled mail and passengers through swollen creeks and over dirt roads. In 1923 Julian secured a Cadillac car, and the mail stage became mechanized. Julian and his Cadillac quickly became an institution in the Tonto and Payson Basins. He not only delivered the mail, but carried packages and passengers. Folks along the way often asked him to buy this or that for them in Globe, which he cheerfully did. One lady had him take a piece of some material she was sewing so he could buy thread to match the color. One of his nieces, local author Marguerite Noble, says that Julian also brought the local gossip with him along the route. There were no newspapers, radio or television so people had to get their news by word of mouth. She tells that Stella Frazier, the postmistress at Roosevelt, read all the post cards and filled Julian in on what others were doing so he could pass it on.

About 1924 Journigan's partner and cousin, Charley See gave up the mail route, and Julian enlarged the route on his own. Mail routes were done by contract with the Federal government, and the person who won the contract would often sublet portions of the route to others. These rural routes were called ďStar RoutesĒ because the asterisks on the contract noting sublets were called stars. Journigan won the contract for the entire route between Globe and the Verde Valley, going by way of Fossil Creek and including all stops in between. By this time mail service was daily along the extended route and required a number of subcontractors.

Since he was settled in to a job that seemed substantial, in 1925 Julian and his family built their house on Main Street. Itís was what now is the front one-third of the building at 202 W. Main. From Journiganís house on Main Street to Globe it was a dayís trip in the Cadillac stage. The party would stop for lunch at the Anglerís Inn near Roosevelt Lake. The noon meal consisted of cowboy beans, jerky, gravy and hot biscuits. The special treat was iced tea, made with ice that had been packed in from Globe. On the return trip to Payson the climb up Ox Bow hill often required the passengers to get out of the Cadillac and help it up the hill by placing stones behind the wheels as it crept along.

In 1932 Julian lost his bid for the mail route. While the family still lived on Main Street, he went to work on the Chilson-Tremaine cattle ranches around Rye, and continued his favorite sport of mining. It was in April of 1941, after a trip to his claims near the headwaters of Slate Creek, that Julian Journigan suffered a heart attack at the Sunflower Store, and died. He was 57 years old, and is buried in the Payson Pioneer Cemetery.

His son Jack lived in the house on Main Street for many years, and died in September 1993. Mel and Janice Laumb purchased the house and extended it to its present form. They turned it into a gift shop and restaurant called The Heritage House. At Melís death in April 1995, Jan retired and the business was taken over by their daughter Diane Roberson. In the year 2000 the old house was reopened as The Mogollon Grill under the ownership of six new partner

There are numerous reports and sightings of ghost activity here at the Main Street Grille. Many of us have experienced it. As best we can tell, there are two ghosts here; one is an older gentleman who lived in the upstairs apartment that once existed in this house, and the second is an 8-year old girl who died of an illness in the early 1900s. Nothing is known about who they are or why they continue to haunt the premises. However, by all accounts, they are both very friendly and they seem to enjoy pulling pranks on us from time to time.

The walls of a house have many tales to tell and they speak about an entire era of Rim Country history.