Three miles East of Highway 188 off Highway 87 on the way to Roosevelt. The rest area at the 87 and the 188 is closed - but you are ALWAYS welcome at Jake's Corner Bar and Grill.
A Stage Stop since 1916 – 100+ Years!!! Until the Slate Creek “cut off” was closed in 1971 between the Beeline Highway and the H-4 Ranch at Slate Creek in Tonto Basin, the only people who knew where Jake’s Corner was were travelers between Payson and Globe.
George Felton had a place on Hardt Creek, part of the Annie Hardt homestead, where Jake’s Corner is today. This area was a wide open space along the trail that stages took from Payson to Globe.
A normal two day journey but sometimes, depending on the weather and the depth of the Salt River, the place was used as a stopover to await the receding waters. George’s wife, Virginia, had a vegetable/fruit table set up so that the passersby would deposit the requested amount in a donation box that she would pick up daily.
This small settlement situated by Hardt Creek 20 miles south of Payson started as a stage stop in 1916. The first building at Jake’s Corner was a store, bar and gas station combination built in 1924 by the Felton’s. George was a tough bronc rider, it was said that there was never a horse born that he could not ride. George travelled the world with his friend Charlie Meadows with a Wild West Show.
George had a standing $1,000 bet he could ride any horse. He would place a silver dollar in each stirrup and when the horse would stop, the dollars would still be in the stirrup. While George was off with the show and other adventures, Virginia ran the store during the 16 years that they owned it.
Felton sold the business to Payson pioneer, Polly Brown in 1940 who ran the store until she sold it to Jake and Nina Stephenson in 1946. That is when the business took on the name “Jake’s Corner”. Jake died in 1949, but Nina continued to run the store and bar. She eventually married Buck Newberry and they sold the business to Pete Connolly in 1972. When Connolly bought Jake’s, traffic had already begun to pick up out front on Highway 188!
The road was freshly paved, fishermen and campers took advantage of the off-highway stop, and soon learned about the ducks in the pond across the road, the mine up on Mt. Ord and of course, the great wildlife in the area.
In 1982, Connolly sold to Harry Strahan and Bud Decker, who built Jake’s Corner Store in 1984 which Tom and Katey Mallet bought. Decker and partner Gary Swanson put in more trailer spots and subdivided larger parcels into small ones.
The rows of mailboxes out in front of the store at Jake’s Corner just keeps on growing. Norma Blakely purchased Jake’s Corner Bar in 1989. She heard from someone that she was the proud owner of the oldest bar in Gila County in the same building with the same name.
In 1990, Dan Smyers purchased the Bar and his sign, Dan’s Town, is still displayed out front today! Jerry and Caroline Morrison purchased Jake’s in 1998 and sadly, the old building burnt to the ground in 1999. The only thing left standing was the old tree that you see today between our main building and the Sheriff’s Office.
One memento that was found in the ashes was a jug and it is displayed on the window sill over by the pool table. The building was rebuilt in 2000 and reopened as the community gathering spot that you see today.
Jake’s Corner Bar was purchased in 2005 with Rick Heppler as the majority partner. Jake’s Corner was the setting for the 2008 movie “Jake’s Corner” written and directed by Jeff Santo, starring Diana Ladd, Dany Trejo, Richard Tyson and B. J. Thomas. Many locals were involved in the filming and one of our customers, Silvia, was featured along with her “cowboy beans” that Jake’s is famous for and are served daily!
The movie was debuted at the Sedona Film Festival in 2009 and the DVD is available for sale from the bartender. The CD Soundtrack to the movie which has 21 songs (including Jake’s Corner Theme) with 4 original songs sung by B. J. Thomas is also available.
100 years of history and counting! It’s where travelers have stopped for great food, a cool one and some old-fashioned friendly conversation, games (like chicken-shit bingo...just ask your bartender) and horseshoes. And, it’s open seven days a week!