The Pimeria Alta, the home of the "upper" or northern Pima Indians, was so named by the early Spanish settlers in Sonora. The region stretched from the south at Hermosillo, Sonora, to the north at the Gila River in Arizona, and from the Sierra Madres and the San Pedro River on the east to the Gulf of California and the Colorado River to the west. Nogales is in the geographical center of the area. Housed in the Old Nogales City Hall, constructed in 1914, the museum provides information on the history of the Pimeria Alta and welcomes visitors to the border area. The society was formed in 1948, when a group of 30 people got together to preserve the rich and exciting history of the area. Since its inception, the mayor and city council of Nogales have supported the society, turning over the first floor and basement of the Old City Hall to P.A.H.S.v for use as a museum in 1978. They continue to provide funding for the museum's operations and refurbishing of the building.
The historical society museum is located in the Old City Hall in downtown Nogales, Arizona, one block north of the United States - Mexico border. The museum has a research library, rotating displays on the history of the region, archives of the Nogales International, Border Vidette, Oasis, and Nogales Daily Herald newspapers, three rare murals by renown bull fighter and artist Salvador Corona, and an extensive photography display on Camp Little, home of the Buffalo soldiers, and life on the border. Visitors can tour the old jail cells,view the hand drawn and hand operated pumper fire truck known as "Able and Willing", and peruse displays that will lead to an appreciation of the long and fascinating prehistory and history of the area.