Tombstone, a dusty little mining town with a big reputation. What was once a booming mining town that later became a ghost town, is now a popular tourist destination. It’s located 3 hours south of the Phoenix Valley and only about 50 miles from the Mexico border. Tombstone was founded in 1879 by Ed Schieffelin, a prospector.
HISTORY OF TOMBSTONE
During its heyday, the local mines produced between $40-$85 million in silver bullion. The town had a school, banks, and three local newspapers. Boasting 14 gambling halls, many brothels, and over 110 saloons, there was plenty of room for debauchery! In 1886 a fire destroyed much of the city and it became a ghost town.
TOMBSTONE’S INFAMOUS O.K. CORRAL GUNFIGHT
Tombstone gained fame from the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1881. A rivalry had grown between the outlaw cowboys and the sheriff in town. It continued to escalate before exploding in a deadly gunfight. Today, the names of those involved are iconic. The Clantons and McLaurys had a standoff with Doc Holliday and Wyatt, Virgil & Morgan Earp. In the end, the Cowboys were defeated.
Today you can see a live re-enactment of the 1881 gun fight at the O.K. Corral. While it’s quite cheesy, it’s entertaining and informative. I can’t imagine having lived in that time! Who builds a town in the middle of the desert when central air conditioning doesn’t exist?! And don’t even get me started on the possibility of deadly snakes and scorpions.
TOMBSTONE’S HISTORIC ALLEN STREET
Historic Allen Street, is home to many kitschy shops, but also some authentic saloons! Check out Big Nose Kate‘s (a saloon named after Doc Holliday’s girlfriend & prostitute, Kate – her nose must have been pretty large). The Bird Cage Theatre is still around and said to be haunted!
Take a walk to the Tombstone Court House, which is only a few blocks from Allen Street. And if you’re feeling so inclined, check out the Boothill Cemetery to see the final resting place of the outlaws!
If you find yourself in the southwest, take a moment to step back in time to the Wild West.
What mining towns have you visited?!