Saturday, April 1, 2017

Tombstone, Arizona

March 30, 2017

We visited the Empire Ranch and then drove on to Tombstone for a look see.  Gerry and I have been to Tombstone many times and think it's interesting, but just a tourist trap.  At least it is a lot better than The Dells in Wisconsin.  The Dells are in another class.

The Birdcage Theatre is reputed to be one of the only authentic buildings left from the old Tombstone.  It opened in 1881 and was open for business 24 hours a day for 8 years.  It appears today just like it did back in 1889 when it closed.  It was a bar, brothel, theatre and gambling hall all rolled up into one place.

 The original bar from when the Birdcage closed still looks in great shape.  It was made of cherry wood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and shipped around the horn to the west coast of the US and then brought to Tombstone by wagon.

 There are many pictures in the bar area.  One can also see one of the "birdcages" shown on the upper left.  It was a small crib for the "working girls" to earn their keep.

 Down the street is Big Nose Kate's bar/restaurant.  They usually have live entertainment there and it's covered with old photos from days gone by.

The old bar is usually full of patrons from tourists to locals.  A number of locals dress in period costumes and it looks like one of them is taking a break at the bar.  Then again, Arizona is an open carry state and he may not be in costume, but a tourist after all.

One of the local performers was doing his thing across the street from Big Nose Kate's and had on a very wild outfit.  I sat down on a bench to wait for Gerry & Debbie and the man next to me said he was a former high school classmate of the man.

The O.K. Corral is used for a daily reenactment of the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral between the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday against the Clantons and others.  

 There are a couple stagecoach rides that go up and down the street with the driver narrating information about old Tombstone. 

 The local fire department couldn't keep the town from almost burning down a couple times due to lack of water.  By the time they had water delivered to the town the mines played out and that was the end of Tombstone for about 45 years.

 The Earp brothers were famous gamblers/lawmen and other professions and Wyatt was the most famous of them.  His home has been restored and is now a Gallery.

Wyatt Earp home

 They have recently installed a statue of Wyatt Earp next to his house.  Notice he is carrying a double barrel shotgun in addition to his pistol.

 We had an entertainment passport book with a page that was good for free admittance to the Boothill Cemetery.  We thought it was good for a discount in the gift shop there, also.  They had free admission to the cemetery at least since 2006 when we first visited there.  Now they don't honor the passport book and charge $3.00 to view the cemetery.  Debbie had questioned the clerk, who apologized for not being able to accept the coupon.  She said the policy had just recently been changed and she had to follow her instructions, although the coupon wasn't supposed to expire until 12/31/17.

If you've never been to Tombstone it is worth a first visit, but be prepared for a lot of tee-shirts for sale along with lots of other touristy articles.

The main street was asphalt with parking on the street in 2006 and they later covered the street with dirt to film a movie there.  While that sounds neat, the dust from the street is terrible when the wind picks up.  Over the years the dirt has worn down and the stagecoaches mainly run on the asphalt.

We stopped at the Horseshoe Cafe in Benson on our way back to the campground and had a very nice dinner.  We really lucked out and immediately got a table. Others who followed us weren't so lucky and waited for 30-45 minutes to be seated.  The restaurant is very old and we like to stop there when we are in the area since we know they serve good food.

Finally we drove back to the campground and were worn out.  It was a 210 mile round trip and our old bodies felt it.  That was our day, how was yours?



  1. We stopped at Tombstone on our way to Bisbee. We left after about half an hour. They charge for ever thing. We aren't in to that. Bisbee is much better in our opinion.

  2. I know Tombstone is a true tourist town but I still find it fun to wander down the streets and relive some of the wild excitement of those times. But we have paid all we're going to pay if we ever go back again.