Nov 3rd, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Famous Town and Film

Tombstone was a famous film based on the old west town located in the southeast part of Arizona.  It is a city in Cochise County. It goes back a long time as it was founded in 1879 by Ed Schieffelin in what was then Arizona Territory. It was one of the last wide-open frontier boomtowns in the American Old West. From about 1877 to 1890, the town’s mines produced USD $40 to $85 million in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona. Its population grew from 100 to around 14,000 in less than 7 years.  It was called “The Town Too Tough To Die.” The famous “shootout” proved that none was too tough NOT to die.

Far distant from any other metropolitan city, by mid-1881 Tombstone boasted a bowling alley, four churches, an ice house, a school, two banks, three newspapers, and an ice cream parlor, alongside 110 saloons, 14 gambling halls, and numerous dancing halls and brothels. All of these were situated among and on top of a large number of dirty, hardscrabble mines.

There is much too see and do today in Tombstone. It is a living town with a rich and colorful history. Many of the Wild West’s most famous characters called Tombstone their home at one time or another. This scene shows what Main Street Tombstone looks like today without tourists lining both side of the wide dirt street. My wife and I walked through the famous Boothill Cemetery here (its free) where many a cowboy are buried and died with their boots on.

Famous Cowboys from Tombstone

The Earp brothers—Virgil, Wyatt, Morgan and Warren Earp—arrived in December 1879 and the summer of 1880. All assumed roles as lawmen at one time or another which led to ongoing conflicts with Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury, and other roughneck cowboys. After repeated threats against the Earps by the Cowboys over many months, the conflict escalated into a confrontation that turned into a shoot out, the now-famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral .  This YouTube reenactment shows what really happened in Main Street on October 26, 1881. Check out “Big Nose Kate’s Saloon” that is another famous Tombstone site.

So you saw Tombstone. Now drive a little further south and take in Bisbee and Douglas near the Mexican border.  Both are full of mining history. And while you are in the area…visit in Kartchner Caverns. Arizona is full of history just waiting for seniors to come and soak it all up.  jeb

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