Directions: The historic mining community of Tombstone, Arizona, is located about 69 miles southeast of Tucson by taking Interstate 10 and State Route 80. With over 200,000 visitors annually this is one of the most visited sites in Arizona. The popularity stems from its reputation as a rough frontier town with shootouts between Wyatt Earp and the Clayton brothers. Today, visitors can pay to see a reenactment of the shootout at the OK Corral, the historic Bird Cage Theater, Crystal Palace and the Courthouse. The Tombstone Courthouse is now a State Park and is worth a visit. However, there is a certain amount of fakeness to the town. The famous Boothill Cemetery was moved to accomodate tourists and many of the buildings are not in their orginal locations. In light of its touristy nature Tombstone is worth an afternoon.
History: The boom began in 1878 when ed Shieffelin found silver ore to the west of town. He named the claims Tombstone and Graveyard because of the rough reputation the area had gotten with settlers. While in Signal, Arizona, getting the ore assayed Sheiffelin became partners with the assayer Richard Gird. The mines boomed and between 1880-1886 the mines produced $40 million worth of silver. The ore could not be milled in Tombstone because of a lack of water so Gird created Millville nine miles west on the San Pedro River. The town of Fairbank, also to the west, became the central location for materials to be shipped in by rail. The town and area became known as a rough area because of numerous murders by outlaws and Apache Indians. Bandits also robbed the supply routes into town.
Heartache began in 1881 and didn't stop until the mines shut down forever in 1929. In 1881 and 1882 major fires burned a significant number of the bussinesses in town. Despite the fires, the town rebuilt and continued to be productive. In 1886 the shfts penetrated the underground water table; flooding the tunnels. As a result, the mines had to close and many residents moved to other boomtowns such as Bisbee to the south. Attempts to reopen the mines continued until 1929. Today there is very little active mining in the hills near Tombstone. (Information from Arizona Ghost Towns and Mining Camps by Philip Varney). For more information on Tombstone please consult the author Ben Traywick. The photos on this post are of the infamous Boothill Cemetery where many of those who died a violent death are buried.
Neat photo of the Dragoon Mountains across the valley