There is a very nice Visitor Center operated by the Chamber of Comerce at the corner of 4th and Allen Streets, in the center of downtown Tombstone. Here you will find an information desk, restrooms, and brochures about Tombstone and area attractions.
Tombstone Chamber of Commerce
Tombstone, AZ 85638
Welcome to Tombstone
Our first stop in Tombstone was this gift shop on the northwest edge of town. We stopped because of a sign which advertised "Tourist Information," and we thought it might be the town's visitor center. It turns out this was only a gift and souvenir shop, however, it is purported to be built on the sight of Wyatt Earp's personal mining claim and home.
There are a few interesting exhibits at the shop, and the friendly proprietor answered our questions and gave us a free map of downtown Tombstone, which was very helpful. We purchased a refrigerator magnet and some postcards.
81 West Fremont Street, Tombstone, AZ 85638
Karen and I thoroughly enjoyed strolling up and down Allen Street, the main street of Tombstone, on the authentic old wooden sidewalks. These lead for several blocks on both sides of the street, past saloons, restaurants, museums, gift shops and attractions.
In the olden days, and especially here in the desert where wood had to be hauled a long distance, these sidewalks served a very practical purpose. They lifted pedestrians up and out of the dust, mud and manure of the street. Imagine what it must have been like when there were thousands of horses in Tombstone, each answering the call of nature and leaving their deposits in the street. Let that mess bake in the desert sun, be stomped into dust by other horses and wagons, whipped by the western wind, and then when the rains came you could have a foot or more of manure soup. Thank God for elevated wooden sidewalks.
Something that surprised me was the number of beautifully intricate stained glass pieces around Tombstone. People take these decorations for granted, but these pieces take weeks or months to make! ...And they're everywhere here.
I've visited a lot of European Churches where gorgeous stained glass panes, hundreds of years old, stretch from floor to ceiling. But I have to admit that it's refreshing to see such colourful scenes for once not depicting saints, sheep herders, angels, and nativity scenes. Nope, these stained glass panes are all about cowboys, gunfights, poker hands, and madames.
I've read that stained glass was often imported to the Wild West in order to bring a sense of comfort and civility to the frontier towns. It reminded the pioneers of the big cities and old cultures that they came from. So, stained glass in this part of the country is a fairly old tradition.
Personally, I'm very curious to know who made these--whether there is a big stained glass enthusiast living in Tombstone or whether they were commissioned from elsewhere.
There are a lot of pieces displayed in the front windows and inside Big Nose Kate's on Allen Street. Be sure to take the time to appreciate these great works of art!
Favorite thing: Each historical site is geared to the relieve the visitor of his or her dollars. It would not be so bad if there was a set entrance fee for entering the historical district. Or maybe a Tombstone card that would allow entrance to all historical sites. But, I'll be darned if I am going to pay an entrance fee to the OK Corral, the Boot Hill cemetary, the Bird Cage Theatre, the Crystal Palace Saloon, the Cochise County Courthouse and on and on it goes.
Favorite thing: This fellow will gladly take your money and give you a half mile ride up and down Allen Street in Tombstone. While doing so, he will torture you with minutia in a western drawl that is pure cacophony. No we did not take the ride, but given the fact that the historic district is a half mile long and this guy plods up and down the streets all day long with an amplified sound system, we got the gist of the tableau.
Apparently nobody knows what really happened during the 30 sec. gunfight at the OK Corral.
There are 2 different approaches presented in paintings in the Courthouse. Many historians have studied this "event" and have come to different conclusions.
Anyways, Tombstone has every reason to keep the event as mysterious as important. The gunfight is Tombstone's mayor attraction.
Favorite thing: It all happens in Allen street, thé historic hart of Tombstone. The soil of the street is covered by an impressive layer of dirt, to create the ambiance of the early years. Stagecoaches are riding up and down the streets and there are tourists everywhere. Country music sounds come out of the saloons and there are many souvenirs shops. The street didn't seem empty to me. However when viewing my photos, I see nothing...while everybody is walking under the covered sidewalks to hide from the sun. The street is not really photogenic...
Tombstone will have attracted many types of tourists. During the day you might see a group of cowboy enthusiasts who will come from out of state, or even another country and they will act out gunfights and skits that they have practiced back home. Tombstone also has daily activities to keep the tourists there and occupied. The longer you stay, the more you open your wallet. You will get hungry, thirsty and your curiosity will encourage you to go visit some private exhibits. There is even a rattlesnake museum along a side street in Tombstone.
Handle with care and only after they have milked the snakes.
Fondest memory: Just kidding about the milking ......
But the rattlesnake museum is for real, no kidding.
Of course, you can just wander out in the bushes and stick your hand into a few holes or under a bush and find the real thing for free.
Or... you can drive to Tucson and visit the awesome Desert Museum just outside of town. This is one of the best exhibits on animals and desert life I know of. If you want to know more, go to VT my tips on Tucson, painterdave, Desert Museum.
Favorite thing: If trinkets, knick-knacks and Mexican blankets are your thing--you don't want to take a pass on Tombstone. Personally, I hate kitsch and thus escaped town having spent only 50 cents on a bottled water.
Our anniversary stay at the Sage Inn. It was great with a jacuzzi bathtub, great 'outwest' backdrop...(mountains, etc...) We stayed where John Wayne stayed and really ..'duded' it up...*g*. The people were great to us and friendly, complimentary, too, since it was our anniversary:-Þ our little room was just like a little cottage. It came equipped with EVERYTHING a stove an oven a sink, microwave, coffee pot, candles, jacuzzi bath bubble stuffs..popcorn hot teas and coffees and cocoa...and omg...SO MUCH MORE!!! IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!!
For dinner one night we drove back west to tucson for a murder mystery dinner theatre show thang...it was soooooooooo much fun...I totally recommend it!!!
Boothill is a real cemetery .
Most , if not all buried here were a rough and tumble lot.
A walk through the cemetery is entertaining as the tombstones do make interesting reading .
Tombstone is the location of the O.K.Corral gunfight between the Earp's / Doc Holiday and the Clantons / McLaurys
This was not a fight between ths sherrif and the bad guys , but a personnal dispute that finally boiled over.
If you are going to Tombstone in search of true history, may I suggest visiting the Bird Cage Theater.
The building is original, the artifacts well preserved and the true feeling of the way of life (back then)
As a history buff I was taken in by the the town's unique past and their willingness to preserve it. Kudos
to the people of Tombstone....where the past comes alive.
Favorite thing: Renowned haunt of the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday. Nowadays it is the haunt of entrepeneurs out to make a buck by offering flimsy history, gross exagerations and plenty of kitsch.