The area of Tombstone in Arizona is very very dry and so very conducive to fires!
Some of the important buildings in the area have burned and it is sad because it would be nice to preserve the history of the prospectors, cowboys, and gunfights...so if you have anything flammable (cigarrette stubs), be very careful where you throw them.
As were riding our horse stagecoach, our guide did point out some of the houses burned and you can still see the burnt wood...but in one place, the whole house burned down to the ground...sad.
I knew the name of Tombstone from some Western movies I watched as a kid, long before my trip. Well, Tombstone looked different than I expected, and you may expect. You are warned :-). I don't want to say that I was dissapointed at all, never, but...
I expected to see at least a few times larger city with a few or more streets preserved or restored as they looked on Western movies. In reality Tombstone is a little town with very compact historic district: one East Allen Street and short parts of side streets, add short segment of main Highway 80 (East Freemont Street).
So, I was very surprised or dissapointed that at least Allen Street was NOT closed for traffic. I guess, that in such unique, historic and touristy town in Europe, local government would close the historic downtown for traffic and first of all would build a beltway around the town. Local business would build paid parking lots for visitors on the edge of closed for traffic area.
But the USA is definetely a car country or maybe, in this case, a business country as well. For sure most Tombstone's citizens earn money thanks to visitors and they probably don't want to risk lowering profits after closing some streets and building a beltway. Well, traffic in Tombstone was very light when I was there. But modern cars parked on historic streets didn't fit well to architecture of old western town - look at my pictures.
Although Arizona is generally a friendly state for non-smoking folks (not as much as say Utah or California though) and many Arizonian restaurants are smoke free, forget about it in Tombstone.
Smoking was allowed in all restaurants and saloons I visited in Tombstone in 2003. Morover, there was no seperate room for non-smoking folks. If you don't smoke, you are warned. If you smoke, it's a place for you. Tobacco smoking with pipes and cigars was common to many Native American cultures prior to the arrival of European explorers. And it had to be common in Tombstone since its beginning.
However, in 2006, 54.8% of voters approved Smoke Free Arizona, banning smoking in all bars, restaurants, and workplaces. It takes effect on May 1, 2007. Well, it's difficult for me to believe in smoke free Tombstone's saloons.
When I was taking these pictures in the old photo studio I didn't see the writing "NO SIDELINE PHOTOGRAPHY. Violation will be subject to a surcharge." So, do not follow me. You are warned.
As soon as I took the second photo using flash the guy at a desk turned out and gently asked me to stop taking pictures. He didn't want me to pay any surcharge though. Instead, he invited us to visit the studio and surely proposed us photo session. Well, despite our refusal, he showed us a few studio rooms which looked like an old saloon or bar, general store, grocery, bathroom and even brothel. We had short and enjoyable talk, especially on Wild West brothels and pictures visitors may want to take there. By the way, other English names for a brothel are a bordello, whorehouse, cathouse or more sophisticated "house of ill repute."
There are stagecoaches, covered wagons or carriages, drawn by horses in Tombstone. They were widely used before the introduction of railway transport. Nowadays they are tourist attraction in town. However they share the same streets you may drive your car.
Keep in mind that horses, although the best trained and behavioured, can't stop as fast as your modern car. And a coachmen sits a few meters behind a draft horse's head thus can't see traffic incoming from a side street. Well, it's a horse's task to watch the traffic. But can we always trust a horse? Probably not less often than a car's driver. The speed limit in Tombstone Historic District is 35 miles an hour and stagecoaches move very slowly but... watch for them.
Tombstone is a small city with a lot of tourist surrounded by the locals. This city at nighttime can be a little scary. The streets are deserted and the stores mostly close early.
If you end up walking around Allen street at night past 9pm, just be on the look out and be safe.
If you are traveling in the summer, as are a majority of visitors to this area, be prepared for the intense heat of the desert. Dress appropriately, and drink plenty of water.