As workampers at Rancho Verde RV Park, Kathy and I have five days each week to ourselves to do and go as we please. This week we decided to take the coach (with car in tow) and make a road trip down to see Tombstone, Bisbee, and Douglas (at the Mexican border).
We headed out on Sunday morning, stayed Sunday night at Casa Grande (at the Rover’s Roost Escapees RV Park), then on down to spend two add’l nights just south of Benson, AZ at Saguaro Escapees RV Park). As Escapees members, our night at Casa Grande cost $17 and the nightly charge at Benson was $20, both including full hook-up (50 amp electric, water, sewer, wi-fi).
The map below shows our trip from Camp Verde and back again (624 miles). While parked at Benson, we took the car down to Tombstone, Bisbee, and Douglas but I didn’t log that add’l mileage, (approx 240 miles down and back 2 days).
The attraction to Tombstone was the story of Wyatt Earp and his brothers (Virgil and Morgan) along with Doc Holliday and others in the famous “Gunfight at the OK Corral”. It’s amazing how famous that gunfight is given it only lasted 30 seconds from start to finish!
Tombstone reached its pinnacle of riches and then faded, all within the short span of eight years. The West’s wildest mining town owes its beginning to Ed Schieffelin, who prospected the nearby hills in 1877.
While we were visiting Historic Tombstone we also took a self-guided tour of the Birdcage Theater, the only 100% original (not restored) building in Tombstone. The combination theater/saloon/gambling parlor/brothel operated from 1881-1889. The reason there are not other buildings in 100% original condition is that Tombstone had two devastating fires – one in June of 1881 and the second in May of 1882. I’ve got some pictures in the slide show below.
Many of these pictures reflect how the theater was found by the new owners when they purchased the theater in 1939 after being boarded up since 1889.
After touring the Birdcage and walking both sides of Allen Street and seeing a lot of the typical tourist trap sort of stores, souvenir shops, shows, and more – we went on down the street to take another self-guided tour of the original county courthouse, now an Arizona State Park & Museum.
The gallows stood outside the courthouse and the sheriff would send out personal invitations to the periodic hangings of wild men and even wilder women.
The courthouse was built in 1882 and was used continuously until 1931 when the county seat was changed from Tombstone to Bisbee as a result of the reduced mining activity around Tombstone.
The slide show below shows some of the items of interest in the courthouse that was left empty and unused from 1931 until 1955 when interested local citizens got together and worked to open the Cochise County Historical Museum. Some of the other items have significance to Tombstone history.
We both found these two museums very interesting as they brought the lives of early miners and outlaws to life.