As part of this trip I went to Tombstone, Arizona where I visited Boothill Graveyard & the OK Corral. Looking around the graveyard was very interesting & some of the gravestones & monuments had very funny engravings on them. The O.K. Corral was surprisingly small & the mechanical show was so bad it was funny. Unfortunately we were not there long enough to see any of the shows that are put on in the streets.
My Uncle Dave & I did stop in to 'Big Nose Kates' Saloon, where we are accosted at the door by a dirty low down Tottenham Hotspurs fan who objected to letting me in as I was wearing my Arsenal shirt. The man had originally lived in Tottenham in London & now lived in Tombstone & worked in the saloon. Before you ask, he was wearing spurs on his boots. We had a nice meal & a beer here before shooting a game of pool on the old table in the saloon.
Tombstone is a historic western city in Cochise County, Arizona. It was founded in 1879 by Ed Schieffelin in what was then Pima County, Arizona Territory. It was one of the last wide open frontier boomtowns in the American Old West. The town prospered from about 1877 to 1890, during which time the towns mines produced $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 seven years. It is best known as the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral & draws most of its revenue from tourism.
The town was established on a mesa above the Tough Nut Mine. Within two years of its founding, although far distant from any other metropolitan city, 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 & numerous dancing halls and brothels. All of these were situated among & on top of a large number of dirty, hardscrabble mines. The gentlemen & ladies of Tombstone attended operas presented by visiting acting troupes at the Schieffelin Hall opera house, while the miners and cowboys saw shows at the Bird Cage Theatre, "the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast".
Under the surface were tensions that grew into deadly conflict. The mining capitalists and townspeople were largely Republicans from the Northern states. Many of the ranchers in the area were Confederate sympathisers and Democrats. The booming city was only 30 miles from the Mexico border & was an open market for beef stolen from ranches in Sonora, Mexico, by a loosely organised band of outlaws known as The Cowboys. The Earp brothers, Virgil, Wyatt, Morgan & Warren, arrived in December 1879 & summer 1880. They had ongoing conflicts with Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury, and other Cowboys members. The Cowboys repeatedly threatened the Earps over many months until the conflict escalated into a confrontation that turned into a shootout, the now famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The actual gun fight was on Fremont Street a block or 2 away from the O.K. Corral.
In the mid 1880s, the silver mines penetrated the water table and the mining companies made significant investments in specialised pumps. A fire in 1886 destroyed the Grand Central hoist and pumping plant, and it was unprofitable to rebuild the costly pumps. The city nearly became a ghost town, only saved from that end because it was the Cochise County seat until 1929. The city's population dwindled to a low of 646 in 1910, but in 2010 the population was 1,380.
The O.K. Corral was originally (from 1879 to about 1888) a livery & horse corral in the mining boomtown of Tombstone, Arizona. Despite its famous association with the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the shoot out actually took place in a narrow lot six doors west of the rear entrance to the corral, between Harwood's home and C. S. Fly's 12 room boarding house & photography studio.
The 1957 film Gunfight at the O.K. Corral made the shootout famous & the corral became fixed in the public's mind as the location of the altercation. The corral is currently marketed & advertised as the location of the shootout, visitors can pay to see a reenactment of the gunfight. The corral is now part of the Tombstone Historic District.
Originally called Boothill Cemetery, the graveyard was founded in 1878. After a new city cemetery was built elsewhere, the old cemetery stopped accepting new burials in about 1883 (save for very few exceptions) and fell into disrepair until the 1940s, when the city began to restore and preserve it.