Unusual Tourist Sites: Tombstone, Arizona Part 2

About the unusual tourist site of Tombstone, Arizona home of the shootout at the O.K. Corral, history and inforamtion.

Tombstone, Arizona

More recently (and more legitimately), some wealthy socialites from Detroit have organized Tombstone Historic Adventures, and have restored many of the community's well-known buildings and sites: the Wells Fargo Museum, which contains 75,000 items from the Old West; the Oriental Steakhouse, once a saloon and gambling hall, which was partly owned by Wyatt Earp in the 1880s; and the Crystal Palace, which once contained the office of town marshal Virgil Earp.

Boot Hill, located off U.S. 80 at the north end of town, is the burial place of (as the name implies) those who died with their boots on. One of the markers, resting over 3 rock-covered graves, reads: "Tom McLowery, Frank McLowery, Billie Clanton, 'murdered on the streets of Tombstone.'"

Most of the other graves are unmarked, and are the resting sites of many of the outlaws who streamed into Tombstone in the 1880s. There were so many killings in the town that peace came only after President Chester A. Arthur threatened to impose martial law in the community. Tombstone somehow survived all its crises, earning it the motto "The town too tough to die."

Mining production has been almost nonexistent since the turn of the century, although periodically some attempt is made to discover new treasures. One of the Old West's richest mines, the State of Maine Mine, was reopened late in 1973. The Sierra Mineral Management Corporation, which is doing the mining, leased rights to the mine from the grandchildren of its original owner, John Escapule, who staked the 1st claim in 1876.

There are tours available at some of the other, more dormant mines. Hourly tours pass through the Goodenough Mine, which provides viewers a glimpse of how high-grade ore was extracted. The temperature inside the mine is a constant 53 deg F., so if you're planning to take the tour, bring along a sweater or jacket.

Editor John P. Clum's 1st column in the Tombstone Epitaph in 1880 read: "Tombstone is a city set upon a hill, promising to vie with ancient Rome, in a fame different in character but no less important." Although it's debatable whether Tombstone can be compared to ancient Rome in any aspect, the townspeople in the Arizona community seem content with things the way they are.

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