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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tombstone Continued

There was no gunfight to witness, so we walked further down the street to the famous Bird Cage Theatre, also referred to as The Bird Cage Opera House Saloon.



Back in the 1880's this was a combination saloon, gambling hall and a house of ill repute. In 1882, the New York Times referred to the Bird Cage as, "the Roughest, Bawdiest, and most Wicked night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast." It has been said that for nine consecutive years it never closed its doors, operating 24 hours a day. During this time period, 16 gun and knife fights killed 26 people. There are still 140 bullet holes through-out the building, in the ceilings, walls, and floors. Most brawls happened in the barroom, which has many bullet holes. One of the most brutal killings was that of Margarita, a lady of the evening, who was sitting on the lap of a gambler, Billy Milgreen. Billy's regular girl, Gold Dollar, entered the room, flew into a jealous rage and cut Margarita's heart out with a double edged stiletto. She fled out the back door when she heard that the Marshall was coming. No charges were pressed because they couldn't find the murder weapon. Surprisingly, 101 years later, the weapon was found behind the building and is now on display inside.

We toured the lobby of the Bird Cage, viewed some bullet holes, saw the beautiful wooden bar and large mirror above it, and saw the famous stairs leading up to the rooms upstairs.







We did not take the tour for $10/person that takes you behind the scenes. After reading more on this theater, I think it would be worth it next time we're in town.


We browsed through a few shops and then stopped to see a small show about the ghosts of Tombstone as told by Doc Holiday. It costs $5/adults, $4/seniors. I wouldn't recommend it; as a matter of fact, I think it's a rip off. There is about four rooms that you walk through, and in each room you press a button. Doc Holiday appears in a hologram among some old things in a room. There's some special effects like guns popping and air blowing, but not worth it.

We walked a couple of blocks over to the Courthouse. That cost $4/apiece to enter. It was filled with a lot of period pieces. The best places were the courtroom and the outside gallows.




The last place we stopped before leaving Tombstone was Boothill Cemetery. It is free to get in, but you can pay $2.00 for a descriptive list of the graves. Boothill Cemetery was originally called, "The Tombstone Cemetery" and was the burial place for the town's first pioneers. Around 1884, what is now called Boothill cemetery, was opened as a burial place. Because of the many violent deaths of the early days, the cemetery became know as Boothill Graveyard. Some of the people interred here: outlaws with their victims, suicides, hangings, (legal and otherwise), and regular citizens of Tombstone's early days. Boothill Graveyard got its name because many of the people who were buried there with their boots on. The soil was pretty hard, so the graves are shallow. The stones are piled high upon the body. The cemetery is filled with small mounds of stones and wooden crosses.



It was a breathtaking drive back to the campground watching the sun set behind the mountains, leaving the looming giants in the dark while the sky turned from blue to pink to purple and finally to midnight blue.


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