Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"T" is for Tombstone

My husband, Jim, and I traveled this great country of ours for SEVEN years in our RV. We saw many wonderful sights, visited famous and not so famous cities, and wandered through many a National Park. I have blogged through all our travels. I've stumbled upon the "Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2013". I decided to jump on board this crazy train and share with all of you places I have seen in my travels.

Day 20 "Blogging from A-Z Challenge"!

is for Tombstone, AZ

If you want to get a feel for a real old West town, you should visit Tombstone. 

This is the place of the infamous shoot out at the O.K.Corral where Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Virgil and Morgan Earp fought the Clantons and McLaurys on October 26, 1881.

Now it is a touristy town with most of the activity happening on Allen Street, which is about three blocks long. You are immediately thrown back into time with the stagecoaches, and covered wagons (all for sight-seeing) that traverse the dirt roads.

 No automobiles are allowed on the road. Employees of the local establishments are dressed up in character and can be seen both in the stores and walking the streets. It was not uncommon to see cowboys wearing chaps, holsters with guns, hats, or vests. There are many gift shops, saloons, and restaurants lining both sides of the street. 

I wanted to go to Big Nose Kate's Saloon but we couldn't get in unless we wanted to wait for over a half hour. Big Nose Kate is believed to have been the first prostitute in Tombstone. But her biggest claim to fame was in the company she kept - she was Doc Holiday's girlfriend. It seems ole Kate helped break Doc out of jail in Ft. Griffin, Texas before he was about to be hung. Together they traveled West earning money, Doc by gambling, Kate by doing tricks, and I don't mean by playing "fetch".

Big Nose Kate's Saloon was formally known as the Grand Hotel in 1880.

It is said to be haunted by "Swamper", the janitor who lived in the basement of the hotel. The basement, deep below the surface of Tombstone's streets, was not too far from the many mine shafts which ran beneath the town. Swamper spent many a nights tunneling an entrance from his bedroom to the nearby mine shafts. When his tunnel was finished, he hit the mother lode, accessing a thick vein of silver. What he did after hoarding his silver is unknown, but many believe it may still be hidden somewhere beneath Big Kate’s Saloon. Swamper has appeared in photos and has been seen roaming the halls, stairways and especially the basement. Some believe that he hid his silver in the building and returns to protect it.

This is the infamous Bird Cage Theatre.

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. 

You can tour the lobby for free where you can see various bullet holes and the famous stairs leading to the second floor. At that time, it was $10/person for the tour. We did not take the tour, but if we ever went back to Tombstone, I would like to see the tour. I think it would be very interesting.

Two other places of interest: The Tombstone Courthouse

and on the outskirsts of town, Boothill Cemetery, which is definitely worthwhile to visit, 

so see these graves, (shootout at the O.K. Corral)

or this one,

or this one.

You can see, some of the sayings are quite funny. Again, worth a visit.

And thanks for YOUR visit here today on my blog!


Valerie said...

OMG 'hung by mistake' ... poor guy.

Fabulous pictures, Pat, made me want to go there.

Brian Miller said...

ha. i have been here as is a pretty cool place...and the tombstones pretty funny for sure...if i am remembering correctly they have a pretty cool dinner theatre there as well...

JoJo said...

AWesome shots. There's another one for my bucket list!

Banker Chick said...

We were going to stop in Tombstone on our last trip from CA to Mo, But Mr BC got sick and we decided to move on. Ended up taking 4 days across TX 'cause he got to sick to move on.
Katie atBankerchick Scratchings

Adam said...

I like the old western style