Tombstone AZ

Tombstone AZ Is The History Of The Southwest

Visiting Tombstone AZ Is An Great Day Trip From Tucson AZ

Tombstone Arizona

Tombstone AZThe town of Tombstone AZ means many things to many people. For most, it creates images of gunfights, dusty streets, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and an endless number of old western movie scenes.

Through the years, over 50 different movie and TV projects have been connected to Tombstone AZ.  Not to surprisingly, the leading character in every show was Wyatt Earp. Watching television during the 50’s and 60’s brought the old west into many homes. Many shows and movies were based on the history of Tombstone AZ and the events that took place.

Surprisingly, younger people frequently don’t recognize that Tombstone AZ is a real town just 60 miles southeast of Tucson AZ. Tombstone actually has real people living there, not just actors. Some families are decedents of those who have lived here in the “good old days”. The continued occupancy of Tombstone is one of the reasons Tombstone has been tagged “The Town Too Tough to Die”

To Set The Stage – No Pun Intended

Tombstone AZ is in Cochise County that is  located in the southeast corner of Arizona. Tombstone AZ was founded and named in 1877 by Ed Schieffelin. Schieffelin was posted at Camp Huachuca. Now the Army intelligence base of Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista AZ. To Scheiffelin, the rich colors of the surrounding mountains suggested the promise of silver and gold.

When the occasion allowed, Ed would go to the mountains and dig for ore. As he was venturing out one day, a soldier cautioned about the Apaches in the area. It is believed the soldier offered Ed the advise that “All you’ll find in those hills is your tomb-stone”.

In February 1878, while hiding from Apache Indians, Schieffelin found silver.   Perhaps due to the soldiers observation, Schieffelin registered two lots of ground with the silver as; “the Tombstone” and “the Graveyard”. Shortly afterwards, Ed found two more areas with silver ore.

Silver and Gold

Between 1880 and 1886, over 40 million dollars in silver was mined from the area. To put that in perspective, that is around 1.7 billion dollars in the present day economy. Needless to say, Tombstone flourished and its population grew from 100 to around 15,000 in less than seven years.

As the population grew and easy money became available, outlaws and criminals found their way  to Tombstone AZ. Others arrived without notoriety, but became legends. Wyatt Earp arrived in the summer of 1879. Known as an efficient, but undistinguished, peace officer in the Kansas cow towns of Wichita and Dodge City. Wyatt was also a part-time gambler or “sporting man”. His arrival in Tombstone coincided with the early beginnings of the silver boom.

While Tombstone was founded by Ed Schieffelin, it persists because of Wyatt Earp and his singular exploits on the Arizona frontier of the early 1880’s. In the spring and summer of 1880, Earp did well for himself and invested a portion of his gambling income in various mining and water-rights proposals. Wyatt and his brothers had done little to distinguish themselves from any of the hundreds of other adventurers arriving each week.

In the early 1880’s, Tombstone  was considered one of the most notorious and violence towns in the west. Interestingly, Tombstone AZ in these early times, may also have been one of the more civilized towns in the West. The city boosted 4 church, school, two banks, newspaper (“The Epitaph”) and one opera house.

Fires nearly caused the death of Tombstone AZ – twice

There was a massive fire in 1881 that destroyed much of Main Street. Another fire in 1882 again destroyed a major section of the town. After the fires, Tombstone AZ was rebuilt to ifs former state.

The gun fight at the OK Corral took place in 1881. It is would be been made one of the mostly remembered gun fights in the history of Tombstone AZ. It also launched the legend and history of Wyatt Earp.


In the northwest corner of Tombstone AZ is the famous Boot hill graveyard. Just behind the Tombstone graveyard is a solitary pyramid looking stone monument. It marks the grave of  Ed Schieffelin. His resting place is the spot were he was hiding from the Apaches and found the silver ore that made him rich.

Tombstone AZ is about an hour drive from Tucson AZ and well worth the trip. Visitors are treated to reenactments of the gun fight at the OK coral through out the day. The is ample opportunity to stroll along the boardwalk and imagine what it would have been like to live inn those times. Many of the buildings have stood for over 100 years and the street scenes will whisk you back to that first Glenn Ford western. Buggy rides will take you for a tour of Tombstone.

Tombstone azWalk through the Boot hill cemetery and read the classic epitaphs from long ago – Here lies Lester Moore, four shots from a 44, No Les, No More.

Tombstone is a great day trip, along with Bisbee and Tubac, from Tucson and all are great places to help you in “Reliving the Old West”!

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Tombstone AZ was last modified: June 15th, 2015 by ben4wp

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Tombstone AZ was last modified: June 15th, 2015 by ben4wp

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Tombstone AZ was last modified: June 15th, 2015 by ben4wp

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