December 17, 2006

Tombstone Tourist Tour

My friend had never had the opportunity to see this part of the country and I think I gave him the fastest tour in the West as we hit the high points of South Eastern Arizona, an area rich in different cultures and history. The sparse landscapes are so different from the views in the East. Here you can see for what seems like forever.

This trip started in New Hampshire where history goes back many more years and you can't see the horizon for all of the green growing things.

...and ended in Tombstone Arizona, where the 1880's are the history. From here we took several days to look at a bit of what the area had to offer.

My restored house is on the back side of town; an old adobe that was once part of a cluster of what is believed to be the last operating stagecoach stop.

My friends from Ohio now own the ruins of the actual
alleged stage stop. It is just to the East of my house. Both properties are on the wrong side of the tracks -
the silver mine side of the Southern Pacific Rail Road.


Tombstone is unique in that several seconds of fame, known as the gunfight at the OK Corral in the late 1800's has kept the town alive. People tend to forget that it was a large Silver strike that started the town.

We went 25 miles South to Bisbee, a copper mining town. We walked the streets of Old Bisbee and looked in the windows of quaint shops and looked at houses clinging to the sides of the canyon.

Just at the end of the canyon is the Lavender Pit, once one of the largest open pit copper mines in the world. It's hard to imagine that the mountain was once as high as the pit is deep. The mine is now closed.

We went further south to the border town of Douglas and ate good Mexican food in the Gadson Hotel. The hotel has an amazing original Tiffany window that is all cactus and desert scenes. From there we took a walk over the border into Mexico and and did a bit of shopping.

We spent a day exploring ghost towns to the East of Tombstone. Ghost towns here do not look like what most people think they should look like.

Gleeson has a few foundations left.

...and the remains of a Patented, escape-proof jail. It also has a turquoise mine that is said to date to prehistoric times.

Pearce is another mining site that is also now a ghost town. It once had a gold mine that one day collapsed. We pic-nic'd at the Pearce cemetery, a desolate, wind swept location. We wondered why one would padlock a grave site.

Bob kept asking about real cactus, you know, those tall ones that have arms? They grow only in very selected areas. On the way back to the airport in Tucson I took him to look at the saguaros
and he was amazed at just how tall they did grow. You can figure the height of this relatively young cactus as Bob is 6'2" tall.

He said he enjoyed himself, saw a lot of interesting things and allowed as he "could possibly live in the desert." However, we only scratched the surface of things to do and see within a 50 mile radius of Tombstone.

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