Tombstone, Arizona ~ The wild west comes to life for us

Monday, January 16th (Martin Luther King Day) ~ Tombstone, Arizona

Boothill Graveyard, Tombstone, Arizona

Boothill Grave Yard, Tombstone, Arizona

A bit of a combination of tourist attraction and living museum, Tombstone certainly fills you up with facts and fiction about the wild, wild west. The town was inhabited with miners, cattlemen, gamblers, heavy drinkers, gunslingers, cattle thieves, a few lawmen, four churches, 110 saloons, and 2500-4000 prostitutes. 

We lost a day due to heavy rains, and did not want to be further obstructed today, so we braved the cold and took off walking the few blocks from our RV park into town.

The town was founded in 1879 by miner Ed Schieffelin, who was told he was nuts to be roaming around the Indian territory by himself looking for silver. They warned him that all he would find was his tombstone. So when he did find his silver ore, and staked his claim, he named it Tombstone.

Tombstone Courthouse

Tombstone Courthouse and State Historic Park

First stop was at the old court-house, which today is a museum and well worth the stop. I was especially interested in reading about some of the characters who initially settled this area including bigger-than-life names like Doc Holiday, Bat Masterson, Johnny Ringo and Wyatt Earp.

They say that Doc Holiday was trained as a dentist, but that he pulled more triggers than teeth.

Henry Clay Hooker made his mark when he purchased 500 turkeys in California for $1.50 each and then HERDING them across Nevada and into the gold fields where he sold them to the hungry miners for $5.00 each.

Can you envision someone “herding” turkeys????

This is the main street of Tombstone

This is the main street of Tombstone

Allen Street, the main street through town, could have been a back-lot hollywood set, but it is the real deal with most of the town looking just like it did back in 1881 when the silver mining boom hit.

Our day was filled to the brim with activities that ranged from seeing the shootout at the OK Corral, watched a show at the Tombstone Histogram, having lunch at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, taking a Trolley Tour, tramping around the Boothill Grave Yard, seeing the world’s largest rose tree, watching another gunfight at the Old Tombstone Western Town, checking out the Crystal Palace Saloon and then topping off the day with a Ghost Tour at the Historic Bird Cage Theatre.

Prostitution was legal here in Tombstone. The girls were licensed and had medical exams every coupe of weeks. The tiny shacks that they used to service their customers were called “cribs” and the “ladies” could have as many as 80 fellas visit in one evening!

I purchased a book today called “Soiled Doves” (what the prostitutes were called) about their life and business in Tombstone. I think it will be mind-boggling to read…

Shootout at the OK Corral

Shootout at the OK Corral

Inside Big Nose Kate's Saloon

Inside Big Nose Kate’s Saloon

Confrontation in the street

Confrontation in the street

Old Tombstone Western Town

Old Tombstone Western Town

Our rather short visit to Boothill Graveyard was a highlight. There is a descriptive list of the more than 250 graves that you can purchase for $3.00. It reads like an old movie script with descriptions like:

  • Seymour Dye, Killed by Indians, 1882
  • Geo. Johnson. Hanged by Mistake
  • Delia William, 1881, Suicide
  • Alfred Cantrell, Shot, 1881
  • Margarita. Stabbed by Gold Dollar
  • Kansas Kid, A cowboy killed in a stampede

The pamphlet gives much more detail about many of those buried here and well worth the price.

Booth Grave Yard

Boothill Graveyard

World's Largest Rose Bush (prettier when in bloom in the spring)

World’s Largest Rose Bush (prettier when in bloom in the spring)

Bird Cage Theatre

Bird Cage Theatre

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful to have had the chance to step back in time to get a glimpse of what the wild, wild west was like. Learning a bit more about this colorful period in our countries history was fascinating.

Our next stop is in Bisbee. Hope you will join us 🙂

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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53 Responses to Tombstone, Arizona ~ The wild west comes to life for us

  1. Anna Cottage says:

    How wonderful, lucky you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. tippysmom2 says:

    Sounds like a fun day. The town must have been huge if 2500 prostitutes serviced 80 men per day! That’s a lot of people! I’m surprised that they were licensed and had to have physicals every couple of weeks. I guess I didn’t know that they understood STDs back then.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. joliesattic says:

    When you said 80, I said “Ouch!”
    I’ve read the book “Soiled Doves” It takes you to brothels all across the country. I cried at what these young girls went through. Many were just little girls, as young as 12 as I recall. Especially the ones in San Francisco, some imported from China that were caged, marketed at 25 cents and forced to take on as many as possible. The mortality rate was unbelievable. I think I remember reading that some girls (rarely) took to it easily while most suffered.
    The reasons some women went into prostitution varied, the “lucky” ones ended up with husbands. It is a good historical read.
    I’ve not been to Tombstone, but I have been to the Hole in the Wall Ranch in Cody Wyoming where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and their Wild Bunch gang hung out. It was a small town and I remember going into one of their “cribs” and noticed a wash basin near the bed.
    Perhaps they were more aware than we thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your insights into “Soiled Doves”. I’m 1/2 way through reading Danielle Steele’s latest bestseller, “Blue”, and should wrap it up in a couple more days then plan on diving in. I don’t anticipate this will be an easy or pleasant read, but the topic will surely be informative, especially after our visit to Tombstone.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Camie says:

    We enjoyed our visit to Tombstone not so long ago. It really is like stepping into the Wild West. Looks like you had a full adventure there. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Camie, we sure managed to squeeze a lot into our time there.


  6. Enjoyed your post. And your pics too…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice post! “Herding” turkeys sounds hilarious, I’m wondering if he got with all of them at the destination. If yes, then he made a fortune!!! Btw, great blog:)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. poeturja says:

    Great post! Just finished reading The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams. It’s a bio with lots of fiction about Josephine Marcus who came to Tombstone to marry Johnny Behane but wound up with Wyatt Earp. Lots of history in it but fun. It was nice to see your photos so close to my finishing the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’d love to visit here and see the cemetery and that rose bush in bloom

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kim Gorman says:

    I loved this post! How fun. My husband and I have got to go! We love westerns and neither of us has been out west. What else is around there besides Tombstone, since we live back east and would need to fly.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Widdershins says:

    Another commenter said the life was back-breaking for the men, but it was heart-breaking for the women.

    That is one impressive rose ‘bush’! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Terry says:

    Very fun. Isn’t it nice to just pop in somewhere, weather and all, and just enjoy the area. Then go back to your own little house on wheels.


    • Terry, I had not realized just how much I would appreciate having my own bed to crawl into at the end of the day, with my pillow and my sheets. The small kitchen where I can fix a meal for us without worrying about Tim’s allergies, a refrigerator to pull out a cold beverage, and a closet and drawers where I can unpack once and then easily access what I need for the day. Loving this!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. An amazing journey back in time. I’ve seen the movie Tombstone, but this sounds like it provided you with so many more real life details.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. reocochran says:

    I liked the sights of Tombstone! I enjoyed the Kevin Costner movie, too. The theater and the rose bush were pretty elements I was not expecting to see! Smiles, Robin

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Robin! I need to look up the Kevin Costner movie and try to watch it when we get home.

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        Joanne and Tim, you will enjoy it, I think. I tend to block out the violence if there was some in it. My youngest daughter is 31 and we also enjoyed the new Magnificent Seven movie. It definitely has violence. The movie has great moments though.
        For fun, My Name Is Doris really was special with Sally Fields. The film has some sad parts but overall it was one I think everyone I suggested seeing it, enjoyed it. Take care and safe travels!


      • Thank you for your recommendations. I always appreciate hearing about favorites from other people.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. This looks like such a fun place to visit. I think it would be especially fun to take foreign friends to this iconic American spot.


  16. Wow, I thought Bisbee looked like a movie set and now I see Tombstone. I love your graveyard photos.


  17. Have been to Arizona several times. Hoping to possibly move there in the very near future. Thank you for sharing your adventures.
    (P.S) Tell your wife she has too pretty a smile to be a good criminal! 🙂


  18. Great post. It is so fun to fuel our dreams by seeing your adventures. Please keep sharing your journey through pics and words.


  19. What an interesting place. I can see why the graveyard was the highlight 😀


  20. Pingback: Scottsdale, AZ ~ How a roll of Tums ended up costing $32 | A Note From Abroad

  21. We’re going to Tombstone in one year’s time and this post has made me a little bit more excited about doing so! Great post.


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