5/26/2013

Too Tough to Die

The title of this week's column is a familiar phrase in Cochise County. It's the descriptor for the infamous Tombstone. If you visit Casa Wallace, we'll make sure you get to this icon of Western history. Founded in 1879 by Ed Schiefflelin, it became a boom town in no time. This was because of the silver mines that dotted the countryside around the town. Tombstone was the county seat for many years, until Bisbee managed to wrestle it away in 1929. By that time Tombstone was in a major decline.

Stagecoach rides
Ed Schieffelin was a prospector who struck silver in 1879 and a tent city sprang up as mining efforts grew. He and his brother, Al along with another business partner staked their claim for the Lucky Cuss mine and other fortune seekers poured into the area. Within a year, a real live town sprang up with a hotel, saloons, stores, the Bird Cage Theater, and so much more.  Prostitution was legal in Tombstone as long as you were licensed. The "soiled doves" had quite the business during Tombstone's heyday and you can still see the "cribs" where the ladies entertained their clientele in The Birdcage Theater. The theater is the only remaining original building in Tombstone.  No planning and shoddy building practices made the place a fire waiting to happen, which it did--twice. At the height of its popularity there were 10,000 residents and celebrities of all sorts walked the streets in the town too tough to die.  Lillie Langtry, Little Egypt, Diamond Jim Brady, Bat Masterson, and of course the Earps.

Shooting some paintball bullets
Luxury was the name of the game in the 1880s, and goods of all sorts were brought in by train from Europe, California, and the East coast. You could have the finest champagne and fresh oysters at the hotel. If you had enough cash, you might get a seat at the table for the poker games that ran continuously at the Bird Cage Theater, 24/7/365 for eight years, five months, and three days.  It is said that over $10,000,000 exchanged hands at the table where Doc Holliday, Diamond Jim, George Hearst, and many others played cards. The Bird Cage Theater houses many pieces of history in its basement today. A hearse made in Rochester, NY trimmed out in 24K gold is one of interest. The hearse's most famous passengers were the Clantons killed in the OK Corral gunfight. Its value is estimated at $1 million.

Tombstone is also home to the world's largest rose, a Lady Banksia rose painstakingly transported from England to the Wild West in 1885. It now covers over 8,000 square feet and for a fee you can see it behind the protective walls of its home.

Boot Hill Cemetery is just on the outskirts of town and is well worth a visit. Some of the Cowboy gang is buried there - the Clantons and Bill Brocious. The OK Corral is still there and reenactments are available throughout the day.

When the silver mines began to flood in 1886 with the demise of the primary pump for the mines, the end was in sight for Tombstone. The pump was destroyed by you guessed it --fire.  It didn't take long for the town to empty and by the turn of the century, its population had declined to a several hundred.

There are lots more stories about Tombstone. It was quite the place and thoroughly wicked during those wild days. Shootings, prostitution, gambling, drinking, murder, corrupt lawmen, you name it, it was happening in Tombstone.  Today it's a favorite tourist stop, where you can interact with cowboys and ladies of the evening on the boardwalks in town. You can visit the Tombstone Courthouse that still has the gallows out back. A stagecoach ride around town with a knowledgeable guide will give you a good overview of its history. You can dress up, play cowboy, visit a mine, wander through the Bird Cage and see where the men played poker in the basement, and get some BBQ. There's a celebration of some sort in Tombstone at the drop of a cowboy hat. One of the biggest weekends is Helldorado Days in the fall. Celebrities still show up to get a taste of the Old West and kids of all ages enjoy the ambiance of "The Town Too Tough to Die."

Our visitors (Robyn & Jill) outside the OK Corral


A little Tombstone humor

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Positively encouraging

5/26/2013

Too Tough to Die

The title of this week's column is a familiar phrase in Cochise County. It's the descriptor for the infamous Tombstone. If you visit Casa Wallace, we'll make sure you get to this icon of Western history. Founded in 1879 by Ed Schiefflelin, it became a boom town in no time. This was because of the silver mines that dotted the countryside around the town. Tombstone was the county seat for many years, until Bisbee managed to wrestle it away in 1929. By that time Tombstone was in a major decline.

Stagecoach rides
Ed Schieffelin was a prospector who struck silver in 1879 and a tent city sprang up as mining efforts grew. He and his brother, Al along with another business partner staked their claim for the Lucky Cuss mine and other fortune seekers poured into the area. Within a year, a real live town sprang up with a hotel, saloons, stores, the Bird Cage Theater, and so much more.  Prostitution was legal in Tombstone as long as you were licensed. The "soiled doves" had quite the business during Tombstone's heyday and you can still see the "cribs" where the ladies entertained their clientele in The Birdcage Theater. The theater is the only remaining original building in Tombstone.  No planning and shoddy building practices made the place a fire waiting to happen, which it did--twice. At the height of its popularity there were 10,000 residents and celebrities of all sorts walked the streets in the town too tough to die.  Lillie Langtry, Little Egypt, Diamond Jim Brady, Bat Masterson, and of course the Earps.

Shooting some paintball bullets
Luxury was the name of the game in the 1880s, and goods of all sorts were brought in by train from Europe, California, and the East coast. You could have the finest champagne and fresh oysters at the hotel. If you had enough cash, you might get a seat at the table for the poker games that ran continuously at the Bird Cage Theater, 24/7/365 for eight years, five months, and three days.  It is said that over $10,000,000 exchanged hands at the table where Doc Holliday, Diamond Jim, George Hearst, and many others played cards. The Bird Cage Theater houses many pieces of history in its basement today. A hearse made in Rochester, NY trimmed out in 24K gold is one of interest. The hearse's most famous passengers were the Clantons killed in the OK Corral gunfight. Its value is estimated at $1 million.

Tombstone is also home to the world's largest rose, a Lady Banksia rose painstakingly transported from England to the Wild West in 1885. It now covers over 8,000 square feet and for a fee you can see it behind the protective walls of its home.

Boot Hill Cemetery is just on the outskirts of town and is well worth a visit. Some of the Cowboy gang is buried there - the Clantons and Bill Brocious. The OK Corral is still there and reenactments are available throughout the day.

When the silver mines began to flood in 1886 with the demise of the primary pump for the mines, the end was in sight for Tombstone. The pump was destroyed by you guessed it --fire.  It didn't take long for the town to empty and by the turn of the century, its population had declined to a several hundred.

There are lots more stories about Tombstone. It was quite the place and thoroughly wicked during those wild days. Shootings, prostitution, gambling, drinking, murder, corrupt lawmen, you name it, it was happening in Tombstone.  Today it's a favorite tourist stop, where you can interact with cowboys and ladies of the evening on the boardwalks in town. You can visit the Tombstone Courthouse that still has the gallows out back. A stagecoach ride around town with a knowledgeable guide will give you a good overview of its history. You can dress up, play cowboy, visit a mine, wander through the Bird Cage and see where the men played poker in the basement, and get some BBQ. There's a celebration of some sort in Tombstone at the drop of a cowboy hat. One of the biggest weekends is Helldorado Days in the fall. Celebrities still show up to get a taste of the Old West and kids of all ages enjoy the ambiance of "The Town Too Tough to Die."

Our visitors (Robyn & Jill) outside the OK Corral


A little Tombstone humor

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