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A friend at the Tombstone tourist office says that people sometimes call to ask what time Tombstone opens, as if it were a gated theme park. Not so. The town of Tombstone is real, if a little garish and mercenary. But that's nothing new. It was garish in the old days as well, and everyone who came to a boomtown was looking to make a quick buck. At any rate, the streets here really are the same streets once walked by the legends of the west.

The town itself was laid out in 1879 about a mile from the spot where founder Ed Schieffelin made his first discovery of silver. It was one of the leading cities of the Southwest in the 1880s and the center of an important mining industry. Like any mining town it attracted its share of drifters, dancehall girls, saloonkeepers and gamblers. After the mines were closed as a result of flooding, Tombstone continued as the county seat until 1929. The 1882 courthouse is now a State Historic Park. The town is a living museum and a historic site listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Read a short History of Old Tombstone

Crystal Palace, 1938, photo by Dorothea Lange

The Crystal Palace Saloon, 1938, Dorothea Lange photo,
Library of Congress, Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945

Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Information Center Corner of Allen and 4th Streets (520) 457-9317, (888) 457-3929

Old Tombstone
Allen Street is the focus of most of the tourist activity in Tombstone, where Museums and attractions include the Bird Cage Theatre Museum, the Crystal Palace and the OK Corral. To get to Boot Hill Cemetery just follow Highway 80 a little way out of town to the northwest. The Tombstone Stage features daily rides, and several local groups stage gunfight re-enactments several times each day.

The original Cochise County Courthouse was built in 1882 and served until 1929 when the county seat was moved to Bisbee.

Tombstone courthouse building, 1940

The old county courthouse as it appeared in 1940 before being renovated as a museum. Photo by Lee Russell, Library of Congress, FSA-OWI photos, 1935-1945

See more Tombstone attractions.

Tombstone, Bisbee, Sierra Vista

The map above shows the relationship of Tombstone to Sierra Vista and Bisbee.