Tombstone


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Tombstone, AZ. All three of us were excited to go there, and the day we were there was going to be some kind of evening/twilight market. We drove southeast from Kartchner Caverns, and arrived in Tombstone around 12 noon. We stopped just outside of town, where I reserved my campsite for Sunday night (when I would be camping alone) and went into town. Boothill Cemetery was the first place we saw.

Now, I'm a cemetery buff. I just love them and the more eclectic they are the better. we had already been to the Hi Jolly cemetery in Quartzsite AZ, but this is arguably one of the most famous cemeteries in the country, if not the world. And here we are!

So here is the visitor's center and the place you pay something like five bucks to get a paper that tells you about all the graves; you can go look for free, but if you want any information it costs money. Which was fine. And we went through the back door into the cemetery.

This is an original grave marker.

Jim and Jo Nell took these, the two on the right great shots of the outcome of the Gunfight at (behind) the OK Corral, the Clanton/McLaury graves.
Now, don't get me wrong; this is indeed a cool cemetery. Well laid out, lots of historical detail, cool grave markers saying amusing things, lots of blooming cacti and such...but I was having a serious problem with it.

Because all of these grave markers are obviously relatively new. It looked and felt like a put-up job for the tourists. And yet I knew these graves had been famous for over a hundred years, so what was going on?

After I got done looking and taking pictures, I went inside and asked the woman behind the counter. Yes, she said, they were all replaced a couple of decades ago, partly because they were falling down, but also because the originals were iron crosses...and they had huge problems with them conducting LIGHTNING.

She pointed me toward some pictures on the wall of the original gravestones, and they did indeed say the same cutesy things...and they were indeed made of metal. The other thing I found out was that this cemetery was neglected until a townsperson started a drive to refurbish it in (I think) the late 1940s, so that's also why a lot of the markers had to be replaced.

So okay. Not as old-looking as I had wanted, but at least a pretty accurate reproduction. The metal cross under the bush (above) is one of the original markers.

These are photos of the original markers.
After we got into Tombstone proper (the old part of town, that is, which is three by four streets, pretty much) Jo Nell and I wandered around looking for trouble. I wanted to go into this place, which advertised a museum and the 'largest rose tree in the world'. Which pretty much seemed to be the case, it was quite immense. It had bloomed probably the month before; the blossoms (and they were tiny, about an inch across) were almost all dried by this point.
After seeing the tree, we went into the museum.
Which was small, two or three rooms with random historical stuff. These two pictures were the most interesting things there, the photo of San Xavier del Bac...and a photo of the inside of some guy's head...!
The courthouse, which had a good gift shop and also a museum, although we didn't go to that museum. But here's a light fixture from the museum, very pretty! I never get tired of blooming cacti. And of course the actors replaying the gunfight, every hour on the hour...
I was amused by the foood sign.

The Birdcage Theater is actually one of the real things left in the town, a lot of shady stuff happened there, and you can take a tour of the building behind the gift shop and hear all about it...but it was WAY expensive.

Jo Nell at the counter talking to the saleslady.

The Epitaph was one of the coolest things in town, actually. The old presses, the intertype machine that replaced them, and actual copies of the paper during the whole gunfight and trial period.
Just an OK cafe, not a great one... And a bird that landed in someone's yard. A gigantic ant. And a really cool bench.
I was pretty grouchy this day, as much as I enjoyed Kartchner Caverns and most of Tombstone. But we'd been on the road for a while, and I was completely out of sorts by the afternoon...Jo Nell had to talk me into buying some jewelry that has since become my favorite, and I'm so glad she made me do it! but I was really really grumpy. Partly because I just was, and partly because I was annoyed at the fake western stuff; I wanted real history, not touristy silliness, and although there is a lot of real history here, you have to look for it.

But I wanted to do something 'real'...so when we met up around 3:30 pm, I said, I want to take the tour of the Goodenough mine. Do you guys want to? and we discussed it...Jo Nell wasn't much interested until I pointed out that it was underground and therefore many degrees cooler than the ambient temperature aboveground, which was not making her happy. And after that she was in. So we took the 4:15 tour, and it was indeed interesting- Steve. the guy who gave the tour, (in the pic with me and Jo Nell in our adorable hats) was amusing, and it was indeed cool down there. The Goodenough mine was one of a bunch of mines that Ed Scheiffelin started up in the early 1880s, and it made him a ton of money. The pics of rocks are showing the stope (where the ore is), several of the digging sites, and a huge lump of ore sticking up out of the ground.

Jo Nell was VERY tired and hot...