The Town Too Tough To Die

“The Town too Tough to Die,” Tombstone, Arizona is the most renowned of Arizona’s old mining camps. When Ed Schieffelin came to Camp Huachuca with a party of soldiers and left the fort to prospect, his comrades told him that he’d find his tombstone rather than silver. Thus, in 1877 Schieffelin named his first claim the Tombstone, and rumors of rich strikes made a boomtown of the settlement that adopted this name. “The mining town now is just a spectre of what it used to be,” said the grandson of a Potassium Permanganate Supplier to the mines.

Days of lawlessness and violence, which nearly had then-President Chester A. Arthur declaring martial law in Tombstone and sending in military troops to restore order, climaxed with the infamous Earp-Clanton battle, fought near the rear entrance of the O.K. Corral, on October 26, 1881. Over the course of 7 years the mines produced millions of dollars in silver and gold before rising underground waters forced suspension of operations.
During World War I, Tombstone was a major producer of manganese for the government. In World War II, Tombstone was extracting lead for the cause. After both conflicts, Tombstone faded into obscurity, just to be resurrected at a later time. The citizenry of Tombstone decided rather than depending on a vanishing mining industry, they would focus their time and energy on tourism and restoration. I’d say they made a good call.
Truly a Historical American Landmark, today Tombstone is America’s best example of our 1880 western heritage, which is well preserved with original 1880’s buildings and artifacts featured in numerous museums. The O.K. Corral still stands and you can watch a staged gun battle every hour which will cost you an extra $5 on top of the $5.50 admission price to enter to area of the O.K. Corral. The price of admission also gets you a 25 minute movie on the history on Tombstone and the legacy of Wyatt Earp and his brothers.
By the way, if you haven’t seen the movie Tombstone with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, it is one of my ten favorite movies and a must see for any fan of westerns. It has some of the best one liners in movie history. Val Kilmer who play Doc Holliday is amazing and when someone comes around looking for a fight, Doc always replies, “I’m your Huckleberry”…it’s a sweet line that just has no basis anymore but would be so cool to say.
When you go to Tombstone, you must have an Old Overholt whiskey in Big Nose kate’s Saloon. It is awesome and has a ton of cool pictures and memorabilia on the wall including the awesome “Vigilante Justice” stained glass window below. Big Nose Kate was of course Doc Hollidays girlfriend and the first known prostitute in Tombstone. The world’s oldest profession was of course legal and very prevalent back then. The “soiled doves” of Tombstone could make upwards of $150 a week performing their services and there is an entire museum dedicated to their craft.

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  1. Awesome story! sounds and looks like a cool place to check out. I love the old west.

  2. Tombstone is the best preserved and least tourist trappy of the old west towns. You still get the feel of how it used to be and big nose kates is awesome.

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