Too Tough Tombstone and Treasured Touristsby John Scott on Jun. 21, 2012, under Uncategorized
There I was, sitting at my desk inside of a tall office building somewhere in New York City, deciding to take a vacation in Arizona. It was gearing up to be another humid summer, and I really wasn’t looking forward to standing on a subway platform pouring sweat. Instead, I would spend a couple of days in Tucson exploring, and then drive to Tombstone. Thankfully, that vacation changed my life.
Like many tourists who visit here, I had to see Tombstone, the “Town To Tough To Die”. At that point in my life, I was done looking at skyscrapers and wanted to experience the Old West by being in a real town that survived it. I definitively wasn’t disappointed. Twelve years later and I still go down to visit museums, catch a gunfight, and grab a bite to eat. To native Arizonans, it doesn’t seem to have the same effect. So, Tombstone’s challenge is to bring them back.
The town has been through quite a few changes over the past decade. Closing off some of Allen Street and covering the concrete with dirt to add more realism. Taking that same dirt away to appease shopkeepers. Re-painting so they wouldn’t lose their historical status. All this and more that we read about in the papers. It seems that there are still warring factions down there, but now they don’t use guns to settle their differences…I think.
It’s nice to see some new businesses popping up that have the history at heart. The Good Enough Mine, one of Ed Schieffelin’s babies, was opened to the public in 2007 for tours. The Western Heritage Museum has amazing displays that will thrill your inner history buff. Andrea’s Museum of Victorian Fashion sports a large collection of clothes worn in the frontier heyday.
For gunfight re-enactors, Tombstone is the mecca. Events are held annually that invite groups from all over the country to come and perform shootouts in the streets. At Helldorado Days, there are so many folks moseying the streets in 1880’s garb that you feel like you stepped off of a time machine. Incidentally, I have died in the streets of Tombstone many times. Odd as it may sound, it was a great experience. OK, the pavement was really hot, but those are pitfalls of dying early in a skit.
In the end, Tombstone is a true historic Arizona town, kept alive by a famous shootout that occurred on October 26, 1881. Thanks to this event, many of the buildings have been kept up and preserved to keep the feel of that time period for all who make the pilgrimage. Simply walking around one can read signs that tell of other notable events in this town’s history. With daily gunfights, and people wandering around in period dress, it pulls at the historic heartstrings. If you haven’t been in awhile, head on down. Saddle up to the bar, have a cold one, and relive the rough and tumble days of America’s frontier. Just down start a saloon brawl.