Tombstone and Bisbee

January 8, 2017 by
Filed under: Arizona 2016 

We found better accommodation in Tombstone and went into town to for dinner at the Longhorn Restaurant. By that time most of the main street was shut down. The next day we visited Boothill Cemetery. I didn’t take any photos of it or main-street Tombstone mainly because they are so well known in books, movies and folklore.

Wandering a cemetery feels a bit ghoulish (although busloads of kids seemed to be having too much fun in there) but is very interesting. It makes you think about how short life was back then and the various ways a person could die, particularly between 1880 and 1882. Getting shot was popular – while being robbed, in the back while playing billiards, cheating at cards, because you offended the wrong person or ran afoul of the law. Some shot themselves, intentionally and accidentally, fell off horses, drowned, killed in a mine. One poor soul was hung for innocently buying a stolen horse and a little boy succumbed to the tainted mine water he drank. Dying from old age or “natural causes” clearly fell out of favour during this period.

Tombstone itself is interesting but I would have enjoyed it more when I was young and cowboy-crazy, as we all were as kids. I did see Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and Doc Holliday walking menacingly toward the OK Corral and we heard the gunfight that killed Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers but we didn’t pay to see the show.

We left Tombstone and drove southeast with a plan to stop in Bisbee, which we had heard from one of Sigrun’s friends was supposed to be a very nice old town. It was a short, 24 mile drive on Hwy 80 that left the flat desert country and wound into some hills. The first glimpse of the turn-of-the-century (20th) downtown was on our left below the highway. A picture-postcard town full of well-maintained, two-story brick buildings, funky shops and happy, artsy people.

Bisbee’s main street snakes through the bottom of a valley with the rest of the city climbing the hillside above. There are no straight streets or through-roads and no standard grid pattern. The result of a copper mine just south, Bisbee doesn’t appear to have changed much in the past 100 years. We hadn’t intended to stay for the night but we, or more accurately “I”, decided to do just that. A sign outside the Grand Bisbee Hotel instructed us to see the bartender in the saloon two doors down. He unlocked the front door of the establishment and told us to decide which room we want. He has to go back to serving the daytime drinkers. We climb a grand staircase of the hotel built in 1895 to the second floor. It is clear that there have been very few changes in 125 years except for bathrooms for each suite. Lots of faded, floral wallpaper and old furniture. We wandered from room to room, marveling at a couple of luxury suites before settling on the the least expensive but perfectly adequate room. After signing in back in the saloon, I joined the afternoon imbibers while Sigrun checked out some of the shops on main street. Later we returned to the bar for chicken stew and live music. All in all, a lovely day.

Main street Bisbee.




One of the open pits at the copper mine.


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