Tombstone, in Cochise County, is probably the most

famous and most glamorized mining town in America. Prospector

Ed Schieffelin was told he would only find his tombstone in the

“Apache-infested” San Pedro Valley. Thus he named his first silver

claim Tombstone, and it became the name of the town. Tombstone

is situated on a mesa between the Dragoon and Huachuca

Mountains at an elevation of 4,540 feet. It incorporated in 1881.

While the area later became notorious for saloons, gambling houses

and the Earp-Clanton shoot-out, in the 1880s Tombstone was larger

than Tucson and had become the most cultivated city in the

West. Massive underground water in the mines and falling silver

prices ended the boom in 1904. Having survived the Great

Depression and removal of the County Seat to Bisbee, Tombstone in

the 1930s became known as the “Town Too Tough To Die.”

 

Tombstone's economy has changed drastically since its days as a

mining town. The town's colorful history is the key factor for steady

growth. In 1962, the Department of the Interior designated

Tombstone a Registered Historical Landmark. A restoration zone

was established and a commission organized for the preservation of

its landmarks. Tourists flock to the town by the thousands, and their

business is a mainstay of the economy.

Tombstone residents are also employed in nearby Sierra Vista, Fort

Huachuca and Cochise County government agencies. The mild year-round

climate and low humidity make Tombstone an attractive

place for retirement.

 

Cochise County, including Tombstone, is the site of a fascinating

chapter in American history. In the early territorial days, the most

feared and craftiest of all Indians was Cochise, a Chiricahua Apache.

With the closing of the Chiricahua Apache Reservation, Geronimo

of the Western Chiricahua Apaches terrorized the area with his

raids. Today visitors can see the Chiricahua National Monument and

the Cochise Stronghold from which Indians could spot any movement

in the valley below. Fort Huachuca and the 1877 Calvary Post

Museum illustrate this Indian and pioneer heritage. Traveling the

Cochise Trail provides insight into frontier life in Arizona.

 

Tombstone's pride in its western heritage is shown by its numerous

original historic buildings. The Tombstone Courthouse, originally

built in 1882, is now a state park and preserves the history of the

town and county. Other attractions and activities awaiting visitors

are the Rose Tree Inn, with the world's largest rose tree;

Congregational Community Church; St Paul’s Episcopal Church;

Sacred Heart Catholic Church; Boot Hill Graveyard; the Bird Cage

Theater; the Crystal Palace Saloon; Big Nose Kate’s; and the O.K.

Corral. Tombstone's early lusty days are re-enacted annually for

three days in October during the Helldorado Celebration. Each

month, a major event takes place, which depicts the western heritage

from Wyatt Earp and Nellie Cashman, “Angel of the Mining

Camp,” to Vigilante Days; and every day Western shoot-outs are

staged in the O.K. Corral or on Allen Street, and the Helldorado

Amphitheater, located at Fourth and Toughnut Street.