All set in our routine at the Nature area and Patagonia Lake, we headed out for a bit of sight seeing. First stop Fairbank, a ghost town that once was a robust rail hub in the area. Founded in 1881 and inhabited until the mid 1970s the town now is part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. A number of the old buildings remain including the old schoolhouse. The schoolhouse serves as a museum and gift shop as well as an interpretive site. We took a ‘short’ walk to the town cemetery, be sure to take water. Fairbank was a rail stop on the way to and from Tombstone as well as many other towns along the route. This was a very worthwhile stop for us en route to Tombstone, check out the sights below.
About 12 miles down the road we crossed the city limits of Tombstone. Now this is a tourist town for sure. But what the heck, it is where a bunch of history was made and that history is what keeps the town alive today. If you are there purely for the history it is kind of easy to look past the hype, but the mix of tourist town and real wild west can be fun too. Here are the pics from around Tombstone.
Wyatt Earp with brothers Virgil and Morgan along with John Henry ‘Doc’ Holliday made history here on Oct 26, 1881 in the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral. It is kind of surreal to be walking around the exact place where the essence of the real wild west took place. To imagine the turmoil and tension of those days is a mind bender. It is also kind of hard to get your head around the fact that Wyatt and Josie carried on for many years after their days in Tombstone. Wyatt passed away in 1929.
There are historic markers all over town guiding you through the where and what of the significant events that took place there. The one building that can boast 99% authentic is the Bird Cage Theater. They have added electricity and a sprinkler system, other than that it is what, where and how it was. Very ‘real’, contains the Faro card table where Doc Holliday dealt and is the site of the duel between Doc and Johnny Ringo. The longest card game ever was held in the Bird Cage, 8 + years and included some very noteworthy players. The Bird Cage has a ton of artifacts from the era and many are specific to the Earp Brothers and Doc.
It was also interesting to learn that the Clanton’s are still residents of Tombstone. We had a great time and believe we will be going back for more, time passed quickly and we missed seeing the Boothill Cemetery and did not go into the Courthouse. Bisbee, AZ is a few more miles down the road and on our trip to Bisbee we will be making a short stop in Tombstone I’m sure.
Till then, remember TurnWhenTheRoadDoes.