creepin midnight / Seatrain
Boot Hill / Tombstone, Arizona
We finally make it to Tombstone’s legendary Boot Hill. The resting place of Clanton’s, McLaury’s, assorted bad guys and ordinary folks – most of who probably died with their boots off – now immortalized at this famous location – though some are marked “Unknown”.
It’s not the only Boot Hill around – just the most famous. A place of graves and ghosts.
The “Hill” has a nice little tourist shop.
Plaques out front.
As cool and clear as an Arizona morning.
Rose puts her boots on Les. I told her that wasn’t cool.
On the way to Boot Hill …
Rose spots Wyatt Earp House and Gallery …
I wouldn’t have minded looking at the Gallery, but things looks pretty quiet.
It’s closed. But Why? It’s Saturday and there’s a Festival in town … ?
We’re still nosy enough to have a look around …
Curiosity gets to us … so we head around back …
And out steps Bat Masterson !!
Didn’t even know he wuz in town.
Here’s the story: this chap (Greg? Craig? Forgive me, I forgot your name)
drives in from Los Angeles and likes to join in the Tombstone festivities.
He rents one of the 3 existing rental units on this lot.
(There’s no longer a Wyatt Earp House and Gallery – but rental units.)
He’s typical Tombstone friendly and chats with us for a while.
Nice guy. I snap a pic of him with Rose.
Back home I finally get the back story on Wyatt Earp House:
Wyatt Earp House closing this weekend
Posted: Apr 18, 2013 6:27 PM MDT
Updated: Apr 27, 2013 5:28 PM MDT
By Sonu Wasu CONNECT
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) –
“It’s a town where the sound of gun fire is everyday business.
Horse drawn carriages walk down main street and the feeling of the old west is alive every day. Now a town that’s been fighting to preserve history is fighting for self preservation.
Hearing the Wyatt Earp House and Gallery is closing for good is sad news for locals and tourists. It’s been around for more than a century. It closes on Sunday for good, and officials blame it on the economy and a decline in tourism.
“I didn’t know, but I’m not surprised,” said Wyatt Earp Theatre Owner James Ferguson. “Our tourism is dropping pretty steadily.”
Every owner is fighting for their business to stay alive.
“Last couple years, we wound up closing two of our businesses [and we] now just have this photo studio left,” said Old Tyme Photos Owner Jim Newbauer.
“Last few months, 11 businesses closed down,” Chamber of Commerce President Susan Wallace said. “We’re also seeing large turnover of businesses, but we also have new businesses coming in.”
The owners of the Wyatt Earp house are not in town today, but we’re told they plan to re-open as a vacation rental. Officials say this is not expected to affect Wyatt Earp Days in May, but some in town feel it will; one less place for visitors to check out.
“Hopefully they’ll keep statue of Wyatt there so people can still take pictures with it,” Newbauer said.
Town officials say an international marketing campaign is now in the planning stages.
“Normally, the tourists [whom] Tombstone does well with are Europeans, Japanese [and] the Asians,” the Mayor said over the phone.
But the town is too tough to die and still hanging on.
“It’s very sad but we won’t give up,” Ferguson said. “We want to promote history of this town, Wyatt earp, mining; it’s what this town is all about.”
Part of their marketing campaign includes printing their brochures in different languages. The goal is to bring international tourists to Tombstone, Ariz. They also plan to make their website accessible to tourists by offering options for several different languages in the near future.
Chamber president Susan Wallace says this advertising campaign is expected to cost them a few hundred thousand dollars. They hope to use money from the town’s bed tax, and revenue generated from city-owned attractions like the boothill cemetery.”
There you have it. It’s shocking to hear that Tombstone – major iconic Western attraction – hurting for Tourism/VIsitors. It seemed busy enough to us, but maybe that was just because of the Rose Festival ? Don’t know. The Economy … I guess ? Yet I’d figure that when things turn down, folks would come here rather than travel aboard ? Maybe people aren’t travelling at all – sticking close to home ? Hope that changes.
Tombstone Ghost Town?
Next: Boot Hill
Outlaw Man / Eagles
(Q) Up to that time, did you see any weapon of any kind drawn by or in the hands of either of the Clantons or McLaurys?
(A) No sir. They all had their hands up, up to that time. Tom McLaury had his hands up, holding his coat open.
– Testimony of Ike Clanton
OK Corral Exhibit / Shop
Out front …
Boot Hill please …
Out back …
A not too impressive mockup of the Gunfight – though it does include a decent audio component.
Next: The OK Corral Gunfight Re-enactment !
Doolin Dalton / Eagles
“Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.”
– Wyatt Earp
The Gunfight at the OK Corral
Yeah Yeah .. I know you were wondering when I was going to get over to the the OK Corral. I’ve been kinda dragging my boot heels cuz the Earps and the Gunfight at OK Corral is about the biggest event in American Western History. Name a bigger one. Maybe the Alamo or Little Big Horn have equal stature?
Any way you look at it The Gunfight at the OK Corral is Genuine, authentic, unique American History. Americana.
Depictions in Film
The Real Players
And I can’t of any other Western Event that’s depicted as an essential climatic element – in 5 different separate movies ? – and mostly of them regarded as Western Classics.
All the more interesting since we know pretty well what the heck is going to happen – and who wins!
Billy Clanton and both McLaury brothers were killed.
Ike and Billy Claiborne ran.
Controversial: The Earp movies seem to portray the Earps as protagonists – albeit somewhat ruthless: But were the Earps right in what they did? or were they just a bunch of thugs wearing badges and legally carrying guns? Did the Clantons et all deserve to be shot down like dogs by professional gunmen? There are still folks around that think this shootout was outright murder. Not that the Clantons were a bunch of nice folks or anything – as they were rustlers, murderers and robbers to be sure … but …
Well I’m sure they deserved a spanking … and were asking for it.
And got it.
Twenty One / Eagles
Big Nose Kate
Tombstone tales and history mainly surrounds the exploits of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the famous gunfight at the OK Corral, but accompanying them are several other ‘Larger than Life’ players that had parts on the Tombstone stage.
One such player was the Big Nose Kate.
“Big Nose Kate (born Mary Katherine Horony Cummings November 7, 1850 – November 2, 1940) was a Hungarian-born prostitute and longtime companion and common-law wife of Old West gunfighter Doc Holliday.”
In 1860, the Horony family left Hungary for the United States. Dr. Horony and his wife died three years later and Kate and her younger siblings were placed in foster homes.
At age 16, Kate ran away from her foster home and stowed away on a riverboat bound for St. Louis, Missouri. Her history is then somewhat murky until the time she met Doc Holliday in the early 1870s.
It’s believed she entered the Ursuline Convent but didn’t remain long. In 1869, she is recorded as working as a prostitute for madam Blanch Tribole in St. Louis. In 1874, Kate was fined for working as a ” sporting woman” in a sporting house in Dodge City, Kansas, run by Nellie “Bessie” (Ketchum) Earp, James Earp’s wife.
In 1876, Kate moved to Fort Griffin, Texas, where in 1877 she met Doc Holliday. Doc said at one point that he considered Kate his intellectual equal. Kate introduced Holliday to Wyatt Earp. The couple went with Earp to Dodge City and registered as Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Holliday. Doc opened a dental practice by day but spent most of his time gambling and drinking. The two fought regularly and sometimes violently.
According to Kate, the couple later married in Valdosta, Georgia. They traveled to Trinidad, Colorado, and then to Las Vegas, New Mexico where they lived for about two years. Holliday worked as a dentist by day and ran a saloon on Center Street by night. Kate also occasionally worked at a dance hall in Santa Fe.
By her own account, Doc and Kate met up again with Wyatt Earp and his brothers on their way to the Arizona Territory. Virgil Earp had already been in Prescott before Wyatt persuaded his brothers to move to Tombstone. Holliday was making money at the gambling tables in Prescott, and he and Kate parted ways when Kate left for Globe, Arizona, but she rejoined Holliday soon after he arrived in Tombstone.
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Following several misadventures that are too long to mention here, Kate claimed that she was in the Tombstone area with Holliday during the days before the famous shootout. According to Kate, she was with Holliday in Tucson during October 1881. On October 20, 1881, Morgan Earp rode to Tucson to request Holliday’s assistance with dealing with outlaw Cowboys who had threatened to kill the Earps. She refused Holliday’s request that she remain in Tucson for her safety, and traveled with Holliday and Earp. Kate reminisced in a letter about her stay with Holliday at C.S. Fly’s Boarding House which bordered the alley where the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place. Kate accurately described minor details of the shoot out.
On the day of the gunfight, Kate claims a man entered Fly’s Boarding House with a “bandaged head” and a rifle. He was looking for Holliday, who was still in bed after a night of gambling. Kate recalled that the man who was turned away by Mrs. Fly was later identified as Ike Clanton, whom city marshal Virgil Earp had buffaloed (clubbed with a gun) earlier that day when he found Clanton carrying a rifle and pistol in violation of city ordinances. Clanton’s head was bandaged afterward.
Virgil Earp had disarmed him earlier that day and told Ike he would leave Ike’s confiscated rifle and revolver at the Grand Hotel, which was favored by cowboys when they were in town. Ike testified afterward that he had tried to buy a new revolver at Spangenberger’s gun and hardware store on 4th Street but the owner saw Ike’s bandaged head and refused to sell him one. Clanton was unarmed at the time of the shootout later that afternoon. Ike testified that he picked up the weapons from William Soule, the jailer, a couple of days later.
After the Gunfight
Kate is reported to have made trips to Tombstone to see Holliday until he left for Colorado in April 1882.
Kate (died at age 89) was buried on 1940, under the name “Mary K. Cummings” below a modest marker in the Arizona Pioneer Home Cemetery in Prescott, Arizona.”
(Please excuse my judicious editing. Kate’s story is long)
A visit to Big Nose Kate’s, Tombstone
Big Nose Kate’s is definitely one of the fun places to visit in downtown Tombstone It’s the kind of place where I wish I was still drinking. I’d spin a tale of me dancing on the table and starting a bar room brawl. In my drinking days I definitely coulda got hammered here.
Kate’s seems to be the heartbeat of Tombstone. It’s in the middle of town on shady side of Allen Street (main street) Unless it’s night, of course. And it outta be.
It was rocking when we arrived. Noisy, boozy, lively, food and drink. It’s a joyful rock though – not smash mouth. There’s a band playing and it’s Honky Tonk colourful – a great atmosphere. When it’s busy I figure it’s tuff to get a table – or even a seat – but maybe you can sit at the bar. That’s where I’d like to sit anyway. Kate’s will fit your notion of a good time Western saloon.
Catching the flavour …