He gives a 10 minute talk on the history of The Bird Cage.
It’s a good talk. (Though I’m not so sure about the sunglasses)
Lots of stuff to look at.
For 8 bucks, we’re invited to go in back and see the rest of The Bird Cage.
We ante up and mosey in.
The Bird Cage Theatre
Rose is standing where the seats used to be.
I’m shooting from by the stage.
The Bird Cages line the room on both sides.
A table of artifacts.
Below: I found the guns.
Below: Faro table used by Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp.
Lots of ghost stories and ghost experiences around Tombstone – as you would imagine. I bumped into a couple of gents in The Bird Cage who trying to photograph ghosts or ‘orbs’.
I didn’t encounter or photograph anything myself and it really wasn’t on my mind. Rose, however, did have an interesting experience at the piano. She took a number of shots, but none of them would come out.
Fuzzy, grainy and with spots all over them.
True, we are both fully capable of taking lousy photographs, but
I have never seen this effect on either of our cameras before.
Below: I had no such problem.
Except for the thing in the circle.
An Orb? or just a spot?
The Bird Cage Theatre was opened on December 26, 1881, by William “Billy” Hutchinson and his wife Lottie. Its name apparently referred to the fourteen “cages” or boxes that were situated on two balconies on either side of the main central hall. These boxes, also referred to as “cribs”, had drapes that could be drawn while prostitutes entertained their clients. The main hall contained a stage and orchestra pit at one end where live shows were performed.
The Bird Cage Theatre operated continuously – twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year – for the next eight years. It gained a reputation as one of the wildest places in the country, prompting The New York Times to report in 1882 that “the Bird Cage Theatre is the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast”. More than 120 bullet holes are evident throughout the building.
Aside from Lillian Russell, many other famous entertainers of the day were alleged to have performed there over the years, includingEddie Foy, Sr., Lotta Crabtreeand Lillie Langtry. In 1882, Fatimaallegedly performed her belly-dancing routine at the Bird Cage Theatre.
The basement poker room is said to be the site of thelongest-running poker game in history. Played continuously twenty-four hours a day for eight years, five months, and three days, legend has it that as much as $10,000,000 changed hands during the marathon game, with the house retaining 10 percent. Some of the participants were Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Diamond Jim Brady, and George Hearst.
When ground water began seeping into the mines in the late 1880s the town went bust, the Bird Cage Theatre along with it. The poker game ended and the building was sealed up in 1889.