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 …
Next … a peek at OK Corral
Tombstone Diary: Saturday, April 11, 2015
Downtown Tombstone is mainly 2 streets and 500 saloons.
Just kidding – there’s 3 streets.
In it’s heyday Tombstone had “110 saloons, 14 gambling halls, and numerous dancing halls and brothels”.
Today’s Map of Tombstone: Hope you can read the print.
Rose and I exit the The Bird Cage into bright sunlight. It’s a beautiful day.
We head for a shop across the street …
But we get far before we’re bushwhacked by this guy:
Dirty Dingus is big and mean lookin’ and smooth talks us into going into
‘The Gunfight Palace‘
A place where they do “Famous Gunfight Re-enactments”.
I don’t really want to go in, but Rose is already buying the tickets.
So … in we go.
After the Intro we get down to business …
*Bang Bang* !!
Uh huh …
We toss a couple of nuggets into the spittoon
and head back to the street.
Hey ! There goes the stage …
Nice looking rig.
Time for some shopping.
Big Nose Kate’s
Tombstone Diary: Saturday, April 11, 2015
Inside The Bird Cage you’ll see this guy.
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?
Moving along …
Behind the curtain …
I’m in …
On the way out …
A good and interesting time in The Bird Cage.
The Bird Cage Theatre / Tombstone
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, including Eddie Foy, Sr., Lotta Crabtree and Lillie Langtry. In 1882, Fatima allegedly performed her belly-dancing routine at the Bird Cage Theatre.
The basement poker room is said to be the site of the longest-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.
Tombstone Diary: Saturday, April 11, 2015:
Gunfight at OK Corral (1957) / Frankie Laine
I came to Tombstone with the attitude that “whatever’s there, I’m going to enjoy it”. I surely expected a degree of tackiness – but I also looked forward to a degree of the Historic Tombstone …
We’ll see …
Saturday, April 11, 2015: A beautiful day. Going to be about 80 F. With clear blue skies. Shouldn’t burn my delicate Alberta skin.
But first, of course, we get lost. Took a wrong turn in the desert.
No sweat. I’m enjoying the scenery.
Then ! a sign …
We ride into Tombstone at about 10 a.m.
Wow! … lots of people in town. Something is going on. ? I see some costumed kids dancing in the street …
Seems we’ve arrived on the Tombstone Rose Festival !
Tombstone Rose Festival:
“Celebrating the 130th Blooming of the “World’s Largest Rose Tree”.
Events included the Rose Tree Parade, Rose Queen Coronation, Pet Parade,
Folklorico Dancers and the Nogales Arizona Mariachi Apache Band
and much more.”
There’s also a Corvette Stingray rally as part of the festival.
I coulda taken a dozen pics of these beautiful Rays’.
But that’s not why we came.
We find a parking spot … jump out …
First thing we see is a bunch of wagon wheels behind a building.
We think this is interesting. ? *click click*
Walking around the corner and Rose gets right into it …
Snaps a nice shot of some folks in Western attire.
Sign on the wall says:
We find we’re standing right in front of the famous Bird Cage Theatre !
– blog buddy Rick (Surrounded by Imbeciles: https://surroundedbyimbeciles.wordpress.com/)
had recommended this to us!
Sign outside of the Bird Cage:
Inside the Bird Cage
Lindsey Stirling – Transcendence
Tomestone: a brief history
Wikipedia: Tombstone is a historic western city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States, founded in 1879 by Ed Schieffelin in what was then Pima County, Arizona Territory. It was one of the last wide-open frontier boomtowns in the American Old West. The town prospered from about 1877 to 1890, during which time the town’s mines produced US$40 to $85 million in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona. Its population grew from 100 to around 14,000 in less than seven years. It is best known as the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and draws most of its revenue from tourism.
The town was established on a mesa above the Tough Nut Mine. Within two years of its founding, although far distant from any other metropolitan city, Tombstone boasted a bowling alley, four churches, an ice house, a school, two banks, three newspapers, and an ice cream parlor, alongside 110 saloons, 14 gambling halls, and numerous dancing halls and brothels. All of these were situated among and on top of a large number of dirty, hardscrabble mines. The gentlemen and ladies of Tombstone attended operas presented by visiting acting troupes at the Schieffelin Hall opera house, while the miners and cowboys saw shows at the Bird Cage Theatre, “the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast”.
Under the surface were tensions that grew into deadly conflict. The mining capitalists and townspeople were largely Republicans from the Northern states. Many of the ranchers in the area were Confederate sympathizers and Democrats. The booming city was only 30 miles (48 km) from the U.S.–Mexico border and was an open market for beef stolen from ranches in Sonora, Mexico, by a loosely organized band of outlaws known as The Cowboys. The Earp brothers—Virgil, Wyatt, Morgan and Warren—arrived in December 1879 and summer 1880. They had ongoing conflicts with Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury, and other Cowboys members. The Cowboys repeatedly threatened the Earps over many months until the conflict escalated into a confrontation that turned into a shootout, the now-famous Hollywood-ized Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The actual gun fight was on Fremont Street a block or 2 away from the O.K. Corral.
Been trying to get something on the board before I head down to Tucson on Friday. Going down for a week or so. So I’m not sure I’ll be able to put anything on the blog till then. I’ll try.
Don’t really know much about the Tucson area except that it’s not far from Tombstone – so we’re definitely going to head over there for a day or two.
Tucson is about the same size as Calgary population-wise: a million people. And I’m sure we’ll find plenty to do.
Naturally going to head over the Old Tuscon Studios – where they made a lot of Westerns. That should be a bit of fun. Too bad I don’t drink anymore cuz I’d sure like to slug back a jigger of rotgut at the saloon. Ah well, this old greenhorn dude has probably stared down his last desperado anyway. But cha never know.
Any ideas? I’m listnin’.
Earps doing the walk …
Frank Converse, Sam Melville, Jason Robards, James Garner
Hour of the Gun (1967)
Directed by John Sturges
Some actors seem born to be in Westerns …
Samuel Pack “Sam” Elliott (born August 9, 1944) is an American actor. His rangy physique, thick horseshoe moustache, deep, resonant voice, and Western drawl lend to frequent casting as cowboys and ranchers.
… One of his first film roles was as ‘Card Player #2’ in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).
… In 1979, he played the oldest brother in the made-for-TV miniseries The Sacketts, also starring Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Glenn Ford, Ruth Roman, Mercedes McCambridge, Jack Elam, and Gilbert Roland, among others.
… including Buffalo Girls (1995) in which he played Wild Bill Hickok. In 1998, Elliot was named the Grand Marshal of the Calgary Stampede parade and rode in the procession before 300,000 spectators. He has also starred in Road House (1989) with Patrick Swayze and played Virgil Earp in Tombstone (1993), which starred Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.
“I`ve spent my entire career on horseback or on a motorcycle.”
Epic! The famous ‘Walk’ to the climactic gunfight at OK Corral
‘The Wild Bunch’ … doing ‘the Walk’? You betcha!
Intentional – or not (and I surely believe it was)
Pekinpah’s Wild Bunch do ‘The Walk’