In 1877, Ed Schieffelin discovered silver at a site where soldiers from Camp Huachuca warned all he would find was his tombstone. (That was a $30 million blunder on their part.) Local feuds later exploded in this boomtown, with the most notorious being the 1881 O.K. Corral shoot-out between the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday versus the Clantons and McLaurys. Mining operations began closing in the 1880s, with the town’s population dipping from 5,300 residents in 1882 to 849 in 1930. Known as the “Town Too Tough to Die,” Tombstone earned National Landmark status in 1961. The town’s status as a landmark has been threatened in recent years, but its citizens are working overtime to make sure the town gets back to its historic roots.
Best Place to Buy Land: Anywhere Wyatt or Doc were said to sit, squat, shoot or live. Maybe even spit.
Average House Cost: $190,000.
What’s the latest story everyone’s gossiping about? If Tombstone’s marshal will survive his squabble with the city council (he called them “cowards”).
What radio personality do the locals listen to? Rush Limbaugh.
Favorite Local Cuisine: Mexican-American cuisine at the Lamplight Room (108 N. 4th St.).
What historic site do most of the schoolchildren visit? The O.K.?Corral.
What do you think of the new O.K. Corral re-enactment? I like it very much. It features better interactive characters, especially the Cowboys, and good acting.
What attraction in Tombstone should not be missed? The Tombstone Trolley tour offers good capsulized information of the town’s history.
Who knows Tombstone’s history best? The official town historian, Ben Traywick, who has lived here for 40 years.
Old West Attractions: The 1881 Birdcage Theatre (left, 517 E. Allen St.); Boot Hill (Hwy. 80); Rose Tree Inn (118 S. 4th St.); Tombstone Epitaph (11 S. 5th St.); and 1879 Good Enough Mine (5th & Toughnut Sts.).
Best Cowboy Bar: The 1882 Crystal Palace Saloon (420 E. Allen St.).
Best Western Bookstore: Tombstone Old West Books (401 E. Allen St.).
Best Western Art Gallery: Western Way (374 E. Allen St.).
Most Popular Local Event: Helldorado, held every October. The 125th anniversary of the O.K. Corral held in October 2006 was the town’s biggest event since 1929.
Average Temperature: Winter: 20 to 40 degrees; Summer: 70-100 degrees.
Local Preservation Project: Utilizing grant funds to build boardwalks and canopies along Fremont Street (where the bulk of the O.K. Corral gunfight took place).
Special thanks to Jim Clark of Tombstone, Arizona, who specializes in railroad consultations for Hollywood movies. He consulted on Wild, Wild West and TBS’s Into the West.