What do you know about the Bella Union Opera House in Tombstone, Arizona?

Joe Gallagher
Ontario, California

I called Tombstone’s former official historian, Ben Traywick, who lives down the street from the place. He says that in the early days, a bunch of small buildings were found on that corner, including a post office, a candy store owned by a Chinese man and a restaurant owned by another Chinese.

In the 1890s the two Chinese were enjoying their opium when some youngsters came in and caused a ruckus. A Chinaman pulled a knife and swung, but he missed and killed his friend instead.

The corner was pretty quiet until the 1950s, when the Medgovichs bought the property and built a restaurant and later the theatre. They named it the Bella Union. The theatre was a huge success for locals but failed to draw the big stars. They sold the building in the 1970s.

The most recent owner closed the place down and left town in 2005. The Bella Union opens for some special occasions, especially around the October anniversary of the O.K. Corral gunfight. But for the most part, it’s shuttered.

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