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Tombstone, Part 1

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 19, 2013

If you’re a history buff or a fan of historical recreations, you’ll want to visit Tombstone, Arizona. This site of the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral has been remade into a tourist town with quaint shops and restaurants, museums, and a reenactment of the gun battle that resonated throughout history.

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We stayed at the Landmark Lookout Lodge, an easy ten minute drive from the heart of town. The oldest house dates back to 1879. The town started when a cavalry scout discovered silver. When he proposed exploring the hills, he was told, “The only thing you’ll find out there is your tombstone.” Hence the town name.

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The Good Enough Mine is open today but we didn’t have time to go. This one has a vertical shaft and is located off Toughnut Street, so-called because if you could walk outside without being shot or stabbed, you were a tough nut. The mine went down 600 feet where it hit the aquifer, so water had to be pumped out. It closed operations when silver prices dropped.

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Along this street worked the attorneys who served the courthouse, now a museum. There’s still a gallows in the backyard where seven men were hanged. The white fenced house a little further down used to be a pleasure palace, if you know what I mean.

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We took a trolley tour, and our friendly guide wearing a brown cowboy hat explained the sights along the way. There was Doc Goodfellow’s house. He signed an outlaw’s death certificate and lived on Toughnut Street. The sheriff’s house was here, too. A couple of thousand Chinese used to live in Tombstone. They worked as merchants and miners. Their women ran prostitution and opium rings. The guide pointed out many of the historic buildings, telling stories that went along with them.

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Back on the main street, we shopped in the interesting gift shops, ate in the saloons, attended a historical diorama in a little theater, and bought tickets for the infamous gunfight reinactment. If I got the info correct, 30 shots were fired that day and 3 men were killed. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday are the featured heros. Here is my first attempt at a video.

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How does this relate to the story I’m writing? In Peril by Ponytail, Marla and Dalton visit a dude ranch run by his cousin, Wayne. Wayne’s father is renovating a nearby ghost town. Guess what I used as a model? My fictional town is loosely based on a combination of Tombstone and Jerome (Oct. 30 post).

Coming next: Tombstone, Part 2—The haunted Bird Cage Theater and Boothill Cemetery.

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See all the trip photos here: http://fw.to/SB2DmEH

Year-End Splash Party at The Romance Reviews; November 1-30. Register and win up to 400 prizes! Look for mine, a Kindle copy of Shear Murder, on Monday, November 25. http://www.theromancereviews.com/event.php

8 Responses to “Tombstone, Part 1”

  1. I’ve been to Tombstone. A great place to visit.

  2. sknicholls said

    What fun! I love to be and feel a part of the places I write about. We just took an airboat ride the other day for that very reason. I had an airboat scene and really needed the experience. It was great!

    • Oh yes, an airboat ride! There’s nothing like the exciting feeling of the wind tearing through your hair and the roar of the engine as you speed over the sawgrass. Personal experience adds another dimension to our research.

  3. Looks like fun – like stepping back in time. I’d love to visit there sometime! Till then I’ll enjoy your pictures and recaps. Thanks!

  4. Kev said

    Been there, it’s brilliant!

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