Tombstone Arizona grew up around the silver mining industry. While the discovery of this precious metal in the area helped to make a name for the town, it was a deadly shootout featuring the Wyatt Earp that put it on the map. In 1877, silver was first discovered in the area around Tombstone, and October 26, 1881 was the date that Wyatt Earp and his brothers took on a group of outlaws outside the O.K. Corral. The most famous of the Old West gunfights, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral also featured the famous "Doc" Holliday, who was Wyatt Earp's friend and quite a curious character.
For those who are interested in the history of Tombstone, visiting the city itself is the best way to get in touch with it. The re-enactments of the famous gunfight figure among the highlights of a visit, and history buffs won't want to miss the famed Boot Hill Graveyard. Buried at the Boot Hill Graveyard in Tombstone Arizona are a number of gunfighters who "died with their boots on," and they include the three men that were killed in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The names of these men are Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury, and Frank McLaury. In addition to visiting the Boot Hill Graveyard and taking in a re-enactment, those who are interested in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the history of Tombstone in general can visit the historic O.K. Corral lot. The lot is enclosed, and admission fees apply, while the Boot Hill Graveyard is free to explore.
Taking a tour of the O.K. Corral tops the list of things to do in Tombstone. When re-enactments aren't going on at the corral, visitors can stand next to life-size replicas of the original participants and get an overview as to what is believed to have caused the shootout. It's also possible to check out the fascinating C.S. Fly Photo Gallery while visiting Tombstone Arizona. Photos from the 1800s that depict everyday life in Tombstone are on display at this gallery, as are photos of Geronimo, the great Apache warrior.
When it comes to the history of Tombstone, it is important to note the fire of 1882. Unfortunately, this fire destroyed much of the town. New buildings were erected, and two of those buildings from 1882 remain. They can be found in the historic district, which appears as it would have appeared back in the 1800s. The newer buildings in the historic district are designed to look as if they too were erected in the 1800s, making a walking tour down the main avenue a particularly rewarding pursuit.
When looking for things to do in Tombstone, visiting the Tombstone's Historama and the Tombstone Western Heritage Museum is worth considering. The former offers a multimedia synopsis of Tombstone history, while the latter is the best place to go if you want to check out some intriguing Tombstone artifacts. Museums abound in Tombstone Arizona, and one more that you might add to the agenda is the Rose Tree Inn Museum, where the largest rosebush in the world can be found. Supposedly, this rosebush was planted back in 1885.
The rich history of Tombstone is the city's top draw, and virtually every attraction in town embraces this history. The same can be said about some of the Tombstone hotels. Other Tombstone attractions that you might not want to miss when dropping in for a visit include the Crystal Palace Saloon and the Bird Cage Theater. The saloon originally opened in 1879, and while it has been renovated, it maintains a historic appeal and is a top local hangout. As for the Bird Cage Theater, it opened in 1881. The following year, a New York Times piece labeled the Bird Cage Theater as "the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast." Basin Street, for those who might not know, can be found in New Orleans, while the Barbary Coast was a famed San Francisco red-light district that had quite the crazy reputation in the 1800s. That should give you an idea of how wild the Bird Cage Theater must have been in its heyday.
There are plenty of interesting things to do in Tombstone, and thanks to its proximity to Tucson and the Chiricahua National Monument, staying at one of the Tombstone hotels can be a good idea. While there is never a bad time to visit Tombstone Arizona, you might try to plan your visit around one of the town's special events, such as Wyatt Earp Days. This October event features a chili cook-off, not to mention some gunfight re-enactments and an interesting 1880's fashion show that highlights the garb of the day.