Tombstone Courthouse State Historic
The park is located on the
corner of Toughnut and 3rd Streets (2 blocks off Highway 80).
P.O. Pox 216,
219 Toughnut Street,
Tombstone, Arizona 85638
Phone: (520) 457-3311
Tombstone reached its pinnacle of riches and then faded, all
within the short span of eight years. The West's wildest mining town
owes its beginning to Ed Schieffelin, who prospected the nearby
hills in 1877.
Friends warned him that all
he would ever find would be his own tombstone. Instead of an apache
bullet, he found silver - ledges of it - and the rush was on.
Miners soon built a shantytown
on the closest level space to the mines, then known as Goose Flats.
Remembering the grim prophecy given to Schieffelin, and with tongue
in cheek, they changed the name to Tombstone. The year 1881 was an
eventful one for the mining camp. The population reached 10,000,
rivaling both Tucson (county seat) and Prescott (territorial
Gunfight at the OK Corral
The Earp and Clanton feud
culminated in the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral. A
disastrous fire burned out much of the infant town, but it was
immediately rebuilt. Schieffelin Hall was erected to provide
legitimate theater and a meeting hall for the Masonic Lodge.
When water began to seep into
the shafts, pumps were installed, but the mines were soon flooded to
the 600-foot level and could not be worked. By 1886, Tombstone's
heyday was over, but not before $37,000,000 worth of silver had been
taken from the mines.
As Tombstone's population
grew, so did its political power. In 1881, the Arizona Legislature
established Cochise County. No longer would the nearest
county office be a long two-day ride.
Built in 1882 at a cost of
nearly $50,000, the Cochise County Courthouse was a stylish
building as well as a comfortable symbol of law and stability in
these turbulent times. It housed the offices of the sheriff,
recorder, treasurer, and the board of supervisors. The jail was at
the rear, under the courtroom.
A series of colorful people
held office here. John Slaughter was a local cattleman who, as
sheriff, virtually cleared the county of outlaws. Some were
awkwardly unconventional, such a Deputy Sheriff Burt Alford, who was
experienced on both sides of the law.
Tombstone remained the county
seat until 1929, when outvoted by a growing Bisbee, and the county
seat was moved there. The last county office left the courthouse in
Except for an ill-fated
attempt to convert the courthouse into a hotel during the 1940s, the
building stood vacant until 1955. When the Tombstone Restoration
Commission acquired it, they began the courthouse rehabilitation and
the development as a historical museum that has continued to operate
as a state park since 1959. It features exhibits and thousands of
artifacts which tell of Tombstone's colorful past.
The park is open daily 8:00
a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except Christmas Day.
Visitor Center / Courthouse
The park is open daily 8 am to 5 pm, except Christmas Day.
This park has modern, handicap accessible restrooms.
This park has a gift shop with a variety of gifts about the history of the
area and great souvenirs of your Tombstone Courthouse trip, including
keychains, old-fashioned tops, wild west badges, wooden train whistles,
t-shirts, and more.
Museum & Exhibits
The museum in the courthouse is full of authentic interpretive exhibits on
the history of Tombstone and Cochise County including, period Sheriff's
Office, artist drawings and interpretations of the Gunfight at the OK
Wyatt Earp, mining exhibit area, Saloon & gaming room, period lawyers
office and courtroom, ranching, and residents of Tombstone.
Outside in the courtyard is a reproduction Gallows.
The site where many convicted murderers met their fate. The average time to
explore the park and its exhibits is about an hour.
Group: Day Use Areas
2 shaded picnic tables are available next to the courthouse for group use.
No reservations, first-come, first-served only.
2 shaded picnic tables are available next to the courthouse; a perfect spot
for a picnic.