A Tombstone Tour

Main Street Tombstone

Main Street Tombstone © 2102 Bo Mackison

Tombstone, Arizona was a rough silver-mining town made famous by the O.K. Corral gunfight involving the famed cowboy family, The Earps.  Today, you can still hear gunfire in the streets, but it is only from re-enactments staged at a variety of locations. Tombstone is proud of its Old West history, and has worked hard to maintain the National Historic Landmark District designation it received in 1961.

Boardwalk, Main Street

Boardwalk, Main Street © 2012 Bo Mackison

At one time, Tombstone had a bowling alley, four churches, an ice house, a school, two banks, three newspapers, and an ice cream parlor. Of course, this was the Wild West and Tombstone also claimed 110 saloons and 14 gambling halls. Must have been a wild place in the strongest sense of the word.

Big Nose Kate's Saloon

Big Nose Kate's Saloon © 2012 Bo Mackison

You’ve got to love any saloon named for a big nosed proprietor. In this case, Big Nose Kate takes the honors. Today the saloons serve more food than drink, but it was busy with tourists on the Sunday afternoon I walked through town.

Golden Eagle Brewery 1879

Golden Eagle Brewery 1879 © 2012 Bo Mackison

Originally known as the Golden Eagle Brewing Company, this was one of Tombstone’s first saloons, occupying a small lot. The brewery was in another structure at the rear of this restored building. There was a devastating fire at the brewery in 1883  and the building was quickly rebuilt and re-named  the Crystal Palace Saloon.

Tombstone Consolidated Mines Company

Tombstone Consolidated Mines Company © 2012 Bo Mackison

Tombstone was one of the last wide open frontier boom towns in the United States, the epitome of the American wild west legend. Silver was discovered in 1877, and over the next 13 years, 85 million dollars of silver was mined in the area. It was the largest silver production operation in Arizona.

Historic Cochise County Courthouse

Historic Cochise County Courthouse © 2012 Bo Mackison

History is preserved, time stands still in the true old West at Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park. The courthouse was built in 1882 at a cost of nearly $50,000. It was a modern and stylish building as well as the symbol of law and order 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.


Cochise Courthouse Historic Park © 2012 Bo Mackison

Tombstone was the county seat from 1882 until 1929, when Bisbee had enough votes to move the county seat further southeast, and the county seat was moved there. The building was vacant until 1955 when the Tombstone Restoration Commission purchased the land and courthouse. The Courthouse was restored and developed development as a historical museum. No longer under the State Park auspices, it is operated jointly by the City of Tombstone and the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC, living and photographing in southern Arizona. She visited Tombstone a few days ago, town of Western lore, cowboys, and gunfights, and this is what she photographed.


About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Nice series, Bo! Goodness, I haven’t been there since in the 80’s!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It was my first time, out and about, walking through the town. An interesting place to see. Even more interesting to imagine the history that has taken place on those streets.

  2. BO! I’m back online!!! I LOVE Tombstone! How cool that you are there – love the history and photos. Cochise County. Man….

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Yay! There is a lot of history in Tombstone, rather mind boggling — 85 million dollars worth of silver in the 1800s…

      Glad you are plugged in…

  3. I certainly enjoyed your ‘photo tour!’

  4. Timeless!! Could be now or then..or anytime. What a great town!

  5. Joanne Keevers says:

    Well, that was a surprise, I thought you had payed a visit to the local graveyard! Lol. What an interesting town. Thank you for the tour, Bo. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Well, Joanne. Tombstone DOES have a cemetery, called boot hill, because so many of the deceased died with their boots on (and a gun in their hand.)

Leave a Reply