Day 2, Friday, March 15, 2019
After we checked out the OK Corral site, we still had plenty to see in Tombstone! Mom and I had lunch at a BBQ place just off one of the main streets; Puny John’s BBQ – it was delicious!
After lunch we visited the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park to get some of the less sensationalized history of Tombstone. The Cochise County Courthouse was built in 1882, after Cochise County became its own county and needed a county seat. The Courthouse is filled with some fantastic exhibits, a few on the Earps and the OK Corral, but mostly on the other parts of Tombstone history.
There is old mining equipment, and an antique bar from one of the local saloons from the Old West era. There is furniture and other artifacts from late 19th century homes to show what life would have been like in Tombstone at the time. You can see the historic courtroom too! And then, there is the gallows. Four men were hanged at the gallows behind the courthouse; this one is a reconstruction. It is interesting to see it as it looked then though.
We checked out the newspaper printing office where the Tombstone Epitaph as published back in the 1880s. It was free to visit and you could wander around and look at the old printing press that was used to run the paper. We picked up our souvenir copy of the paper from the day in 1881 when the story of the OK Corral ran; it was complimentary with our ticket to the corral from earlier.
We also sampled some wine from the Silver Strike Winery, which sadly was a big disappointment and the service was incredibly slow. Oh well, I guess not everything can be wonderful in life. I did keep my souvenir tasting glass, and pull it out from time to time when I just want a small glass of wine or juice.
A short distance down the street we visited the Bird Cage Theatre. The Bird Cage was opened in 1881 and was intended to be a theatre for the for the “respectable women” of Tombstone, featuring appropriate entertainment and free ladies’ nights. Unfortunately for the respectable women of Tombstone, “appropriate” doesn’t sell so the owners soon began featuring more bawdy entertainment and gambling for the miners.
The Bird Cage was the home of the longest poker game in history. It cost $1,000 to buy in, and then it ran for eight years, going 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Players included Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, among other famous gamblers of the time. It is estimated that $10 million dollars changed hands over those eight years, with the Bird Cage getting 10% of the winnings. Not bad, considering that would have been on top of the drinks that the men bought!
We didn’t take the tour of the Bird Cage, but instead checked out the front room and exhibits. Perhaps one day!
We enjoyed our day in Tombstone and were both tired by the time we wandered back to the car for the drive back to Tucson. That evening we found a Pho restaurant for dinner and mom got to try this delicious noodle soup for the first time. What a good day!