Ever since we moved to Arizona three years ago, many have invited us to visit Tombstone, but we never felt any desire to do so. It was until one day my life partner brought up the idea of taking the family on a day trip to this historic town.
Certainly, the Town of Tombstone has its charm, the facades of the buildings in Allen St. are a representation of the 1880’s era, time when this town was founded. Leo, my twelve-year-old, was fascinated to be walking on the streets where Wyatt Earp and his brothers shared adventures with Doc Holliday. I had no idea who they were, but he rapidly gave me a history lesson and updated me.
Turns out Tombstone is famous due to a gunfight that took place in 1881 between members of the so called “Cowboys” and three of the Earp brothers with the help of Doc Holliday. This gunfight resulted in the death of three of the four members of the “Cowboys”, it only took 30 seconds and more than 30 shots. The O.K. Corral offers a daily reenactment of this event, since it happened just behind these premises, on Fremont St.
What captivated me about our day in Tombstone is the glimpse of the past I was able to perceive with every step taken on the famous Allen St. One of the most picturesque scenes struck in my mind was seeing the ladies dressed up in the Old West attire, and I am not taking about boots and cowboy pants, but about corsets, long dresses full of ruffles, their fancy hats, dainty gloves and beautiful umbrellas, that date back to the 19th century.
The gentlemen were holding their ladies’ hand in such a romantic way, many were dressed up in black, with their black vest, white shirt, cuff links, and hats. That fashion was a pretty one in my opinion, and I bet it was expensive, since most of them were custom made.
Back in the day the town had several theaters, the most talked about is the Bird Cage Theater. A lady inside the theater recounted that this theater in particular, was a saloon, brothel house and gambling hall at once in the 1880’s. Also adding that no respectable woman in town would walk on the same side of the street of this theater. Can you imagine this?
It is amazing to see still today the marks left behind by bullets inside the Bird Cage Theater, also the original bar, and décor. We walked Allen St. three times, finding gelato shops, plenty of restaurants, jewelry and western wear stores.The museums are your best friend if you want to know the history behind this town.
What I enjoyed the most was observing everyone dressed up, it made me feel part of a century I didn’t belong to. I wondered about what would have been my ideology back then, in a time when women had few influence, and little saying. Would I be wearing fancy dresses? The 1880’s belonged to the men that were too tough to die, to those looking for silver, for the miners, and just anyone looking for new endeavors and dreams.
Tombstone transported us into the Old West, thru gunfights, cute shops, reenactments, and conversations with the locals. Now I hope I can transport you to the charm of this town thru these pictures.
Til’ next time