Tombstone, Arizona


Tombstone is a historic city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States, founded in 1879, by Ed Schieffelin in what was then Pima County, Arizona Territory.

The Arizona Territory was a territory of the United States that existed from February 24, 1863 until February 14, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Arizona.

The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.

Edward Lawrence Schieffelin was an Indian scout and prospector who discovered silver in the Arizona Territory, which led to the founding of Tombstone, Arizona.



It was one of the last wide-open frontier boomtowns in the American Old West.

The American Frontier comprises the geography, history, folklore, and cultural expression of life in the forward wave of American expansion that began with English colonial settlements in the early 18th century and ended with the admission of the last mainland territories as states in 1912.

A boomtown is a community that undergoes sudden and rapid population and economic growth, or that is started from scratch because of an influx of people.

A frontier is the political and geographical area near or beyond a boundary.



The town prospered from about 1877 to 1890, during which time the town's mines produced US$40 to $85 million in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona.

Bullion is gold bars, silver bars, and other bars or ingots of precious metal.


Its population grew from 100 to around 14,000 in less than seven years.


It is best known as the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and now draws most of its revenue from tourism.

The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was a 30-second shootout between lawmen and members of a loosely organized group of outlaws called the Cowboys that took place at about 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona Territory.

Tourism is travel for pleasure; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours.


The town was established on a mesa above the Tough Nut Mine.

Mesa is the American English term for tableland, an elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs.

The Tough Nut Mine is a silver mine established just prior to and just outside Tombstone in Cochise County, Arizona.


Within two years of its founding, although far distant from any other metropolitan area, Tombstone boasted a bowling alley, four churches, an ice house, a school, two banks, three newspapers, and an ice cream parlor, alongside 110 saloons, 14 gambling halls, and numerous dance halls and brothels.

A metropolitan area, sometimes referred to as a metro area or just metro, is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing.

A brothel or bordello is a place where people may come to engage in sexual activity with a prostitute, sometimes referred to as a sex worker.

Dance hall in its general meaning is a hall for dancing.


All of these were situated among and on top of a large number of dirty, hardscrabble mines.


The gentlemen and ladies of Tombstone attended operas presented by visiting acting troupes at the Schieffelin Hall opera house, while the miners and cowboys saw shows at the Bird Cage Theatre, "the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast".

The Bird Cage Theatre was a combination theater, saloon, gambling parlor and brothel that operated from 1881 to 1889 in Tombstone, Arizona, during the height of the silver boom.

Schieffelin Hall is a building from the American Old West in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, the largest standing adobe structure still existent in the United States southwest.

A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks.


Under the surface were tensions that grew into deadly conflict.


The mining capitalists and the townspeople were largely Republicans from the Northern states.


Many of the ranchers were Confederate sympathizers and Democrats.


The booming city was only 30 miles from the U.S.–Mexico border and was an open market for beef stolen from ranches in Sonora, Mexico, by a loosely organized band of outlaws known as The Cowboys.

Sonora, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Sonora, is one of 31 states that, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 federal entities of Mexico.

In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law.


The Earp brothers—Virgil, Wyatt, Morgan and Warren—arrived in December 1879 and mid-1880.


They had ongoing conflicts with Ike, Billy Clanton, Frank, Tom McLaury, and other Cowboys members.

Tom McLaury and his brother Frank owned a ranch outside Tombstone, Arizona, Arizona Territory during the 1880s.


The Cowboys repeatedly threatened the Earps over many months until the conflict escalated into a shootout on October 26, 1881.


The now-famous gunfight is often portrayed as occurring at the O.K. Corral, but the actual gunfight was on Fremont Street a block or two away.


In the mid-1880s, the silver mines penetrated the water table and the mining companies made significant investments in specialized pumps.


A fire in 1886 destroyed the Grand Central hoist and the pumping plant, and it was unprofitable to rebuild the costly pumps.


The city nearly became a ghost town, saved only because it was the Cochise County seat until 1929.

A ghost town is an abandoned village, town, or city, usually one that contains substantial visible remains.

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