Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park is now operated by the City of Tombstone and the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce. The park is open 7 days a week from 9 am - 5 pm. Learn More About the Cooperative Agreement
Annual Lighting of the Luminaries
"Las Posadas," which means lodging or inn, uses luminarias or farolitos, depending on your tradition, as a way of symbolically lighting the path for Mary and Joseph on their procession to find shelter. The Mexican tradition evolved from 16th century Spanish missionaries. They lit bonfires along the roads and churchyards to guide people to Midnight Mass on the final night of the celebration of "Las Posadas." To honor this tradition, and ring in the festive holiday season, about 225 small brown paper sacks filled with sand and a candle are set out and lit on the portico, front and side walls, for this one-night event at Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park.
The gallows at the park are a reconstruction. The original burned down in 1912 at the time the state took over executions of malefactors from the counties. Learn more about Tombstone history at the park.
Get a glimpse of the true old West at Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park. Built in 1882 in the shape of a Roman cross, the two-story Victorian structure once housed the offices of the sheriff, recorder, treasurer, board of supervisors, jail, and courtrooms of Cochise County. Today, the 12,000 square foot courthouse is a museum filled with the glitter and guns of those who tamed the territory.
Exhibits portray the authentic history of Tombstone as a frontier silver mining boomtown. Learn about miners, cattlemen and pioneers, and see a reproduction of the courtroom and sheriff’s office. Displays include a tax license for operating a brothel and an invitation to a hanging. A replica of the gallows in the courtyard represents where seven men were hanged.
The park includes a museum, exhibits, a gift shop, restrooms, and shaded picnic areas.
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. But 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.
Experience Wild West adventures when you step back in time in the historic city of Tombstone, home of the the O.K. Corral.
The year 1881 was an eventful one for the mining camp. The population reached 10,000, rivaling both Tucson (county seat) and Prescott (territorial capital). The Earp and Clanton feud culminated in the famous gunfight near 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 1931.
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 the story of Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park.
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