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Tombstone, Arizona Photo Gallery

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Schieffelin Hall

 

Schieffelin Hall vintage photo

Vintage Schieffelin Hall.

This image available for photographic prints HERE!

 

Schieffelin Hall in Tombstone, Arizona today.

Schieffelin Hall today, David Alexander,.

This image available for photographic prints HERE!

 

 

 

 

Built in 1881 by Al Schieffelin, brother to Tombstone's founder, Ed Schieffelin, and William Harwood, Schieffelin Hall was envisioned as a first class opera house, offering culture to the citizens of Tombstone for the first time. The hall opened in June to grand applause as the largest and most imposing building in Tombstone, as well as the largest adobe building anywhere in the Southwest. The seating capacity provided for almost 600 people. On June 8, 1881, the Tombstone Epitaph described it: "From top to bottom, it is by far the most complete edifice of its kind in the Territory."

The building also housed the King Solomon Masonic Lodge #5, one of the five founding Masonic Lodges in Arizona, a role it continues to play today.

The beautiful building, funded by taxes from those businesses attracting sin and vice, hoped to attract touring theatrical companies. The two-story hall displayed the largest stage in any theatre between Denver and San Francisco. Finally, those "respectable” people that wouldn’t dream of setting foot in the only other theatre in town – the Bird Cage, had a venue that they could be proud of.

It’s first major use was when the Irish Land Leauge held the first ball there on June 17th, that was attended my the "elite” of Tombstone society. It’s first theatrical production was  "The Ticket-of-Leave Man" on September 15th given by the Tombstone Dramatic Association. The first professional company to appear at the hall was the Nellie Boyd Dramatic Company of New York who presented "The Banker's Daughter" on December 5, 1881.

Schieffelin Hall immediately became the center of cultural activity in the otherwise wicked town, continuing to provide a venue for theatrical performances, dances, boxing matches, recitals, lectures, and a community meeting place for the next 25 years.

On March 18, 1882, Wyatt and Morgan Earp attended a performance of "Stolen Kisses" at Schieffelin Hall, before moving on to Campbell & Hatches Saloon. There, Morgan would be shot down by members of the Cowboy faction in revenge for his participation in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

By the early 1900’s the hall was showing the new "moving” pictures, as well as a few scattered productions. But Tombstone's heydays were over and for the next half century, the hall would be used only by the Masonic Lodge as it gradually fell into disrepair with the rest of the once booming town.

However, in September, 1963, the building was purchased by Historic Tombstone Adventures, an organization formed to preserve and restore many of the town's fabled landmarks, who restored and renovated the historic building before later donating it to the City of Tombstone. On October 15, 1966, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the building is used primarily for City Council meetings, but also continues to be used for social gatherings, fundraisers and theatric performances. 

 

 

Continued Next Page

 

©Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated March, 2013.

 

 

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