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Tombstone, Arizona Photo Gallery

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Cochise County Courthouse


Cochise County Courthouse in Tombstone, 1940

The Cochise County Courthouse in 1940 was abandoned, photo by the

Farm Security Administration.

This image available for photographic prints HERE!


The Cochise County Courthouse in Tombstone, Arizona

The old courthouse is now an Arizona State Park, Kathy Weiser.

This image available for photographic prints HERE!



In 1881, Cochise County was split off from Pima County, and naturally, with Tombstone being the largest town, filled with some 10,000 people, it became the new county seat. Plans immediately began to build a new courthouse. In 1882, the courthouse was completed at a cost of nearly $50,000.




Tombstone GallowsThe Victorian style building, laid out in the shape of a cross, housed the county offices, including the courtrooms and the jail, which once housed all manner of lawless characters. Outside, the gallows, from which seven men, including those who participated in the Bisbee Massacre, would serve Tombstone's final justice.


Though Tombstone's most famous lawman, Virgil Earp, was long gone before the courthouse was built, it was called "home” to other interesting police officers, including Sheriff John Slaughter, who is credited with clearing Cochise county of outlaws, and the controversial Deputy Sheriff Burt Alford, who rode both sides of the fence of the law.


Like other popular mining settlements, when Tombstone's mining operations began to shut down, its population headed elsewhere. By 1929, Cochise County held a vote to move the county seat to Bisbee. Tombstone lost and in no time, plans were made to shut down the building.


By 1931, the last door in the building closed and the courthouse was abandoned. All useable objects were removed to the new county courthouse or sold at public auction. Empty and neglected, the once proud courthouse languished under the desert sun until the 1940’s when investors decided it would make a fine hotel. Though initial preparations and dismantling were made, the venture fell through, and once again the old courthouse was silent.


In 1955, however, the Tombstone Restoration Commission acquired the building and began to restore it to its former grandeur. Four years later, in 1959, it became an Arizona State Park Historical site and opened as museum.


Today the site, located at 219 Toughnut Street, provides a number of displays featuring Tombstone's historic past. Outside, re-created gallows stand, reminding visitors of Tombstone's more lawless days. Admission charged.



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

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From Legends Photo Print Shop

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