12.06.2019 - 12.06.2019
The wild wild West
We drove our 40' motorhome right through Tombstone where we found a big RV parking lot by the courthouse. Thankfully the lot was empty and conveniently located only minutes away from all the stores and restaurants. We paid our $10 parking fee, strolled down the street where we were greeted by a cowboy advertising a gunfight in his saloon for $8 per person. We kindly declined and made our way towards the heart of Tombstone where more people advertised their gunfight for a price. I was honestly surprised that everything came with a price tag including the little corner museum and the courthouse.
Four men clad in black wearing hats walked out of the saloon. Their stride was impressive, reminding me of all the old Western movies I have seen as a kid. I literally froze, hoping for a good photo opportunity and got it.
What really sent me back in time were the conversations with the locals, who shared tons of stories with us. This place either invites or rejects you, they say. Due to the wild and dark past Tombstone carries , it is obvious that some of its past residents still roam around. We entered massive double doors into Big Nose Kate's, a lively restaurant which used to be the Grand Hotel in 1880s. All walls were covered with picture frames of late residents and prominent people who have visited over the years. Just looking at all the memorabilia was close to a visit to the museum. In the middle of the restaurant was a staircase that led to the basement. Curious we had to figure out what laid beneath the old Grand Hotel. A set of wooden swing doors opened into the once famous saloon. The solid wooden bar, whiskey barrels and the antique mirror are still untouched, just how it was when Doc Holliday came down here for a drink. The result of cowboys getting rowdy after a few too many shots, where a couple of bullet holes as a reminder of the days in the wild West. Today it is a little boutique, selling corsages, feather boas, garter belts and hats. We talked to the lady that works in the small windowless shop in the basement , who rattled of one ghostly encounter after another since she has been working there. Most help wouldn't come back the second day to work, too spooked out. This lady here is used to her little visitors and I could definitely feel some presence in the basement, while we listened to her stories. Occasionally I had to turn around, feeling the hair on my neck standing up or getting the chills. In the corner of that room is a tiny space that used to be the groundskeepers quarters. The original bed and furniture still stands there. Only a couple of feet away from the foot of the bed is a deep tunnel about 120 feet long, dug by the groundskeeper to steal silver from the nearby mine. Once he was caught stealing, they shot him dead underneath the lobby of the Grand Hotel. Occasionally a lady will appear urging the staff to hang themselves in the little fitting room. No wonder nobody wants to work there. We were glad to leave the basement, climbed the stairs back up and grabbed a table by the stained glass window for lunch. Halfway through my meal something poked me on my left side in the ribs. I jumped and dropped my food. Tony and Landon were sitting across from me and gave me a puzzled look. Nobody stood behind me- now I was really freaked out.
We told the waitress what happened and she laughed, saying she gets touched all the time. Welcome to Big Nose Kate's where you might get messed with while dining.
We were advised to stop by the birdcage to listen in on the history of that particular hotspot. Men from all over flocked to the bordello, keeping the girls extremely busy working sometimes up to 70 men per day. A little graveyard is right off the side of the building, home to many unwanted babies conceived during work hours. A few bullet holes can be seen in the bar and the opposing wall. One bullet hit the massive painting of a naked woman positioned just right to rename the painting to- the third nipple. One can only imagine how crazy the birdcage must have been.