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The Russ House: What's Happened? - Tombstone Tips, Issue #007
October 01, 2017

Insider Info Newsletter

October 2017


~ ~ The Russ House - Its Past & Present

~ ~ September's Events/Insider Update Review

~ ~ The Latest at Tombstone Travel Tips


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The Russ House property is on the Northwest corner of Toughnut & Fifth Streets in Tombstone AZ. It's one of the most historic "buildings" in town. It's on the National Register of Historic Places.

Nellie Cashman was a woman whose history is attached to this building. If only these walls could talk! We'll try to imagine some of what they'd tell us...


For the Russ House Corner

It's right there - see that tree down the street. It's just outside, shading the walls of the Russ House.



#1 - One of the Earliest Lodgings in Town

~ ~ Jacob Smith & Sol T. Anderson built it across from the mines. They knew they'd attract miners there. The rooms were comfortable & the food was good.

~ ~ Added attractions were a barroom, 2 street-side verandas & a reading room. The restaurant area was the biggest in town at the time.


#2 - Nellie Cashman & the Russ House

~ ~ Nellie Cashman was an Irish immigrant to America. She made her way through Western mining communities. After some time in Northern British Columbia, she came to Tucson AZ & opened a restaurant. When word of the silver claims were the talk of all her customers - she sold out & moved to Tombstone.

~ ~ First she opened a dry goods store. She had lots of energy & often had a few business enterprises going at the same time! In September of 1881 Nellie entered a business arrangement with the Russ House's new owner, Joseph Pascholy.

~ ~ About the same time, Nellie's sister Fanny came to the area. Fanny was a recent widow with 5 children. Nellie helped her by putting her to work. But soon Fanny came down with her husband's illness - consumption - today's tuberculosis.


Photo Date is Unknown - But Clues Show It's Quite Early
Probably Around March 1915 When It Was Remodeled as a Hotel
Note the Arched Doorway on the Right
It Was Purchased at That Time by J.B. Montana

#3 - Russ House For Sale

~ ~ Nellie now tended to her sister & watched over her nieces & nephews. She couldn't fit that in with running the Russ House. She offered her share for sale in December of 1881.

~ ~ She sold her part in the Russ House. She still often cooperated with current owners to benefit town-folk. She was always ready to give help to anyone in need.

~ ~ Tombstone citizens still thought of Nellie Cashman when they thought of the Russ House. That was true until she left town to move to Alaska in 1898.

~ ~ Actually, it's true today! She only owned the Russ House for about 4 or 5 months. She was so influential - when people think of the Russ House, they think Nellie Cashman!

Nellie Cashman Restaurant

Photo is probably from the 1920s, when tourists were beginning to come into Tombstone. The invention of the automobile helped people get to town. The Broadway of America came right through Tombstone!

#4 - Russ House Fire

~ ~ Mrs. Josephine Keagle owned the Russ House on an eventful day - January 20, 1959. Fire broke out & burned all interior areas. Only the outside adobe walls were left untouched.

~ ~ Two months later Mrs. Keagle sold the property to a couple, Floyd & Minnie Laughrun. They rebuilt the interior as a hotel. Over the next few decades it had a few more ownership changes & purpose reinventions.

Nellie Cashman's Restaurant
Around the Turn of the New Century - 2000
Bill & Karen's Favorite Place to Eat!!

As you may have seen on our About Us Page - we've been visitors to Tombstone Arizona, long before we were able to move here. Every time we'd be in town, we'd go to Nellie Cashman's for dinner.

We loved the ambiance. We loved the history & its attachment to Nellie Cashman (I really admired much about her). We also liked the food, the menu options.

It was run by a German woman. For a while, there was a piano in the corner. An older gentleman there played classical & old time music. That was a delightful way to add atmosphere!


At this point, the elderly gentleman playing piano was no longer there. The inside of the restaurant reflected the history of the building, and Nellie Cashman herself. It was charming, and added to the historic feeling.


The Outer Walls are All That's Left of the Historic Russ House

Note the Archway is Still Seen on the Right


~ ~ Other than the plaque on the outer historic walls, not much reminds us of the history on this corner. The wonderful touches we'd loved are no longer there.

~ ~ A local man who already owns other business properties purchased this historic building. Its entire aura is different. It's now called the Cafe Margarita. It's billed as "Mexican, Italian & a little American."

~ ~ We've eaten there twice. The food was fine - not great or bad. The service was okay. Except one last time while attempting to enter - service was exceptionally rude & we left. When we want Mexican food - we go to The Depot (corner of Allen & 9th).

~ ~ All I can say is - we were disappointed in this change. The word is the prior owner wouldn't include the rights to the "Nellie Cashman" name with the sale. Not sure why. That may be the prime source of the problem in sticking with its historical flavor.

We suggest you try it for yourselves, to form your own opinion. One local I spoke to says he feels it's a relaxing venue.


Arched Patio Entry Survives

Little Jail & Marshal signs - cute? But totally non-historic.


Above Article From Tombstone Weekly Epitaph
Monday, December 19, 1881 - Page 1
Nellie's friend John Clum gives her a front page announcement in his newspaper.


From Tombstone Weekly Epitaph
Monday, March 6, 1882 - Page 2

~ ~ It's difficult to find information on who purchased Nellie's share of the Russ house. If anyone else has that documentation - we'd sure like to hear from you!

We hope we'll see you in town, getting a chance to look over the historic Russ House! Let us know what you think...


Showdown In Tombstone
Territorial Days

Both of these events were successful, & came & went without a hitch!

Territorial Days was probably the more crowded. They used the school property between Allen & Fremont and 7th & 9th (the old-time Red Light District!) to stage different activities.

~ ~ UPDATE - The mine now has a Realty Sign. So it's official! Who has the funds to invest in a mine?!!

Tombstone Mine For Sale

October's Here - Biggest Event of the Year!

This is the month so many wait for! The weather cools down a lot more. It's probably the best weather month of the year?!

And what else? It's the historic, traditional -


Probably more people come to town for Helldorado - than for any other event. Will you be there? Use our comment section on our Events Page to let us know - Click Here!

Or if you do get there - please let us know how it was or what you did to make it a great time for yourselves!! On our Comment Section. Because...

We won't be able to be there - we'll be traveling. We've got to get to some relatives' homes that we haven't seen in a while. And this happens to be the best month to do it. -

So we need your help for an update! Thanks so much!!


What's happening next month - check out our Events Page:
What's Up Next?

To keep up with what's happening at Tombstone Travel Tips - the latest update on the website - be sure to check in on our blog page:
Click For the Latest

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Until Next Month,

Karen & Bill McGowan
About Us!

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