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Gleeson AZ - Tombstone's Neighbor - Tombstone Tips, Issue #011
February 03, 2018

Insider Info Newsletter

February 2018


~ ~ Gleeson AZ - Tombstone's Neighbor

~ ~ January's Events/Insider Update Review

~ ~ The Latest at Tombstone Travel Tips


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Native Americans were first in the Gleeson area, the Chiricahua Apaches. They removed the turquoise located there, using it for personal decor & trade.

Arizona copper, silver & gold mining attracted many from the East. They came & forced the local Indians out - one way or another. Let's see how this area developed into the "ghost town" it is today.

Turquoise District/Gleeson

Photo Credit -Dave & Karen Stryker

#1 - Originally Called Turquois

~ ~ Some miners looking for any valuable mineral began arriving in the area in the late 1880s. They knew about the turquoise, & began collecting it. The town where they settled was called Turquois, Arizona Territory. They built a Post Office on October 22, 1890 with that name.

~ ~ Tiffany of New York even sunk a turquoise mine in the area. The greenish mineral became jewelry that was all the rage with their customers - for a while! But the Post Office shut down on September 17, 1894. Miners desired better conditions. Area water was scarce. Then finally - someone came along to open up more opportunities.


#2 - Miners Come In

~ ~ But the first person to the area was J. McMann. He opened a claim in 1879. It was on the other side of the mountains from current-day Gleeson. Later a tunnel through the hills connected this "Mystery Mine" to one on the Gleeson side.

~ ~ Next came Kit Charleston in 1888. He made claim on the Leonard Mine. In 1888 he located the Tejon mine. He sold them both in pretty short order.

Before the Jail - They Used a Jail Tree
They Chained Prisoners to This Tree!

#3 - John Gleeson Arrives

~ ~ In 1896 the town's namesake arrives in the area. That year he purchased the Leonard from Charleston. He renamed it the Copper Belle. He developed it, as it says - for lots of copper ore. It became the largest mine in the area.

~ ~ Willcox AZ Rancher William McKittrick bought the Tejon mine. It produced some low-grade copper. But they also mined gold & silver!

~ ~ The Silver Bell Mine was owned by Tombstone local, Martin Costello. East of town, on the side of the hill, it provided good silver & lead output. It connected to the Mystery Mine by a tunnel through the mountain.

~ ~ Another of Costello's was the Defiance Mine. It was a smaller operation, high on the Gleeson's Eastern hill. Mr. Costello moved on to Los Angeles in 1902. But his family kept his local mine holdings.

~ ~ If you'd like more of the interesting details about these mines & some notes about the Gleeson area, we have something for our readers. Just Click This Link to download & have an 8 page PDF pamphlet called "The Mines of Gleeson" - Enjoy!

~ ~ By 1900 John Gleeson noted a nearby area with water. It was farther West from the Turquois town-site. And closer to the new mines. He settled there & others followed. They began calling the area Gleeson after the man who brought them to this new settlement.

Present-Day Gleeson
Mines on the Hills - Jail Museum Below
Hospital Ruins in Distance

Vintage Photo - Gleeson AZ Hospital

Bill's Going to Jail! The Gleeson Jail (Museum)

#4 - The Town of Gleeson

~ ~ Take the Gleeson Road. Find the turn-off: from Fremont Street (Hwy. 80) turn North onto N. Camino San Rafael. Down the hill, you'll see it on the right. It's a little over 17 miles to get there from Tombstone. A nice scenic route toward the Dragoon Mountains.

~ ~ The Gleeson Post Office was chartered on October 15, 1900. It stayed open until the end of March in 1939. Everyone living there worked in the local mines or supported those who did.

~ ~ One difficult thing for mining operations was the ore had to be carted to Cochise AZ - almost 50 miles away. The Southern Pacific train depot was there. Town-folk were really excited when railroad surveyors came by. Their word was the railroad planned a line into Gleeson.

Vintage 1910 Photo of the Gleeson Jail

#5 - Gleeson Becomes a Ghost Town

~ ~ Tombstone suffered a lot of setbacks when the mines there had problems. Read More>

~ ~ At various times, Tombstone's mining men would move to other more promising districts. When mining claims opened in Gleeson, some Tombstoners moved there.

~ ~ Eventually, Gleeson had its own problems. First the railroad line closed. Then the mines started to exhaust. The town had a few major fires. More & more people moved away. In 1940 the mines were about done.

~ ~ Today, only a few people live in Gleeson AZ. The mines are all on private property, mostly fenced off. One thing to check out is the Old Jail, which is now a museum. Here's their Website .

Bill in Deep Study at Gleeson School Ruins
The columns once had an arch over the top.

But Me - I'm at the Bono Saloon!
The Wall Mural Was Still Visible Thru the Window
There was NO Going Inside!


Phoenix News: From the Arizona Republic
Saturday, March 16, 1901 - Pg. 4

Tombstone Miner Moves Away

Published in the Bisbee Daily Review
Saturday, July 26, 1902 - Page 4

Financially better off by working in other mining towns, including Gleeson

Gleeson is On the Move!

Tombstone Weekly Epitaph
Sunday, December 16, 1906 - Page 3

Gleeson residents often had business in Tombstone. They did some shopping, took care of legal issues, banking, etc. People in each of the towns knew each other - so they often visited back & forth.

The Southern Pacific is Arriving!

Arizona Silver Belt
Thursday, March 25, 1909 - Page 7

Newspapers around the state were keeping a watch on the train developments. It seemed promising that Gleeson was going to get the Depot & a line, as reported in this Globe AZ newspaper.

~ ~ As long as the mines were producing, Gleeson was bustling. But all depended on that one source of income. When the mines didn't produce anymore - most had to move away. For the ruins that still stand & the historical Jail Museum, it's an interesting way to spend a day.

We hope we'll see you in town, & consider a side trip to Gleeson. Let us know if you did! Tell us how you liked it & what you did there. Just reply to this newsletter for easy input! (Let us know if we can use your comments - credit with just a first name & last initial; or only initials; or anonymous.)



~ ~ Quiet town, people recovering from a late night!

~ ~ We could tell a lot of people were in town, though.

~ ~ The whole first week of 2018 was quite busy on Allen Street!

Crystal Palace - Outside Photo at January's End


* * There's the latest look for the outside renovation at The Crystal Palace Saloon.

* * The inside staircase & railing are complete, but cordoned off. Still no definitive outlook on the expected completion, according to bartender Isaiah.

* * There's a new Trolley Tour start-up in town! It's associated with the mine tour - same owners: Ricky & Patricia Jones. Discount packages for both tours can be purchased.

* * Don't know what route it will take. Can't imagine it will duplicate any others currently in town. It won't be handicapped or special needs suitable, though. The plan is if you have that need, he'll send you to the Other Trolley Tour - which has that capability.

* * We'll be finding out more info - & get on this tour as soon as possible. So we can let you in on it! Then we'll put it on our Tombstone Tours page.

* * See Our New Page on Warren Earp - Click Here! Learn about his life as the youngest Earp brother. Kinda crazy!


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Until Next Month,

Karen & Bill McGowan
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