Back to Back Issues Page
Grand Central Bonanza? Tombstone Tips Issue 36
March 05, 2020

Insider Info Newsletter

March 2020 - Issue #36


~ ~ Grand Central Mine

~ ~ February Events/Insider Update Review

~ ~ The Latest at Tombstone Travel Tips


The best newsletter experience is with HTML email. With only text email you can't see photos, or access links. If you don't have HTML email - you can read Tombstone Tips Newsletter as a webpage.

To do that: read this newsletter as a webpage: Click Here - if this is a link

Or if not - copy & past this WHOLE URL:

into your address bar, then press ENTER


#1 - Tombstone Bonanza - Mining

~ ~ Yes, that's how Tombstone Arizona became a town. Got it's start because of Mining in Tombstone. Which gathered attention of all those interested in making bucks in that industry. From the owners & investors down to miners & support entrepreneurs.

~ ~ As you'll see from the map below, many mine claims were filed by 1881. One with great potential was the Grand Central Mine. Discovered by Hank Williams & Oliver Boyer on March 27, 1878. About 1 mile South of the Toughnut claim.

~ ~ Began with some controversy. Assayer Richard Gird & the Schieffelins weren't in the claim, as specified. Solved by sectioning off an area, aptly named "The Contention Mine."

The Location of the Grand Central Mine
Just Beyond the Tombstone Hills from Town

#2 - 1st Owners & Grand Central $$$

~ ~ Quickly they determined the Grand Central looked really good! Williams sold his half & retired back East. Boyer subsequently was involved in another controversy, shooting a man.

~ ~ He went on the run, but ended up in Yuma prison with a life sentence. His Grand Central Shares were sold. He missed out, for whatever reason he caused that fracas!

From Globe's Arizona Silver Belt
Thurs., June 27, 1878 - Pg 3

~ ~ The Grand Central was doing quite well. Umpteen takers were in on it, buying up shares. Many investors from back East, as well. One prime local owner was Captain Samuel M. Whitside of Camp Huachuca. Then he sold out in May 1879 to Eastern investors. In that group was Nathaniel K. Fairbank (sound familiar?)

~ ~ A corporation was formed: Arizona Grand Central Mining Company. Some investors were actively involved.

From Tucson's Daily Arizona Citizen
Mon., Dec. 22, 1879 - Pg. 2

#3 - Grand Central Mine Management

~ ~ Eliphalet Butler Gage, already in Tucson when investing, had a science engineering degree & mining experience. He took charge at the Grand Central. Highly experienced, Charles W. Leach hired on as foreman. They made an excellent collaboration!

~ ~ True to expectations, the ore assay valued highly from $118 to $200 a ton. Miners throughout the West couldn't help but notice!

From Tucson's Arizona Daily Star - Thurs., June 3, 1880 - Pg. 3

~ ~ By August they realized the vein ledges of the Grand Central & Contention were indeed connected. The Grand Central Commissioned a survey for documentation. With the abundance of ore, Gage decided a stamp mill was needed for local processing. The Grand Central Mill build began Oct. 1880 on the East side of the San Pedro River.

Location of Ruins - Trail Access from Fairbank
Friends of San Pedro Sponsors Hikes on Occasion

~ ~ The mill stamped (crushed) the ore. Then a chemical process took place.

~ ~ Silver bullion & even gold flowed out of the mill in a titanic quantity.

From the Arizona Daily Star - Sat., Dec. 25, 1880 - Pg. 2

#4 - Strong For Tombstone Through 1881!

~ ~ Tombstone built a very strong year because of mining in 1881. It was a growing town of the Old Wild West! Despite some of the troublesome events with the Tombstone Cowboys, and the local infamous Gunfight. Even into the year of Tombstone 1882, it's economy was traveling along pretty well.

From Tucson's Arizona Weekly Citizen

Sunday, September 4, 1881 - Page 4

~ ~ But the 1880 Christmas gift was not a lasting one! Sigh!!!

Why This Sale? Hmmm!
From Tombstone Epitaph - Sat., Dec. 2, 1882 - Pg. 2

#5 - Water Everywhere! In a Desert!!

~ ~ In the Spring of 1880 water was noted seeping into the Toughnut mine. Not too much of a problem, they overcame it.

~ ~ But March 13, 1882 a strong water flow entered the Grand Central Mine. The water table was reached, actually breached! This desert area has a substantial, quite high water table. The value of ore sitting below water decreases, through a chemical reaction. Not good!

Example of Rocks With Silver Ore

~ ~ E.B. Gage saw he needed action. Work was suspended at lower levels. A meeting with Contention Mine Management assessed solutions. They decided to cooperate on a large-scale hydraulic pumping operation. Powered by a "Cornish engine."

~ ~ Finally, mid December 1883 the pumps began working at the Contention, expelling 700 gal./min., drying it out. Then slowed down, to maintain its waterlessness.

~ ~ July 1885, the Grand Central Mine got its pumps. But things didn't go so smoothly. From almost the start, vibration & breakdowns were problems. Then in Dec. that year, a pumping rod cracked. The system was off-line for 4 months!

~ ~ May 1, 1886 - the town cheered in relief as all repairs seemed to have everything finally working well! Maybe Tombstone was on the upswing again?

#6 - Another Horrific Meltdown?!

~ ~ The optimism was short-lived. May 26th, just over 3 weeks later, calamity struck. A fire consumed the wood housing of the Grand Central pump's hoist & the pump operations. Turning the mine's main shaft to ashes, & twisted engine parts into scrap metal. The fire produced extraordinary heat!

~ ~ The Mine Foreman wanted to get a look, evaluating the situation. He took a few key men down with him.

From the Arizona Daily Star - Sun., May 30, 1886 - Pg. 4

~ ~ When 300' down, he realized they'd "gone far enough." Fumes reached them, they began keeling over. Watchers at the surface called for Dr. Goodfellow & began winching a couple victims up.

From the Tombstone Epitaph

Sunday, May 30, 1886 - Pg. 3

~ ~ Still in the mine were a few unconscious men who needed attention. They brought them up, & Dr. Goodfellow attended to them.

~ ~ It was the beginning of the end of Tombstone mining. The Grand Central Mill took on work from other mines. But the price of silver began its dips.

~ ~ In Spring 1887 the Grand Central Mining Company formed to enable a re-do. Over the years, other companies bought into it. New pumps brought in to counter the ever-present water. New shafts dug. A constant fight. Silver had variable pricing, which often hurt. Plus the best vein areas were below water levels.

~ ~ Mining opportunities elsewhere attracted workers & businesses into leaving town. E.B. Gage left in 1894 & many mining professionals followed. He did return, though.

~ ~ So what of it now?

~ ~ The Grand Central Mine was worked infrequently until about 1929. The coordinates are: Latitude of 31.7025 & Longitude of 110.06222. It's currently privately owned (private property) by the Tombstone Development Co. Take a look At It Now.

~ ~ Historical places & events create curiosity for facts about people who roamed the Tombstone area & the Old West. What's the true story? And what happened to them - do we even know? Can we discover the authentic history?

~ ~ And we enjoy sharing what we find with you.

We hope we'll see you in town sometime, seeing areas where they spent time - back in the 1800s.

Let us know if you'll be going to an upcoming event! Tell us how you liked any of them, or what you visited here! Just reply to this newsletter for easy input! (Let us know if we can use your comments - & how to credit you.)



~ ~ 1ST - Tombstone Quilt Show

~ ~ Ongoing all month. Judging & Reception on March 7th. We've never much gone in there. Or evaluated this event. (Eventually will!) We know one of the artists, Dixie McNeely, who sells her wonderful paintings there. Her husband is a current Candidate for Tombstone Mayor, Steve McNeely.

~ ~ 2ND - Valentine's Day

~ ~ We went for breakfast at the Longhorn. And they placed a cute little heart on my toast. Thought that was a nice touch! A few places in town did things like that.

~ ~ 3RD - Vigilante Days

~ ~ Pretty good turn-out. Very nice weather for it.

Tombstone's Vigilante Days

Getting Prepped for Today's Hangings - Uh Oh!!

Vigilante Committee Gathering on Tombstone Streets
What Are They Up To?


~ ~ New Places to Stay

~ ~ ~ Tombstone Miners Cabins - have opened on Allen St., short walk to town. Two types of rooms. We'll give you our survey next time.

~ ~ ~ Mountain View Efficiency - Our survey: a nice place to rest your head! This efficiency apt. has what you need for a basic stay in town. Lots of comfort, close by everything, good price. We'd recommend it.

Straight up From 6th St., South of Town

~ ~ If you're ambitious & fit, it's walking distance, about 1/2 mile. It's up the hill, though.

Efficiency for 2 (ask for 1-child roll-away if desired)

Mini Kitchen Cooker - Also Fridge & More
Nice Personal Touches: Valentines Home Made Cookies,
Water & Creamers

Bath Has It All: Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner, Towels

Nice View of the Valley & Dragoons From Window

~ ~ ~ With a nice carport for parking. We'd definitely stay there again. See more details on our Lodging Page.

~ ~ Locals' Wedding Happening on Valentine's Day!!

~ ~ We mentioned last month about Casey & Bob, well-known Tombstone locals, often seen at the Crystal Palace. On Feb. 14th, the big Social Tombstone Event at the Crystal Palace Saloon was their wedding. Their marriage was performed by Dr. Jay!

Dr. Jay Presides at Casey & Bob's Tombstone AZ Wedding

Everyone Went to Congratulate the Newlyweds

~ ~ Good friend, Tombstone Bob, was there congratulating Casey, while another friend, Lynn, waited to do the same. Others went to give congrats to Bob.

Mario Began the Music After the Ceremony

~ ~ Mario was playing all February at the Crystal. But his playing that day was extra-special, since he's a real favorite of Bob & Casey. He travels throughout the country, but always makes time for a month of days in Tombstone. A great musician!

Lynn Shows Her Pics to Wyatt Earp & Fiance Linda

~ ~ That's another upcoming wedding this Spring! Wyatt Earp (yes, as we've noted before, distant relation to the original Wyatt of Tombstone AZ!) has lately relocated to Tombstone, Arizona. And he recently announced his engagement to a local woman. They now have plans for a springtime wedding.

Other Established Noteworthy "Tombstoners" Were There!

~ ~ Of course, some were the waitresses & bartenders we know so well, who worked that day, like Elsa there on the left. (Manager Meghann was there behind the bar, as was Bartender [Boston ;-)] Colin. Isaiah wasn't bartending, but came in for the wedding.)

~ ~ Then note "Annie" there (on the right), of Crazy Annie's Bordello B&B. You can see R.J. (proprietor of Wyatt's Oriental Saloon) towering over everyone. And peeking out in the middle back there, is Casey & Bob's friend (& ours) Sal.

Shoeshine Johnny Attended This Tombstone Wedding!

~ ~ Locals were gathering at the Crystal Palace Saloon bar after the ceremony, talking of the wedding. Tombstone Johnny & Lynn spoke to Casey, giving their congrats. Bob was in his corner hovering over all their gifts!

~ ~ While there, Shoeshine Johnny took his kit & gave Bill a buffing to his boots. After finishing Johnny brought bride Casey a specially crafted wedding gift.

~ ~ Many other well-know locals were on the scene. It was a grand event, for sure! Did you attend?

Here's Casey With Shoe-Shine Johnny's
Wine-Cork Custom-Made Wedding Cottage

Photo Credit to Casey

You might have remembered or noticed Shoeshine Johnny also, as he's featured on the July Month of our 2020 Tombstone Arizona Calendar - See It>

~ ~ The Butterfield Stage - Another Update!!

~ ~ Last month we mentioned one mule pulling the Butterfield stage had died. And that a Benson Butterfield Days rep had come by to see about purchasing the stage. So here's the full story update:

~ ~ Blondie is the mule who died. Unfortunately, she was a bossy equine. She'd hog the feed as greatly as she could. A few months back, so much so she filled her gut so severely she toppled over & her gut twisted in the night. Sadly, she was dead by morning.

~ ~ Butterfield Stage owner, Lou, had other mules - but they weren't team-pulling trained. After a search, he found the ideal situation. A small horse which fit right in. So the Butterfield Stage has new wheels, a new team with a mule (Sarah) & this horse. And he's keeping it in Tombstone!

Butterfield Stage Tombstone
Horse & Mule Team

~ ~ New Business Tryouts

~ ~ We wanted to stop by some of the new businesses. We had time to get to two of them, check them out a bit. Found out about two others.

~ ~ ~ FIRST: Spotted Eagle Arts. They're at 110 South 4th Street, off of Allen Street. The owner is a Native American Silversmith who creates authentic custom jewelry. He can craft it, on the spot, while you're there. For more details email him at or just call him: 929-215-9591.

~ ~ We were quite impressed. I purchased some beaded earrings while there. He's still building up the business options in his store, plus all the on-line opportunities he's planning.

Enter for Navajo Crafted Jewelry in Tombstone AZ

~ ~ ~ NEXT: Tombstone Trading Post. Located along Hwy. 80 just in front of the Boothill Graveyard parking lot. A unique place, they have quite a lot of varied merchandise, things to look at, consignment items, discounted bargains, books, souvenirs, unique odds & ends, even wonderful rustic furniture.

~ ~ We found some bargain posters & got them on special! It's worth a stop. See their Facebook Page.

~ ~ Updates/Changes

~ ~ ~ First, there's another new business. Now a Tombstone florist is here. Could be handy! Keep it in mind, on 2nd St. We didn't stop this time.

~ ~ ~ Then a change, unexpected, & frankly puzzling. Walking on Allen Street, noticed the Shooting Gallery between 5th & 6th was gone! What?? (Nobody we knew said they'd realized it had gone either!)

~ ~ In its place was a new leather craftsman. Nice guy, S. Jay Connell, he was working away on something. Take a look in SouthWest Power Wear. We'll be looking into it more later, when we get more time.

~ ~ ~ Then on a sadder note, the proprietor at Outlaw Ts, Books & More passed away. He was a good guy, always helped you kindly find what you were looking for. He & his wife are well known in town. We purchased some of our reference books there. The shop has still been open. Please support it.


What's going on this month or 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

Don't forget to connect with us/follow us or like us on Facebook -
Follow Us!

We always thank you so much for subscribing - and hope you enjoy our newsletter! Please let us know if you have any suggestions - or anything specific you would like to see included. We'll definitely see about that, & put it on our list of possibilities for the future. Reply here, or message us on our About Us page contact form.

Until Next Month,

Karen & Bill McGowan
About Us!

P.S. Remember, if you've arrived here, but aren't getting our Tombstone Tips Ezine...

We hope you've enjoyed reading the Tombstone Insider Information we've provided you here!

You don't have to miss out on becoming one of us. You, too, can get our monthly, exclusive updates. All you have to do is fill out our simple form. Then you'll also be on our list to get our monthly newsletter of Tombstone info - called Tombstone Tips.

To get to the form, click the link here: Newsletter Order Page

Back to Back Issues Page