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Your Oriental Saloon Newsletter: Tombstone Tips Issue #24
March 01, 2019

Insider Info Newsletter

March 2019


~ ~ Oriental Saloon, Tombstone AZ

~ ~ January Events/Insider Update Review

~ ~ The Latest at Tombstone Travel Tips


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The Oriental Saloon Building
As It Appeared October 2018
A Long History in Town - On This Corner Since 1880

#1 - Jim Vizina Started It All

~ ~ On the Northeast corner of Allen & 5th Streets, Jim partnered with Benjamin Cook to construct the original building. It contained the Oriental Saloon, but also a furniture store, dry goods store & a bank.

~ ~ The building was referred to as the Vizina & Cook Building. It brought the partners a rental income of $560/month. Milton Joyce was the 1st to lease the corner space to create the Saloon. He named it the Oriental.

~ ~ Opening day was July 21, 1880. He hired Lou Rickabaugh's group to run the gaming.

Buckskin Frank was an Oriental Bartender

#2 - Joyce is In & Then Out

~ ~ The Oriental Saloon had occasions to make the local news. It would do so more than once over the years. You may have noted it was featured, along with Milton Joyce, in the Film Tombstone.

~ ~ It was the trouble with law enforcement that attached it at times to the Oriental. Seems the Cowboys were often right around that corner of Allen & 5th, many times just about out in front of the Oriental Saloon. Having their fun.

~ ~ One of the incidents that made it through history was the killing of Charlie Storms by Luke Short. The Oriental was getting a reputation as a "slaughter house" in some circles. Joyce decided to close down the gaming there.

~ ~ By the end of the next year, Joyce was done! Plus he had so much more going on for himself. He decided to sell his Oriental interest to Rickabaugh.

From the Arizona Weekly Citizen
Sat., Oct. 16, 1880 - Pg. 4

A Most Famous Nearby Shooting

From Prescott's Weekly Arizona Miner
Fri. Jan. 6, 1882 - Pg. 1
(note spelling error for "Allen St.")

#3 - 1st Fire Disaster!

~ ~ 2 awful fire events affected the Oriental Saloon. The 1st one was the worst of all!

~ ~ The middle of the afternoon of June 22, 1881 a fire began - explosively! It surged from 3 doors East of the Oriental to the saloon. It spread through voraciously!

~ ~ Milton Joyce was just able to get the cash box from the safe. About 1 hour later the Oriental Saloon was destroyed. Of 66 businesses gone or severely messed up, Vizina & Cook had the biggest insurance loss.

From Prescott's Weekly Arizona Miner
Fri., June 24, 1881 - Pg. 3

#4 - Rebuild - But Watch Out!!

~ ~ Vizina & Cook got 100 workers to start construction on the same spot. Clearing away destruction, they rebuilt.

~ ~ On mid afternoon May 26, 1882 - this day is memorable in Tombstone History! Horrific, really. Flames again began on Allen St., between 4th & 5th. They spread East - heading toward the Oriental.

~ ~ Thankfully it wasn't a windy day! Police Officers & fire-fighters battled flames. They held off roaring embers right there on that corner of 5th & Allen.

~ ~ The Golden Eagle Brewery was gone, but the Oriental survived! A bucket brigade continually doused water over the building's areas. There was nominal damage amounting to $2000.

~ ~ The defenders were rewarded with drinks from the bottles inside that were saved. All they wanted!!

A Recent Shop in the Oriental's Buiding
Taken Late 2016: Ladies N Lace at 5th/Allen Corner
Now Moved East of the Oriental

#5 - Survives Through Til Today!

~ ~ Over the years the Vizina & Cook building that held the Oriental Saloon, has been reinvented as many different types of facilities. Most recently as a women's clothing store on the corner & a gift shop immediately to the East.

~ ~ The most recent renewal is "Back to History!" We gave some hints about this last time. Many (& Us!) are so very happy about this!! Thanks to R.J., from the Crystal Palace Saloon, across the street, the Oriental Saloon is now reopened again!

~ ~ It's something you'll want to put on your visiting list! Many plans in the works - see our interview with R.J. below, about what's going on there!!

Vintage Saloon Items
In "Silver Hills Trading" Gift Shop
Useful For Decor in 2019's Historic Oriental Saloon

Silver Hills Trading Company
Now Located Just East of the Oriental Saloon

~ ~ Often see historical buildings in town that we'd like to know more about. We want to know who's behind making them even better for our inquiring minds! And what were the true facts for the people who roamed these Tombstone saloons, & the Old West. We try to find out what we can - accurately.

~ ~ 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/if (anonymous?) to credit you.



~ ~ Vigilante Days had a pretty good turn-out. We got a personal tour of the Oriental Saloon in the late a.m. And then stayed in town pretty much all Saturday afternoon. We went in town again Sunday for a few hours.

Visitors on Vigilante Days - 2019

~ ~ A Model T Show came through town on Feb. 20, but we didn't go see it. Left for Tucson that morning & stayed all week. (Our granddaughter's wedding!)


~ ~ We want to report this month - the Oriental Saloon! An update on this super-great transition. We did a tour & had an interview with R.J. - who's managing this project.

One of the New Oriental Saloon Window Signs

~ ~ R.J. Has A Historic Plan in Mind

~ ~ He said he wants it to reflect the 1880s Oriental Saloon. Tim is doing some background research for him, but accurate information is hard to come by. [I'll second that - by the way. we're still working on that ourselves!]

~ ~ The ambiance reflects the old West, even tho' the inside doesn't look exactly like the old time Oriental. The old-timey piano music is piped over the speakers. The plan is to filter it outside as you're walking out front.

~ ~ Right now they're open every day 9am-6pm. 3 interactive shows each day, at 11:30, 1:30 & 3:00. The Wild West favorite gambling game of Faro is demonstrated daily. To expand on that - he plans for a Gambling Salon a short time in the future. With demos on all the Wild West gaming.

Shows & Faro Demos - Just Some of the Old West Action Fun!

~ ~ The Saloon

~ ~ Wouldn't you love to stop into the historical Oriental Saloon in Tombstone AZ & down a libation there? That's just 1 reason R.J. has a Liquor License in the works. He's hoping for it in hand in a few months.

~ ~ A soft drink he wants to obtain is a specialty Oriental label Sarsaparilla. Also working to see about a "trade-mark" brew. He plans for a range of drinks that reflect the Wild West.

~ ~ You'll be coming in to the Oriental Saloon for an authentic, historical Old West experience. One of a kind!

~ ~ The Bar

~ ~ The bar inside is an authentic Brunswick bar, at least 105 yrs old. But not from the original Oriental. Rumors have the Oriental's original in a few places, including the English house, in town.

~ ~ Right now it's as it was left, from its days when inside the gift shop. The space between the front & back bar needs to increase for serving needs. So that is on the planning list. Nearby plumbing access needs to be installed.

~ ~ Those are just a few things on the agenda, before the bar can begin to serve.

Bill, Tim & R.J. (L to R) at the Oriental's Bar

~ ~ Specialty Venue

~ ~ When it's completed to the standards necessary, the Oriental will be available for exclusive events. For instance, weddings or anniversary parties. How about a 50th birthday party? R.J. also is considering something like Casino Night events.

~ ~ Structuring to Change

~ ~ Now you'll see the main entrance is at the corner of 5th & Allen. That will be closed off. You'll enter directly on Allen Street, coming into a retail area & counter. A left turn takes you to the bar & presentations.

~ ~ A hidden area in the rear property also holds a future possibility. A patio surrounded by murals - the imagination only conjures up what it originally was used for! The antique ice-making machine from the Crystal Palace Saloon [Click for the History Details!] was found there, as well! Restoration plans may be in the works.

One of the Secret Patio's Murals!

~ ~ Closeted Discoveries!

~ ~ On the West Wall of the Oriental, you'll see a series of Portrait Paintings. They're quite good! And they bring to mind the old timers who tended bar, or gambled - right in this establishment.

~ ~ Looking at them from Left to Right, you'll see: Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, & Frank Leslie. The artist who signed, is named "Margherita."

~ ~ When R.J., Tim & other helpers were cleaning & reorganizing the building for this enterprise, they opened a closet door. And there were these paintings - stacked inside! What a find!!

~ ~ So stop on by the Oriental!

~ ~ Officially called: Wyatt Earp's Oriental Saloon & Mercantile

~ ~ For awhile it will be a continuous transition - but ALL for this persistent plan for Oriental Historic reflection of the 1880s. It's turning out great, we believe!

What's Happening to Vogan's - A Correction!

Vogan's Update: CORRECTED!!

~ ~ While we know someone has purchased it - NO, it's not open yet. It's been very much cleaned up. That you can certainly tell when you look in the window. But it probably won't open for a while.

~ ~ We do know the plans for it, though. The major twist will be pizza: Wood Fired Pizza - that's something a little different for town.

Biz Reviews to Come

~ ~ Over Vigilante Days weekend, we visited 2 other newer businesses. We, ourselves, noted them before - but hadn't had a chance to really scout them out well. Took the time - so they'll be in upcoming issues.

~ ~ But right now, you can get a preview! Visit their Facebook pages:

The Tombstone Antique Mall

White Raven Curiosity Shoppe & Museum of the Strange


~ ~ Our Tombstone Custom Calendar is still available at the special link below only for our subscribers. We had to adjust the original price to be able to get the most savings for the final price. Still available for a little while longer - a few more months - while we work on this other deal.

~ ~ When we get it finished, a different calendar deal for subscribers will be downloadable. Not quite as nice as the purchased one - unless you have a super printer! Then you can print it out for free!!

~ ~ Remember, when you order online they don't begin the printing process until ordered. Click the link below for all the details - This link is only for Tombstone Tips subscribers...

2019 Subscribers Tombstone Calendar Offer


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Until Next Month,

Karen & Bill McGowan
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